Dollars and Sense: GreenStone sees unprecedented land benchmark increases across the board
Andrew Warner, VP & Chief Appraiser
Corn Field, GreenStone Dollars and Sense September 2021


Tracking sales data from land purchases in Michigan and northeast Wisconsin allows GreenStone to understand market trends for lending and other business purposes.


Our appraisal professionals constantly monitor public and private property sales data to understand market trends within 13 benchmark areas. This data is tabulated annually to measure value trends over the prior year, which are used to ascertain risk.


The areas of study are segmented by value influence (geographic location, property type, improvements, etc.) allowing GreenStone to isolate specific trends.

For farmers, this annual information helps them evaluate trends to make even more informed decisions. We collect, curate, and deliver this market intelligence in order to arm customers with competitive strategies to use for their businesses.


While GreenStone’s analysis is focused locally, Farm Credit associations across the country conduct a similar annual process. When combined, this national trend data allows farmers and ranchers across the country to understand marketplace trends for evaluating business decisions.


With these resources from their financial partner, farmers can stand out in a competitive market, make improvements, and adjust strategies for the upcoming year.


GreenStone’s 2021 analysis identified either an increase or stagnation in all 13 benchmark areas, which may come as somewhat of a surprise considering the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and other governmental influences.



Value trends of Michigan and Wisconsin dairy farms experienced value increases, reflecting higher construction costs and a stabilizing market. Michigan saw a significant increase (13.5%) from 2020-2021, while Wisconsin also measured an increase of 2.9% after several years of value decline.


Recreational and transitional

Land used for recreational and transitional purposes all saw value increases. Various factors influenced this surprising trend, as it is unusual to see blanket increases across the board: increasing remote work options, desire to live in the country, plus a return to nature attitude, etc.


With these factors in mind, recreational land in northern Michigan is up 5.3%, while transitional land in southeast Michigan is up 11.9%. Transitional land in central northeastern Wisconsin remained stagnant after multiple years of increasing values.


Cash crop

The general positivity in commodity prices has combined with low cost of borrowing to create a favorable environment for stabilizing and/or increasing land values. The greatest increase was noted in southern Michigan (primarily an area of cash crop influence), which saw a 14.3% increase in 2021.


Mid-Michigan land value trends remained stagnant following a nearly 30% increase over the past ten years. Cash crops categories in Wisconsin also both saw gains, with increases of 3% in the southeastern part of GreenStone’s northeast Wisconsin territory, and 6.7% in the western part of the territory.


GreenStone Land Benchmark 2021

*Written for the Michigan Farm News Dollars and Sense Column




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