Hard to guess where urban growth will go: Zhang

November 9, 2021

Wendong ZhangWendong Zhang, associate professor, was interviewed for a Nov. 9 Des Moines Register story, "Pressured by suburban growth, grain elevators will close in Altoona, Bondurant — 'beacon on the prairie' to vanish."

Across Iowa, development has gobbled up nearly 84,000 acres of Iowa farmland over the past two decades, estimates Wendong Zhang, an Iowa State University economics professor.

He points to a farm south of Cedar Rapids that sold this fall for a record $26,000 an acre. It's not the farmland's rating for its corn yields "that's getting the premium," Zhang said. "It's the location that's garnering the premium."

The money from those sales often goes to buy more farmland.

"Selling 80 acres near Ankeny can get you 300 acres in Webster County," Zhang said.

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