Reports on 2019 land sales for row crops in Central Florida and several crops in the Homestead area were released at the Feb. 27-28 Lay of the Land Florida Land Conference in Lakeland. The reports were prepared by SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate.
A report declared that sales in 2019 far exceeded those of 2018 for row crop land in Hillsborough, Manatee, Polk, Hardee, DeSoto, Charlotte, Highlands, Okeechobee, Lee, Hendry and Collier counties.
One large sale of 35,652 gross acres in Hendry County yielded 20,732 acres of farmable land.
Hillsborough County topped the list for the number of irrigated farm transactions in Central Florida with 11 sales consisting of 396 gross and 313 farmable acres. Hendry was the top-ranking county with total acre sales of 36,143 gross and 21,005 farmable acres.
Irrigated farmland values remained steady in the Heartland and have increased in the southwestern region and Hillsborough County. In the Heartland, Hardee County small farms sold for a combined total of 54 gross and 44 farmable acres for an average of $7,143 per farmable acre. In the southwestern region, larger-acreage farm prices ranged from $8,285 to $12,580 per farmable acre for vegetables. Hillsborough County continued to command the highest sales recorded; prices ranged from $20,745 to $39,993 per farmable acre for strawberries, yielding an average $28,183 per farmable acre.
Future trends to watch for farmland and cropland sales and leases are the impacts of the industrial hemp industry and recent trade agreements. Licensing for industrial hemp will begin in 2020, and the recent United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and U.S.-China trade agreements will affect agriculture in Florida.
Turning to the Homestead/Redland area, the company reported that several large and medium-sized agricultural-type land deals took place in 2019. The sales researched consisted of lands in agricultural use with sizes greater than 40 acres. The properties consisted of improved farmland/row crops, tropical fruit groves and ornamental plant and palm tree nurseries. Sales of farmland and tropical fruit groves ranged from $26,667 to more than $70,000 per acre.
Two notable sales of transitional lands far exceeded typical prices paid for agricultural lands. A sale to a developer consisted of 71 acres for $456,044 per acre of improved farmland with single-family residential and townhome zoning within incorporated Florida City. Another sale of 52 acres for $398,058 per acre consisted of industrially zoned lands with U.S. 1 frontage.
The general trend in the agricultural industry of the Homestead region is a decrease in cropland and groves with an increase in nurseries and greenhouses. The robust residential real estate market of South Florida has buoyed the ornamental landscape nurseries and greenhouses with sales of foliage plants up 40 percent.
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