Land owned by the late Bill Kadoun, shown above, brought a record amount at an auction in Marshall County Feb. 13.
Britton Journal 
A land auction held Feb. 13 has been the “talk of the town” in the Britton area.
A total of 1,852 acres of land owned by the late Bill Kadoun of Britton brought a total of $10.3 million and smashed previous records in the county for dollars paid per acre.
St. Claire Farms of Tulare paid $10,500 per acre for a 156.87-acre tract in Miller Township ($1,647,135) that dwarfed the previous record of $5,000 per acre for land sold in Veblen Township north of Veblen for 160 acres in 2012. The average per acre cost of the sale last week was $5,733. Marshall County Assessor Shannon Lee said that there was a sale for about $7,000 per acre in Hickman Township near Langford in January, but that sale had not yet been recorded at the Courthouse.
Auctioneer Jan Vold hadn’t known what to expect from last week’s sale.
“With the history of land bringing record prices in the Groton and Bath areas, plus what land has been going for across Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota, it was anyone’s guess,” Vold said. “I think there are a number of factors including our excellent crop and livestock prices, and we now have crop insurance that we never had before that can guarantee an income off the land. With low interest rates people are also looking for something that they can see out there rather than just something on paper.”
Vold said that 225 people attended the auction last week.
“That was way more people than usual, but to see 1,852 acres come up for auction is almost unheard of,” he added.
Nine tracts of land were sold in the auction, along with two tracts of buildings. Seven of those tracts were located in Miller Township, three in Pleasant Valley Township, and one in Sisseton Township.
Following are the tracts, prices, and buyers:
Tract 1 (Miller), 156.87 acres, $10,500/acre, $1,647,135, St. Claire Farms, Tulare; Tract 2 (Miller), 303.2 acres, $8,200/acre, $2,486,240, Brett Fliehs, Groton; Tract 3 (Miller), 150 acres, $6,700/acre, $1,005,000, Stauch, Minneapolis, MN; Tract 4 (Miller), 302.15 acres, $3,300/acre, $997,095, Glen Aldentaler, Britton; Tract 5 (Miller), 11.3 acres, buildings, $180,000, Glen Aldentaler, Britton; Tract 6 (Miller), 138.7 acres, $6,200/acre, $859,940, Brad Treeby, Hecla; Tract 7 (Miller), 3.31 acres, buildings, $85,000, Peter Bremmon, Britton; Tract 8 (Pleasant Valley), 184.23 acres, $4,000/acre, $736,920, Brandon Peters, Britton; Tract 9 (Pleasant Valley), 200 acres, $5,700/acre, $1,140,000, Brandon Peters; Tract 10 (Pleasant Valley), 155.82 acres, $4,000/acre, $623,280, Brandon Peters; and Tract 11 (Sisseton), 200.32 acres, $3,000/acre, $600,960, Richard Kristofferson, Langford.
Lee said the market value of land has far exceeded its assessed value.
“The best land in the county is assessed at $1,829 per acre,” said Lee, “but we’ve had so many in the $4,000-$4,500 range per acre that it’s been kind of more the norm. Some people are also buying and renting it out.”
That’s what will happen with the top-selling land from the Kadoun auction.
“We are going to hold a land rent auction for land bought by St. Claire Farms,” said Vold. “For years I always said no to rental auctions because I wasn’t sure how local farmers would receive that, but it’s come to the point if I don’t do it somebody else is going to.”
The combination of crop prices and the ability to cover most of the crop with insurance has caused rental prices to also skyrocket. A recent land rental auction held in Thurman, IA, located in the southwest corner of the state, brought an average of $548 per acre with land rented for two years only and full payment required before the crop was even planted.
Vold said the landscape has definitely changed.
“I think it’s kind of a whole new era now for land prices. A few years ago prices in the $1,600-$2,000 range were unheard of, but now they would seem awfully reasonable. Nobody’s crystal ball worked too well back then either.”