(SPRINGFIELD) Illinois farmland values continue to hold their ground around much of the state despite ongoing pressure from lower commodity prices and tighter farm margins. The annual Farmland Values and Lease Trend Report, released last week by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ISPFMRA), shows average prices for different classes of land were flat (even) to down 5% last year in 2017. However, the average productivity index of land sold in the state last year decreased about two points from the previous year, thus balancing out some of the average price declines. Excellent quality land prices around the state, as of December 31, averaged between $10,500 to $11,000 per acre in Northern Illinois (down 1%-2%), between $10,350 to $11,125 per acre in Central Illinois (flat (even) to down 5%), and between $8,000 to $10,885 per acre in Southern Illinois (flat (even). Some slight declines in land values continued a trend though, as farmland values in Illinois generally decreased 15% to 21% since the peak in 2013. Other report results show the majority of land sold in Illinois (62%) was purchased by farmers themselves, and it noted that cash rents also remained stable despite tightening farm margins. The state’s average prices for excellent ground ranged from a low of $160 per acre in Southern Illinois to $350 per acre in Central Illinois. For more information on the ISPFMRA Report, go online at www.ispfmra.org.