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U.S. Plains farmland prices close year steady, but market soft -KC Fed

Friday, 14 Feb 2014 | 10:00 AM ET

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Farmland values in the U.S. central and southern Plains held steady in the fourth quarter with the previous period, but the market tone is soft, and bankers expect weakness in the coming months, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said on Friday.

"Cropland values increased only modestly in the fourth quarter compared with the rapid pace of the past few years," the Kansas City Fed said in its quarterly survey of 226 farm bankers. "Values rose only about 1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 despite fewer farms being for sale. Ranchland values actually dipped below third-quarter levels."

Even though farmland values remained higher than in 2012, the year-over-year gain was the lowest in more than three years, the bank said.

The bank's district, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and parts of Missouri, is the leading production area for bread wheat and a major producer of corn, beef, oilseeds and other farm commodities.