The Star-Tribune recently reported that even marginal agricultural lands in
Minnesota are worth two to three times what they were less than a decade
ago, and deer hunting, sources said, was a big reason for the increased
In Cass County, for example, real estate agent Norm Stubbs told the
Star-Tribune he sold farmland for $1,000 an acre several years ago. At the
time, locals were surprised at the high prices paid, especially for
agricultural properties considered less than prime.
"A 40-acre parcel these days brings roughly around $100,000," Stubbs said.
"I've seen some go as high as around $130,000. For around here, the more
wooded, the better."
"People want to have [deer] hunting land," Stubbs added. "Even though
there's so much public hunting land in the area, there's a certain group of
people, some of which already have lake homes up in the area, they want to
have their own. Most of the people that are buying it are from the Twin
The good news: many of these lands purchased for deer hunting were being
managed with conservation in mind. Yet land speculators are also buying up
large tracts, and that was driving up prices, too. With these recreational
pressures growing, many large Minnesota farms were being broken up into
smaller parcels, changing the very nature of the rural landscape.
"I think that fragmentation is the biggest issue that I see," said Will
Yliniemi, an extension educator for Becker and Hubbard Counties.