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Farming is so profitable that…

In a new twist that is probably a sign of the times in the U.S. economy, a 347-acre golf course in Illinois will be sold by auction Feb. 21.

Though it might be just a clever way to attract free publicity for the auction, the company handling the sale issued a news release speculating that the buyer may not be collecting memberships and green fees.

“Crane Creek has a loyal customer base of area golfers, but farmland is in high demand right now, and it wouldn’t surprise me if someone chose to convert the course back to agriculture,” said Murray Wise, CEO of the auction company.

Before the golf course was built, the property had been used for a Christmas tree farm, and it includes 40 acres that are mostly tillable now. Another 61 acres of pasture and timber are already in the federal Conservation Reserve Program.

“Much of the golf course land per se would make excellent pasture and is also suitable for hunting and recreation,” Wise said.

The sale comes as U.S. farmland prices are reaching unprecedented levels, driven by high corn prices and low interest rates. Farmland prices in Iowa have risen by 261 per cent since 2000, and some land recently traded for $20,000 per acre.

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