CHICAGO, May 14 (Reuters) - Prices for prime farmland in the U.S. Plains and southern Midwest fell in the first quarter of 2015, pressured by a prolonged weakness in grain prices that is eroding farmers’ spending power and is seen likely to continue well into the year, according to Federal Reserve quarterly surveys of farm bankers issued on Thursday.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said values for irrigated farmland in its district fell an average 2.1 percent from the same period a year ago, “falling slightly below year-ago levels for the first time in more than five years.”
The region’s big corn and wheat states of Nebraska and Kansas saw the greatest weakness while Oklahoma, boosted by mineral rights and the recovering cattle industry, stayed resilient and showed gains.
Further to the east, in the northern Delta and southern Midwest district overseen by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the farmland trends were similar to the central Plains except both crop and ranch land values fell in the first quarter. (Reporting by Christine Stebbins; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)