There have been 18 ag land sales in Redwood County in 2019 with just over 1,505 acres of land sold. Of that amount, the average price paid per acre is $7,000. One year ago, the average price paid per acre was $6,400.

The information on ag land sales was presented to the Redwood County board June 4 at its regular meeting by Kathy Hillmer, county assessor. There were 44 land sales in 2018, with 30 in 2017 and 32 during 2016. Yes, said Hillmer the price trend is up a little in 2019, adding while the average does present trend data it does not tell the whole story.

“Each sale is so different,” said Hillmer. 

Hillmer added there are a number of factors that play into the final price that is paid.

For example, if the land is in proximity to a couple of bidders the price for that land may go quite a bit higher as they bid against each other for land they are willing to pay more for because of its location.

The price may also be skewed by the government programs attached to a piece of land, such as CRP, added Hillmer.

Land sales data, which actually begins being collected for a given year the previous September and continues through the end of August, is based on sales of 34.5 acres or more.

Smaller tracts of land are not part of the data, although Hillmer said there have been four sales of a smaller acreage during the 2019 time frame with an average price paid of $6,600.

The board had requested the information from Hillmer as it makes a decision on a pice of land the county currently owns and rents adjacent to the county landfill.

The board began officially talking about the possibility of selling that land, a piece a little more than 100 acres in size, with the intent to use the proceeds from that sale to help reduce the amount of money the county would bond for related to the construction of a new justice center.

While the board has been discussing the idea, it has been cautious to try and sell it as the ag economy is currently pretty unstable. Another challenging weather year could dramatically change the land sales trend.

Rather than make a decision at its meeting, the board opted to table the discussion to its first meeting in August when it will further explore the idea of selling the land.

In other action during its June 4 meeting, the county board:

• Approved a conditional use permit for the expansion of an existing gravel pit filed by Jeff Schmidt. The existing pit, which is located in Section 28 of Delhi Township, would be expanded by 10 acres.

• Approved a conditional use permit for the cleaning of a private ditch in Section 8 of Gales Township filed by Northwestern Farm Management and Patricia Garrison. The permit was required due to the fact that the ditch is within the floodplain of the Cottonwood River.

• Approved a conditional use permit for the construction of a solar garden in Section 23 of Three Lakes Township filed by United States Solar and Bobby and Beverly Hoffbeck.

• Approved a conditional use permit filed by Tyler Maertens to construct an animal confinement feedlot in Section 34 of Sheridan Township. The feedlot would house up to 2,400 head of hogs.

• Awarded the bid for the seal coating of a portion of CSAH 16 near Clements to Asphalt Surfaces Technologies in the amount of $126,543. Keith Berndt, Redwood County engineer, told the board that the highway department is looking to move more of the seal coating work out of the department, as the cost to contract that work is similar to what it would cost to have the department do it and would not require the county to maintain equipment for that work.

• Awarded the bid for the replacement of a bridge in CSAH 8 in Underwood Township in the amount of $374,000 to M and K Construction.

• Approved the employment of Susan Minkel as a full-time legal secretary in the Redwood County attorney’s office at a rate of $16.93 effective June 5, 2019.

• Approved the employment of Beau Knutson as a part-time custody officer for the Redwood County Sheriff’s Department at a rate of $18.72 per hour.

• Acknowledged the retirement of Brad Busack from his position as a full-time custodian effective July 31, 2019.

• Authorized the promotion of Jeff Bommersbach to the position of Redwood County assistant engineer effective June 17, 2019.