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Sold land in Tipton may be for wind farm

TIPTON, Ind. – How much is an acre of farm ground worth in Tipton County? The answer seems to be almost $10,000.

That was the going rate during an auction Monday on a 192-acre farm in northwestern Tipton County that sold for $1.9 million.

Located in Prairie Township, the farm is believed to have leases with the proposed J.W. Great Lakes Wind LLC wind farm project. The company has been doing survey work and obtaining leases with local property owners since 2010. To date, the project has not moved forward.

A separate wind farm project in Madison and Tipton counties is being pursued by E.ON Climate and Renewables.

Schrader Auction conducted the sale, which brought an average price of $9,870 per acre or $11,111 per tillable acre.

Steve Edson, director of the Tipton County Plan Commission, said he has never heard of the sale of any farm ground in Tipton County at that price per acre.

The sale was managed by Rick Williams and Jerry Ehle for the company.

“We offered the property in three tracts – 94.5, 60 and 38 acres – and we had strong bidding from farmers and local investors in the area,” Williams said. “Ultimately, a bidder from near Indianapolis offered the highest bid on the property as an entirety.”

Ehle said the auction illustrated not only overall strength of farmland prices, but also the strong demand for farms of all sizes.

“While we sometimes talk more about the big sales of thousands of acres, the reality is that many of the farms we auction are 50, 100 or 200 acres, and they’re doing well because there are farmers and investors who see the value those farms represent,” Ehle said. “Even when the buyer is local, the competition created by the auction results in the best possible price.”