Although worldwide agricultural productivity could take some of the bloom off the U.S. farmland market, Boehlje is not predicting a decline in U.S. farmland values. “I would be surprised if that happens,” he says. “We are not predicting a 1980s phenomenon. We are seeing a soft landing for land prices as well as profitability.”

That scenario could fall on its face if recent 20%-plus annual price hikes continue for a another year or two, especially if low interest rates don’t hold steady until 2015 as currently projected. “If that were to occur, there could be risk of downward adjustment,” Boehlje says.

To prepare for likely lower profits, Boehlje suggests holding the line on new borrowing and working to boost working capital.