If Farmers National business is any indication, Corn Belt farmland sales volume could set a record in 2012. “This year we will do close to 200 auctions from September through the end of the year,” compared to a more typical 150 to 200 total for a good year, Vermeer says. “This is just off the charts. We think we will be up about 40% on numbers, acreage and sales value for the year.

“People are thinking maybe it is time to take advantage of strong values and avoid higher capital gains taxes in 2013,” he says. Capital gains rates could climb from the current 15% to 20 to 25%, depending on income levels and the outcome of congressional negotiations. “That is the motivator right now,” Vermeer notes.

In 2013, land sales volume likely will revert to recent normal levels, with strong demand for scarce top-quality farmland continuing to drive prices higher, he says.