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Ag values spike here

The numbers are in and agriculture land value in Douglas County is on the rise. Douglas County Assessor Keith Albertsen explained at the February 12 county commissioners' meeting in Alexandria how the values were calculated and who it's going to affect.

"We have had just a tremendous spike in ag land values this year," Albertsen said. "We have seen a huge increase in tillable values."

Previously assessed values per acre on tillable land ranged from $1,760 to $2,600. Albertsen said that same land is selling for more than $4,000 per acre now. Value notices will be mailed to residents this spring. Some landowners will see a 50 percent value increase on their tillable acres.

"That's an extreme, but it's out there," Albertsen said.

Each year the assessor's office reviews land sales between October 1 and September 30 from the previous year to determine the sales ratio, which will affect values in the upcoming year. The 2013 assessment year ended with a 77.61 median ratio from 61 total sales. Rejected sales were removed from the equation, resulting in 34 sales that are eligible for the state study. The median ratio became 76.12 percent, which is 24 percent lower than Minnesota requirement.

"The point that we're missing the most on is the tillable [land]," Albertsen said.

Six sales were at a state acceptable range for the 2012 ratio period. Five of those had buildings on the property.

Albertsen said the assessor's office spent considerable time trying to figure out a way to increase the ratio to a state acceptable range. Buyers' and sellers' motivations along with commodity prices may affect the outcome of the assessment next year.

"We can't change the [sales]; we have to react to the [sales]," Albertsen said.

The full 2013 Ag Land Assessment report can be viewed on the county website at

Watch for additional county board news in Wednesday's Echo Press.

Crystal Dey

Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.

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