Marshall County would be remiss to sell farmland

The $2 million dangling carrot that could make its way to Marshall County for the sale of farmland needs to be examined.

The board of supervisors is considering selling county-owned land as a way to help pay for a set of new bridges on North Center Street, which could cost more than $5 million.

The problem is – the county receives approximately $100,000 in rent annually for these 235 tillable acres near the county jail. A sale would bring one-time funds and would mean the lose of an asset that brings in a significant amount of money each year.

One reason the supervisors feel it’s time to sell is the fact that farmland prices are at a peak.

This is true, and it’s possible the land’s value will go down as commodity prices have, but nobody is saying there will be a drastic dip in values.

When an asset is good Iowa farmland, there’s reason to believe it still has a solid future and is worth keeping.

It’s not like the county just happened across this land like a winning lottery ticket and can cash it in without guilt. This land has been owned by the county since the 1860s.

No doubt throughout this time there have been financial struggles, but the land has been kept, which means it has continued as an asset that generates revenue.

Over the course of the last several months, the supervisors have looked into tax increment financing (TIF) for the wind farms to get money from the multitude of turbines that are currently tax abated.

This option, and others, should be explored before the county considers a farmland sale.

Quite simply, the county budget can’t sustain the annual loss of revenues that selling it would create.