Guest Commentary: Our Urban Friends Have Caught Onto What We Have Known For A Long Time

By Jim Rothermich, Vice President – Iowa Appraisal

Have you noticed how much interest there is in owning farmland these days? Owning farmland has long been viewed as a symbol of status and wealth. Now individuals who do not farm are jumping on board, looking to buy farmland. Interest from outside investors has never been higher. Even professional athletes are wanting to be in the farmland space. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and Boston Celtics forward Blake Griffin, along with other athletes, pooled together to buy farmland in northeast Iowa. They closed on a 104-acre farm located in Bremer County, Iowa, on November 8, paying $10,000/acre. The group, which will purchase four additional farms within the next few years, is seeking a diverse set of agricultural assets. They have looked at watermelon farms in Oregon, which tend to be smaller and offer higher per-acre rent. Entrepreneurs, doctors, and lawyers are joining friends who are in search of owning a piece of prime real estate. And today, that is farmland.

The allurement to not only own farmland or a ranch, but to also look the part, has never been so trendy. The TV show “Yellowstone,” a neo-Western drama following the powerful John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and his family, who own the largest ranch in Montana, has sparked a worldwide western wear trend. Viewers of the show, many who live far from the pastures of Montana, have taken to dressing like the series’ cattle rancher characters – cowboy hats, cowboy boots, Wrangler blue jeans, suede jackets, snap-button shirts, flannels, patterned bandanas, and leather belts with large buckles. (Our urban friends have caught onto what we have been doing for a long time!)

Did you know beaver pelts are used for making Stetson cowboy hats? Beaver trappers are getting top price for pelts due to Yellowstone’s popularity. This show, which recently completed airing the first half of its fifth season, is the most-watched scripted series on TV. Stetson hats and Wrangler denim, among other brands, are launching Yellowstone-inspired apparel.

Jim Rothermich, MAI, ARA, ALC, is vice president at Iowa Appraisal, a firm providing both agricultural and commercial real estate appraisals, serving real estate owners and decision makers throughout Iowa for over half a century. Jim specializes in the valuation of farmland and farm-related improvements, and has nearly three decades of experience in the fields of agricultural economics, farm production, and land appraisals. To speak with an expert on the Iowa land market, contact Jim at 515-777-7083 or

Follow Jim on Twitter at @theLandTalker or visit Iowa Appraisal’s website: