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Land Advice


I am planning to introduce my son to deer hunting over the next few years. Unfortunately I have struggled to find property that is not over run by other hunters. The last remaining piece of private land that I hunt and once had sole permission during deer season is now shared with seven other hunters. I’m getting tired of seeing running deer and four-wheelers every time I’m in stand. I want my sons experience to be a good one, so I’m seriously considering purchasing some property.

Here’s the question(s)…who should I talk to, or where should I turn, to get good information about buying land. I know there are numerous considerations when contemplating a piece of property – set-aside contracts, timbering potential, numerous government reclamation and improvement programs, tax considerations, etc. I have also heard of some folks offsetting a large share of their payments through various means (e.g. crop land and pasture lease, etc.). I want to make sure I don’t rush into this blindly. I thought some of the members and land-owners on here might be able to steer me in the right direction or give me some advice.




New Member
Buying land can be very rewarding, and expensive. Only you know what you can afford and what you are willing to spend. You seem to know quite a bit about different ways of making your ground make money for you such as share cropping, rental, crp, timber management, etc. With each thing you do there are consequences. Do you want a farmer having access to your ground all the time? Do you want loggers cutting ruts? Do you want to be locked in to a government program for 10-15 years? It is important to read the fine print of any deal and know exactly what you are getting in to. I have rented my tillable ground, share cropped it (from the looks of the corn I lossed my rear in it this year), and have finally decided to enroll in a crp program. When looking at different ground, find out if it has a farming history. If it doesn't meet certain farming history criteria, it isn't even eligeable for crp programs. You can check with the NRCS and FSA to find out alot of info about land progrmas and their eligeabilty. You need to have the owner of the ground contact the FSA and give their consent for you to see the history. One thing for sure, don't get yourself into a payment that you can only make if your are making money off the land. Bad crop years can hurt and the government can stop the crp payments if they choose to end the program early (I think). Good luck.


New Member
Fletch- Think about where you want to buy, how much travel is acceptable, will you have a camper, trailer, cabin or always head home at night. Are utlities on site or close for power/water. Figure that smaller parcels 30-80 acres seem to sell at a premium per acre to larger properties. You can also get ready for some headaches as well trying to keep the place posted and trespassing to a minimum. Once you figure out the area, you can find out more on watching realtors or private listings, newspapers, websites, etc. Lots of different practices for where people list things for sale. Good Luck


New Member
Hey Fletch I have talked to this guy a few times and I always take a look at his properties. I think he could help you out he currently has a 69 acre property out near you.


Good Luck hope this helps


Well-Known Member
Depending on what you buy, changes everything. You are almost better off to buy timber land with tillable around it. You can have a farmer rent it out from you, with a stipulation possibly of you taking some of it in a few years, and planting set-aside, or even trees to help the habitat. Then in the long run, hand it down to your son. But you will have some problems with tresspassing, no matter where you are at. It seems to always happen around here. Just my 2cents. If you want to know anything, feel free to pm me.



It sounds like you understand the game. Unless money is not an issue, you need to be able to generate some income to help pay for the land. My partner and I recently purchased 300 acres in south central Iowa. It happens to have a perfect mixture of tillable and non-tillable land. Between the CRP and cah rent, it pays for a major portion of the farm. Be careful basing income off of future CRP payments. I talked to the local FSA this week and they do not know what is going to happen to the CRP coming out in 2007-2010. If your looking at land that has CRP on it, make sure it is suitable for row crops if the program ends.

Timber values are up, but the tend to fluctuate - and you have the hassles of dealing with the process. The local DNR Forester is a great resource if you decide to pursue this option. Make sure you look into the "timber reserve" program. If you meet certain criteria and enroll in the program, you won't have to pay taxes on the timber. In some states, when enrolled in this program, you have to open the land up for public hunting. Not so for Iowa.

Make sure you look at properties of all size. We initially started looking for 80 acres. As we crunched the numbers on properties of all sizes, it was clear to us that bigger might be better.

Finally, don't be shy in talking with bankers and looking for the best deal. They tend to make you think they are doing you a favor (no offense to Banker members)but the truth is, banks will negotiate for your business if conditions are right. If you don't like what one bank offers, talk to three more banks. We ended up with a bank three hours from our property.

And finally, finally be patient and do some research. If you rush into it, you will tend to pay more for the land. We played cat and mouse with the previous owner for several months before we agreed on a price.

Fell free to ask if you have any other questions.

Big Timber

I'm not sure this is even an option for you but there is multiple public hunting grounds that are looked over.

As far as private grounds, the guys above made valid points and offered good advice as far as purchasing ground. Look at the production side of the land. Do some research on the federal programs, and if you are serious about a piece of property...call the private lands biologist in the area. Find out what can be done to the area. They will give you valuable knowledge on what can be done for wildlife, and what programs that piece is eligible for.

PLB's are your best friend, don't be afraid to seek out there expertise. Specifically speaking, they aren't there to give you tips on how to make money on the land. But, they will give you ideas and provide answers for you.

Call the NRCS as well, they are pretty good about helping out as well.

Hope this helps.

Good luck,



New Member
Don't be affraid to approach a larger or small farm that has timber and ask them if they ever thought of selling a chunck of land. You never know what might happen. You may get a little bit at a time and end up with quite a little after a while from the same farmer. My experience has been that if they can't farm it, it was pretty useless so they either sold the timber to the state or to someone looking for land.

I also agree with the posts above, larger is going to be cheeper in the long run. Logging might pay for a good portion of the land as well. Not that you have to log it all, but sections at a time help with payments and make darn good habitat for the deer, secure zones.

Good luck.
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