Ford County farms to be leased for nearly $10,000 more per year than currently

PAXTON — Farmland owned by Ford County will be leased for the next two years for nearly $10,000 more per year than it had been.

At a public auction Thursday, cash-rent leases for the county’s three farms were awarded to Onarga resident Dave Ebert for a total of $82,976 per year — an increase of $9,635 from the amount the farms went for two years earlier.

It was the highest lease amount since the county accepted a bid of $95,663 per year in 2014. The farmland went for its highest amount ever in 2012 — $122,860 per year — after going for $88,120 per year in 2010.

For the fourth time in a row, Ebert had the winning bids for all three farms.

The current two-year leases for the three farms expire Nov. 30. Bids were accepted at the auction for two-year leases running from Dec. 1, 2018, through Nov. 30, 2020.

Ebert, who owns property in Paxton, had the winning bid of $250 an acre per year for the Ford County Nursing Home Farm, which comprises 103.4 acres in Patton Township north of Paxton. Under the current lease, the farm was being rented for $265 per acre per year. Bidding started at $150.

Ebert also had the winning bid for the Bowen/Grider Farm, consisting of 149.1 acres in Button Township on the south side of Pit Road (County Road 200 North). The bid of $236 an acre per year was up from $182 in the current lease. Bidding started at $125.

Ebert also had the winning bid for the Hatfield/Bowen Farm, consisting of 156.7 acres in Button Township on the north side of Pit Road. Ebert’s bid of $140 per acre per year was up from $120 an acre per year under the current lease. Bidding started at $110. The land includes 118.7 acres of cropland plus 38 acres of pasture.

As authorized by the full county board, the board’s overview committee accepted the bids at the conclusion of the auction, and the leases were signed.

For each year of the two-year contract, the lessees are required to pay 25 percent of the rent by Dec. 1. The balance is due no later than March 1 each year.

The land can be used only for agricultural production.

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