Magistrate Joe Stanley said three county-owned fields south of the county animal shelter and road department along U.S. 27 could bring in $8,000 to $10,000 per year if the county leases them out to farmers who want to grow corn or soybeans.
“We really hadn’t been doing nothing with it other than just letting someone cut hay off of it, and we were generating no income,” Stanley said. “Since this corn and soybeans has got so high, everybody’s just running over each other to lease this land.”
Magistrates voted unanimously Tuesday morning to advertise for bids on leasing the approximately 42-acre property.
Stanley, a farmer himself, said five or six years ago, farmland could be leased out for about $60 per year per acre. Now that the market price of corn and soybeans has shot through the roof, so has what owners can charge for crop land.
“I showed it to one guy and he told me, ‘I know the bid will be over $200 an acre,’” Stanley said.
Judge-Executive Jim Adams said leasing out the property will generate substantially more money for the county than the interest the county could earn off money from selling the property.
Stanley estimated selling the property could bring anywhere from $120,000 to $170,000. If the county saved that money with current interest rates, it could earn about $2,000 per year.
Leasing the property could potentially earn the county four or five times that interest amount, and the county would still own the property.
“I just think it’s the wise thing for us to do,” Stanley said. “If we can get $8,000 to $10,000, it don’t make no sense to leave it there.”
The court also:
- accepted a $35,000 payment from Lincoln County Sheriff Curt Folger that all but erases the remainder of an approximately $62,000 loan the Fiscal Court made to the sheriff’s office in 2011;
- approved giving $1,000 to the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency; and
- approved a $2,500 change order to a bridge upgrade project on Martin’s Trail.