Frevert land auction

More than 150 people gathered in Bloomington, Ill., Nov. 13 at one of the first land auctions in the area this season. 

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Bidders spent more than $11 million on prime agricultural land at an auction in central Illinois Nov. 13. The proceeds will go to three charities.

“This is a very, very unique situation,” said Jeff Lee, manager of Lee Realty Group, which ran the sale. What made it so unique is the amount of farmland, the high quality, and the fact that the money, minus closing costs, goes to charities.

“It was 932 acres of the best of the best,” Lee said of the C.B Frevert Trust land.

Frevert died in December 2017 and left his farmland to three charities: the music program at Wesleyan University in Bloomington, where he was an alum, Home Sweet Home Ministries, a cause important to his mother, and the Salvation Army.

Some of the approximately 140 people attending auction talked among themselves, discussing how they might leave their legacy. Lee said the generous gift has gotten more people thinking about what institutions or causes they might want to support.

“We need to be reminded of all the options,” he said.

About 50 people got bid numbers. There appeared to be close to a dozen active bidders, and the land appeared to go to five bidders. Lee said he preferred not to comment on the numbers or release the names of the buyers. The transactions don’t close until Dec. 14, when they’ll go into public record.

The total sale price was $11,641,893 for the 12 tracts of land near Stanford, Ill., of which 79 percent was Class A. Eight of the tracts of prime McLean County land sold for more than $13,000 per acre.

The sale sets the tone for Illinois land sales this season, said Don Meyer, an Illinois State University agricultural professor and historian.

The first two tracts of land of about 80 acres each in Allin Township, McLean County, were 94 and 98 percent Class A soil and sold for $13,000 per acre.

Four more tracts varying from 79 to 105 acres and from 80 to 98 percent Class A land sold for $13,200 per acre.

Two more tracts of high quality land sold for $12,100 and $10,700, respectively.

Only two tracts fell under the $10,000 per acre mark, selling at $9,100 each. One field was 20 acres and had 49 percent Class A soil. The other was a 63-acre field, which included 27 acres of highly erodible land, with 33 percent Class A soils.

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Phyllis Coulter is Northern Illinois field editor, writing for Illinois Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Missouri Farmer Today.