UPDATE 1-US Plains farmland values still soaring -KC Fed

* Robust U.S. farm income drives demand for crop land

* A third of bankers surveyed see land values to keep rising

May 15 (Reuters) - Surging farmland prices in the U.S. Plains states jumped even higher in the first quarter as strong farm income fueled demand for farmland, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said on Tuesday.

The value of nonirrigated crop land jumped 25 percent and irrigated farm prices jumped more than 30 percent from the first quarter of 2011. For irrigated farmland, it was the biggest year-to-year percentage increase in the 30-year history of the survey. Ranchland values also surged 16 percent, with high feed costs boosting the demand for pasture.

"District farmland value gains accelerated in the first quarter even as record-high farmland values enticed more landowners to sell," the Fed said in its survey of 235 bankers in the district. "For the first time since the survey began in the late 1970s, the annual value of District cropland rose more than 20 percent for two consecutive years."


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