Things to Know Before Searching Farms for Sale in Ohio 
You’ve likely decided to research farms for sale in Ohio after understanding the vast opportunities in our great state. We want to share some fun facts, tips, and a wealth of resources that you’ll find helpful. Ohio’s agriculture and food production industry is diverse in farming, processing, agrochemicals, seed supply, farming equipment, distribution and wholesale, retail sales, and marketing. The agriculture and food sector plays an important role in our economy, between the workers employed and profits made. Among the many wonderful attributes in regard to agriculture, below are some key points:
- Ohio ranks 2nd in the U.S. for chicken layers and egg production.
- Producers in Ohio grow or raise over 200 diverse crops.
- Over 1,500 acres of vineyards are spread throughout Ohio.
- Farmers in Ohio produced 5 billion pounds of milk last year.
- Ohio ranks in the top 10 U.S. states for commodities such as corn, soybeans, and all types of cheeses.
- Ohio ranks in the top 10 U.S. states for its “production” animals, including chickens, turkeys, hogs, and milk-producing cows.
- Dannon, the largest yogurt plant, is in (Auglaize County) Ohio.
- General Mills, the world’s largest pizza plant, operates in (Wellston) Ohio.
- Campbell’s Soup, the largest soup factory in the world, is in (Napoleon) Ohio.
- More ketchup is produced in Ohio than anywhere else in the world (the Heinz plant in Fremont).
- Ohio is the largest sheep, lamb, and wool-producing state east of the Mississippi River.
- Almost 80,000 farms rank Ohio 8th in the U.S.
- The agriculture and food production industry employs over 60,000 workers across 1,106 production plants throughout Ohio.
- Ohio’s agriculture and food production sector contributes over $98 billion annually to Ohio’s economy.
Deciding to buy farms for sale in Ohio is only the first step of a long journey. Before starting your path to farm ownership, keep the following items in mind.
- What is your budget? You should be clear and realistic about how much money you can spend. Consider the going rate for farmland in the area where you are seeking to buy Ohio land for sale; this will help you to make a confident decision and set a clear budget. Consider the income you can make from your farm; this will also help you define an appropriate budget.
- What part of Ohio offers the most opportunities for your farm goods? If you plan to sell products that you raise or grow, find out where there are ample potential customers (ideally in a populated city).
- How will you sell your goods to maximize profits? As a farmer. you can sell your crops at a local farmer’s market; be a supplier to restaurants and shops; deliver directly to local customers; establish a community-supported agriculture (CSA) organization; or sell your products online. An omnichannel approach (using a combination of these methods) will help you build a profitable business.
- Have you done your homework? Make sure you understand the various types of farms for sale in Ohio, and what the differences are in terms of maintenance, cost of operation, and income value.
- Are you paying with cash or financing? Before starting your farm searching, be sure you have the financial situation squared away. If you are applying for a loan, take care of that before you start hunting; this will make the transaction process quicker and easier.
Understand the Different Types of Farm Land
Once you have the preliminary items squared away, consider the many types of Ohio farms for sale. While having a dairy or vegetable farm might be nice, you should understand everything that comes with each type. How can you do that? First, understand the differences in farmland.
- Livestock farms: Livestock animals, such as cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, and bees are raised on these farms.
- Dairy farms: These farms typically produce milk.
- Fish farms: Farm-raised fish are raised commercially in large tanks or artificial enclosures within oceans, rivers, or lakes.
- Orchards: These will grow nuts and fruits.
- Truck farms: These farms produce vegetables.
- Tree farms: These farmlands grow trees for the lumber industry.
- Organic farms: These grow fruit and vegetables under regulations and without the use of synthetics.
- Vineyards: These farms grow grapes for wine.
Is Ohio a Good Place to Invest in Farmland?
Put simply: YES! Ohio is one of the nation’s leading agricultural states. Food and agriculture is Ohio’s #1 industry. In fact, 44% of Ohio contains prime farmland, with 80,000 farms totaling 14,900,000 acres (each farm averages 206 acres). Families own a whopping 99% of the farms in Ohio. Ohio produces more than 200 diverse crops, with corn and soybean at the top of the list.
Where Are Most Farms in Ohio?
Wayne County has the most farms in the state of Ohio. The Northeastern quadrant of Ohio has the highest number of farms concentrated in one area, likely due to the size of the farms and diversification of operations.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy Farmland in Ohio?
The cost of farmland in Ohio is valued at $7,200 per acre as of January 2023, according to the World Population Review. (Per the same report, the average price for an acre of land in Ohio is $32,077.)
Ohio farmland was valued at $6,800 per acre back in 2021, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Land Values 2021 report. The breakdown is $6,80 per acre for cropland (a 5.3% increase from 2020) and $6,600 per acre for farm real estate (a 3.9% increase from 2020); farm real estate describes the land and structures or buildings on the land that is used for agricultural production.
We also see the increase in farmland value across the country. According to the USDA, the average value of the nation’s cropland is $5,460, an 8.1% increase over 2022. Many states are even noticing double-digit increases over 2022. Furthermore, 2022 saw a 14.3% increase from 2021, and 2021 saw a 7.8% increase from 2020. We’ve seen the value of farmland increase year over year for most of the last 50 years. The return on investment of farmland has also been impressive, producing a positive return every year since 1991. With an average annual return of 11.5%, farmland investments have outperformed most other asset classes, including S&P 500, Dow Jones REIT Index, 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond, and gold.
What is Ohio’s Right to Farm Law?
Ohio’s Right to Farm Law provides farmers with immunity from a civil nuisance claim filed by people who move near an existing farm. The “Right to Farm” law is Chapter 929 of the Ohio Revised Code, also called the Farmland Preservation Act. It’s an agricultural district program that can help landowners with claims regarding their water, sewer, and eminent domains. Passed in 1982, this law is instrumental in helping to keep farmers farming.
What is the Ohio Farm Bureau?
The Ohio Farm Bureau is a grassroots membership-based organization dedicated to helping farmers build a thriving agricultural community throughout Ohio. For over 100 years, the Ohio Farm Bureau has supported our farm and food communities through advocacy and events.
How to Buy Farmland
First, determine what type of farm you’d like to buy: a farm for personal use, business use, or as an investment property. Then create a business plan, research the local area, network and find people who can help you, and look at your financial options.
Buy a Hobby Farm
You may want to start small if you’ve never owned a farm. Small farms or personal farms are often referred to as hobby farms. A hobby farm is usually up to 50 acres of land and is intended for personal use or selling products to a local farmers market. When food production is primarily consumed by the farmer’s family, the farm is referred to as a subsistence farm or subsistence agriculture. According to the IRS, a hobby farm is primarily for pleasure or recreation, whereas a commercial farm (or business farm) is primarily for income generation. When you’re ready to find small farms for sale in Ohio, consider how much acreage you’ll need for your hobby farm (typically 10 to 50 acres). Also, consider whether you will live on your farm or commute.
Buy a Commercial Farm (or Business Farm)
Commercial farming is a type of farming where agricultural or horticultural crops are raised or grown for the purpose of selling to make a profit. It typically involves rigorous cultivation of farmable land.
Buy an Investment Farm
An investment farm is a type of real estate investment where you buy farm land for the purpose of making a profit. Similar to traditional real estate, investing in farmland can bring you a profit in two ways. Buying farmland, then selling it after the value appreciates is one way to invest in farmland. Another way is to buy farmland with usable pastureland or cropland, then rent or lease it to a farmer. If you choose this route, look up Ohio farm leasing agreement examples and farm leasing laws in Ohio. Both farm investment options require a large upfront cost, as you’d need to buy farmland first.
Best Approach to Buying Farms for Sale in Ohio
- Develop a business plan. When you’re ready to buy commercial farmland, develop a business plan to set goals, budgets, expectations, and timeframes. Determine your projected expenses including contractors, machinery, and supplies.
- Acclimate yourself to the local area. Find local farmers or farmland groups on social media and start to network. Word of mouth is helpful when looking for farms for sale in Ohio. Search to find commercial real estate listings online, focusing on farmland or raw acreage. On property listing sites, you can usually refine your search for a type or size of farmland.
- Find a mentor. Find an experienced farmer who is willing to be your mentor. A knowledgeable farmer brings a wealth of information and resources. They can help you find Ohio farms for sale; determine the type of farmland you need along with any modifications; tell you how to buy farmland; and provide support as you run your farm.
- Join OEFFA’s Begin Farming Program: OEFFA’s Begin Farming program provides support to aspiring farmers and those with under 10 years of farming experience. Their goal is to help members understand what it takes to get into the industry and how to grow their businesses. OEFFA has an internship program, two apprenticeship programs, and a workshop.
- Check with your local extension office. The Ohio State University Extension office may have programs that can help you acquire farmland.
- Find access to capital. Whether you will be buying or leasing farmland, finding capital will likely be one of the biggest challenges. Look into USDA farm loans and FSA loans. FSA provides loans to farmers who cannot acquire financing from traditional commercial lenders.
- Hire a real estate professional. Working with an experienced commercial REALTOR® or licensed commercial real estate agent is most helpful. A commercial broker that is local to the area and specializes in farmland and other rural areas will be beneficial. It’s especially worthwhile if you didn’t make connections with local farmers.
Looking to sell instead of buy farmland? Check out our blog on how to Boost Profitability of Your Farm for Sale in Ohio.
Alternative Option for Farm Investors: Farmland Crowdfunding Platforms
The increase in farmland crowdfunding platforms in recent years has enabled everyday investors to take part in farmland investing, online. While most farmland crowdfunding platforms are only available to accredited investors (i.e., those with a net worth of at least $1 million excluding their primary residence, or an income of at least $200k per year or $300k per year if married), some are for beginners. Below are the most popular platforms.
- AcreTrader (best for accredited investors)
- Steward (best for newbies, requiring only $100 to get started)
- Farmland LP
- Harvest Returns
Hire a Commercial Real Estate Agent to Help You Find Farms for Sale in Ohio
A commercial real estate agent can be just as helpful when looking for land, as they are when looking for commercial property. While you may not necessarily be looking for any buildings on the land, that does not make the assistance of a commercial real estate agent null and void. Buying agricultural land is a type of real estate that Ohio has to offer, too! In some cases, it is a lot more complicated, which is why many new buyers seek the help of a commercial real estate agent. Some commercial real estate agencies also specifically employ land brokers.
Are you looking for assistance with any Ohio commercial real estate matter? Since 1938, The Robert Weiler Company has been helping individuals and businesses throughout Ohio, including those seeking available farms for sale in Ohio. And don’t forget to ask about our land appraisals. Call 614-221-4286 to let us know how we can help with your farm land investment today.