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Land sales firms say the cost of farmland in central Illinois increased by almost a third in 2011. That continues the trend of increasing cropland values over the past few years.

Dale Aupperle is president of the Heartland Ag Group in Decatur. He says the average price of land in the 15 counties around Decatur rose from $8,000 an acre in 2010 to $10,500 last year.

Aupperle said continued high prices for corn and soybeans and investor demand are driving the trend.

University of Illinois farm economist Gary Schnitkey thinks increases in both crop and farmland price will ease this year.

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