Appraisers of agricultural real estate estimate the value of rural real property, livestock and farm equipment. An appraiser's services are often employed at the time the land, livestock or equipment or buildings are taxed, mortgaged, insured, developed or sold. Agricultural appraisers typically limit their work to localities with which they are familiar and build their reputations based on their comprehensive knowledge in a specialized area. Agricultural appraisers typically work as independent agents employed by property owners, real estate companies, banks and mortgage and insurance companies. Salaries are dependent on geographical location, experience, reputation, licenses and employer. Agricultural appraiser forums and farm industry job boards present employment opportunities for appraisal positions paying up to $100,000 per year.
The United States Department of Labor reports 2008 annual medium salaries for agricultural, residential and commercial real estate appraisers was $47,370. The middle 50 percent of appraisers nationwide, working for private companies or government agencies, earned between $34,330 and $66,640. The lowest 10 percent of appraisers earned less than $25,900. The highest 10 percent earned in excess of $88,680. Independent agricultural appraiser's income can vary greatly as they are paid fees contingent on individual appraisals.
Agricultural appraisers must be detail oriented and have the ability to gather, organize and evaluate data. Excellent communication skills, both oral and written, are important qualifications of an agricultural appraiser. Educational requirements to become a fully qualified agricultural appraiser are complex and vary from state to state. Contact your State Board of Licensing to obtain information on eligibility and educational requirements.
The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers
The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers is the largest professional organization of agricultural appraisers. The 2,000 members of the ASFMRA complete more than 175,000 appraisals each year on more than 30 million acres of farmland and millions of dollars worth of farm equipment and livestock. ASFMRA offers four professional designations: accredited agricultural consultant, accredited farm manager, real property review appraiser and accredited rural appraiser. ASFMRA designations provide rural land and asset appraisers a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
American Society of Agricultural Appraisers
Many rural agricultural appraisers are active members of the American Society of Agricultural Appraisers. Founded in 1980, the association is comprised of agricultural appraisers and others interested in or supporting the agricultural appraisal industry. The ASAA encompasses three branches: the International Society of Livestock Appraisers, the American Society of Equine Appraisers and the American Society of Farm Equipment Appraisers. The association offers seminars and online study courses to assist appraisers in meeting the criteria established by the Washington, D.C.-based Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB). Appraisers who meet the criteria established by the AQB achieve credibility and receive preference in hiring and placement.
Employment Opportunity Outlook
The ever-evolving and growing agricultural appraisal profession presents nationwide opportunities for professional agricultural appraisers. Fluctuations in the real estate market, the live stock market and the used farm equipment market require current reassessments of farm and ranch properties. Agricultural appraisers are in high demand. Agricultural appraisals may be required in situations involving primary and secondary mortgages, estate planning, divorce settlements, tax appeals, bankruptcy, date of death estate valuations, property foreclosure and when using property as collateral for bail. Appraisers with the most local experience in agricultural appraisals command the highest fees for their services.