Rapidly increasing farm land values — to as much as $6,000 an acre in some parts of the state — could devastate Minnesota’s economy if the boom busts.

Minnesota 2020, a St. Paul-based think-thank that studies rural and economic issues, released a report Tuesday called “Minnesota’s Bubble Economy: The Critical Need to Prevent Our Farmland Boom from Busting.”

In Olmsted County, the average value of an acre of farmland rose from $1,490 in 2001 to $4,094 in 2008. Other counties in the region have seen similar increases.

The report says that high land values, record commodity prices and dramatic surges in costs for fuel, fertilizer, seed and acreage rents could cause the ag economy to collapse.

“The only thing holding up Minnesota’s economy right now is the agriculture industry,” Minnesota 2020 founder and former House legislative leader Matt Entenza said. “However, that industry is deeply and gravely in trouble.”

Entenza said the boom in farmland values is like the housing and Internet market booms, but the effects from an agricultural fallout would likely spread to other countries as well.

The report, written by former agriculture and business reporter Lee Egerstrom, says farmers and state offices should be prepared.

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