How do I establish a price for sale of topsoil from farmland?

Asked July 21, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

I have been contacted by a business owner (excavator/landscaper) who wants to purchase the topsoil from approximately two acres of farmland I own. The land is located between woods and cultivated fields but has lain fallow for many years. I would appreciate any guidance you might offer about how to establish a price for the topsoil.

Alpena County Michigan

1 Response

The recommendations of several people suggest that you might take the following actions to assess the value of your topsoil:

  1. Have a quality soil analysis done on a sample of the soil you intend to sell. Then determine the dollar value of the soil based on its nutrient values (nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus).
  2. Call locations that sell topsoil to get an idea of its pricing. Remember, however, that you will need to discount those prices because you will be selling it to a wholesaler who will be selling it to the end user.

It is not possible to suggest a specific dollar value or even a dollar value range for your topsoil without knowing its nutrient value or the local going rate for topsoil. Regardless of what method you use to determine the value of the soil, be sure to figure out the approximate number of square yards that will be taken and devise a method to make sure you will be paid for the agreed on quantity.

Also, remember that once the topsoil is taken from your property, it is gone and may devalue the property for some future uses if you were to want to sell it.