Apple Inc. has spent $68.4 million to acquire 2,042 acres of private property, most of it farmland, in what is now southwest Waukee, a sprawling tract of land the city annexed last year in large part to accommodate the computer giant’s plans for a multibillion-dollar data farm.

Though Apple acquired a handful of parcels last year, including more than 200 acres from the city of Waukee that are not included in the tally of private property, most of the purchases closed in late April and the deeds were recorded in Dallas County by May 3.

The profiles of sellers include longtime holders of family farms and a few land buyers who scour the earth looking for land that stands in the path of future development.

Among the properties Apple bought from land merchant Lamar Koethe was a little more than 34 acres that he acquired in 2004 from developers Steven Gillotti and Dan Stanbrough. Apple paid nearly $1.5 million; Koethe paid $539,000.

Land had been held by family trusts as well as individuals. In all, 55 parcels were purchased from 22 individuals or entities.

In the months before Apple’s data project was public, more than a few land buyers were trying to pick up property in west Waukee just on the rumor that a big company was talking to property owners.

Dan Dutcher, the city of Waukee community and economic development director, helped Apple representatives make initial contacts with landowners. Read more about that process at BusinessRecord.com. He said the company has signed leases to continue farming operations on about 1,400 acres it has acquired for the data center.