Dave and I have NEVER purchased a property without a Phase I (except in the early days when we didn’t even know what one was). You are certifiably crazy if you don’t obtain a Phase I on every property you buy, during the due diligence phase. An environmental clean-up can be in the millions – way too much risk to save the $2,000 that the report costs.
Being surrounded by corn fields does not mean that you are not a technical “landfill”, or that pollutants were not dumped on the site. Look up the Potosi Lead Mountain in Missouri, about an hour from my house. This is one of the largest contamination sites in the U.S., so big that the U.S. government cannot afford to fix it. It took 100 years to build it using lead waste from railroad cars being continually dumped there. It would take about 100 years to remove it. And it looks like a peaceful hill in the Ozarks.