Ag News, October 1, 2013

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Looming interest rate hikes greatest threat to farmland values
From Rabobank

U.S. farmland is still competitive with alternative investments, but the era of extremely low interest rates and extraordinarily high commodity prices is apparently coming to a close, according to a new report from the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness (FAR) Research and Advisory group.
Learn more on the Southeast Farm Press:

A “Piston-Powered” Production

The California Chapter is pleased to host the Welcome Event for the 84th Annual ASFMRA Convention in Reno at the National Automobile Museum! The museum is home to The Harrah Collection and features more than 200 exceptional vehicles, period street settings, historical timelines, vintage clothing displays and much more. The venue has been ranked ‘One of America’s Five Greatest Automobile Museums’ and showcases four unique display galleries where you will find antique, vintage, classic and special interest cars. While touring the museum, sample from the various food stations and passed appetizers prepared by Reno’s Silver Peak Restaurant and Brewery. Silver Peak will also provide beverage service, which will include fully stocked bars as well as a selection of their handcrafted beers and non-alcoholic items.

A ticket is required to attend the Welcome Event and bus transportation will be provided from the Peppermill Hotel to the museum. Be sure to register early to reserve your space for this great Welcome from the California Chapter.

Be sure to express your appreciation to the California Chapter, Kefa Capital, Inc., RaboBank, N.A., and the Farm Credit  Alliance of American AgCredit, CoBank, and Farm Credit West for their sponsorship of this welcome event.

Register Now at
Make Hotel Reservations at

Mid-1980s Redux?
By Roy C. Ferguson II, CMC/CAC

Despite repeated alerts from these pages and similar forecasts by various prominent contrarians, the vast majority of U.S. farmers and ranchers preferred to be swayed economically by misguided pronouncements from a select group who trumpeted that U.S. agriculture had entered a “new era.” Dramatically higher commodity prices and land values would prevail so that historic values and trends no longer applied.

The obvious fact that three years of drought in the U.S. and many other parts of the world were primarily responsible for record-setting grain and agricultural land prices was studiously ignored by the newly self-anointed purveyors of infallible wisdom.

But, the illusion of a “new financial order” was precisely what so many in U.S. production agriculture clearly wanted to hear and read. So, for a three-year period, many U.S. farmers and ranchers acted accordingly…convinced that “tomorrow’s” events would be even more of an unending up-up-and-away!

So, here we are. The illogical charade has disintegrated for many unfortunate souls who ignored history’s invaluable lessons in a spate of irrational indulgence. Total Revenue is destined to crater by (30-35%) for those grain producers who failed to protect themselves…perhaps even more for some.

USDA projections for 8/27/13 include Net Cash Income dropping by ($13.5 billion) equaling (10.1%) as Net Cash Expenses climb $13.4 billion and 4.4%…plus Total Farm Debt increases by $8.0 billion. Yet, obscuring reality, Inflation is expected to bloat the nation’s ag land values by another $173.3 billon equaling 7.5%.

Despite official forecasts of lower Net Cash Income and increased Debt for 2013, national average Gross Profit On Cash Revenue is projected to equal an outstanding 27.5%. So, cries of financial disaster will normally be limited to those burdened with sharply excessive Current Liabilities and limited Operating Profitability or even Operating Losses.

A closely similar scenario occurred during the 1982-90 period. Despite consistently attractive Cash Profitability varying from 24.7% to 35.2% every year, approximately 266,000 U.S. farmers and ranchers ceased operations during the decade of the 1980s. Why? Extensive experience working with troubled operations throughout the U.S. confirmed that grossly excessive Current Liabilities along with out-of-control Production Costs and abysmal financial records were the common culprits.

The popular refrain still classifies the 1980s mistakenly as a farm crisis caused by low prices and overzealous lenders seeking repayment. Nothing could be further from reality! -RF

Water quality regulations costly to growers
Todd Fitchette | Western Farm Press

A “perfect storm” of regulatory proportions seems to be on California agriculture’s horizon, but all hope has not been given up. Not yet at least.

The recent Western Plant Health Regulatory Conference in Sacramento highlighted some of the storms on agriculture’s horizon. Some of those include the emerging regulations related to irrigated lands throughout California. A panel discussion on the matter included two state regulators and two growers.
Read more on the Western Farm Press:

New Director of Education 

ASFMRA has hired Andrew Barlow to lead our education department. He started September 30. You will have a chance to meet Andy at the ASFMRA annual meeting in Reno. Andy has a strong background in training and development as well as operations. He has a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management and is currently working on his master’s degree. Please welcome Andy to our staff. Andy may be reached at 303-692-1224 or

NASS 2013 Agricultural Land Values Report

This report is compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and covers agricultural land values over the entire U.S by state and region, average value per acre for farm real estate. Go to the NASS site to download the report:

Enforcing Animal Welfare Laws:  Whose Job Is It Anyway?
Webinar:  Oct. 10, 12-1 p.m. (CDT)/1-2 p.m. (EST)

In many states, private citizens are permitted to enforce animal welfare laws at homes, farms, and businesses.  To learn more about the webinar discussing these laws, visit the National Agricultural Law Center website here.
Presenter:  Elizabeth Rumley, Staff Attorney, National Agricultural Law Center
Continuing Legal Education Credit Available*
Cost: $95

National Ag Day

365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed
March 25, 2014
Washington, DC
Get complete info:

Women in Agribusiness Summit

October 22-24, 2013 Minneapolis, MN
Get complete info or register:

USPAP & Best Practices in the Florida Keys

February 20 & 21, 2014
Best Practices Seminar – Feb 20  7-Hour USPAP – Feb 21
Atlantic Bay Resort, Tavernier, FL

For more information download a flyer  or  please contact Julie Young at

ASB Meeting, October 18, 2013 – Washington, DC

The next public meeting of the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) is approaching. Please take the time to register for this meeting if you plan to attend.
Friday, October 18, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Doubletree by Hilton
1515 Rhode Island Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Get complete info or register:

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