Ag News, January 28, 2014

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Economist sees bumpy years ahead for U.S. agriculture

By Daniel Enoch © Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc. SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 13, 2014 – An agricultural economist at Ohio State University has some words of caution for U.S. farmers.

“The last six years have been extraordinary years if you are a row crop producer,” Matthew Roberts told a workshop Monday at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention in San Antonio. But prices have fallen and “the next six years will not be like that,” he said Continue reading:

Legalized marijuana a budding trend

From Kiplinger Agriculture Letter – With legalized marijuana a budding trend…Farmers are mulling the potential for profits that could be made from growing cannabis as a crop.

More and more states are poised to OK sales and use of pot for recreational purposes, joining Colo. and Wash. state, which have already done so. Voters in Alaska, Ore., Ariz., Calif., Maine, Mass., Mont. and Nev. are likely to follow suit within two years. Moreover, marijuana will continue to gain acceptance as a medicinal drug for various therapeutic uses. Copyright The Washington Kiplinger Editors, Inc. Login to Member Resources to download the latest edition:

Setback in Iowa Values, More Cooling Seen in Nebraska

From LandOwner: The downshift in the value of western Corn Belt farmland is evident in the latest appraisal update released by Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica).

Data from the Omaha-based lender, the largest ag real estate lender in its four-state service area, which includes Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, shows a marked slowdown in price appreciation in Nebraska and a downshift in Iowa. However, the correction is not nearly as evident in South Dakota, while Wyoming appears to be continuing a steady upward climb. Login to Member Resources to download the latest issue – see below in next article for link to login. If you need your login or password please contact Michele at 303-692-1218 or

Market volatility drives demand for variable cash rents

From Ag Professional Magazine by David Englund, AFM – It is amazing how much difference a year can make in agriculture. At the end of 2012, we were going into the winter months emerging from a record-breaking drought and reduced yields that led to record high commodity prices. Along with the reduced yields, we had excellent risk management coverage that provided extra income to landowners helping to produce record income. This record income in combination with aggressive farm operators did allow for very good farm rental demand.

The year started out with good moisture that delayed spring planting in most areas. The mid-summer months were hot and dry. In August and September, rain fell in most areas and the heat cooled down. Once harvest started this fall, we saw record yields for corn and soybean that translated into lower commodity prices. With the commodity price reductions, producers are working on cropping budgets that aren’t near as rosy as past years. This reflects upon cash rent values in the area and producers are looking at lower rental rates in some cases. We in the farm management business are working hard for our clients coming up with ways to allow our owners to be protected in case prices rally. Continue reading the article.

Honey bee decline continues grabbing national attention

From the Western Farm Press Daily: Activists and some beekeepers have been asking that pesticide registrations be withdrawn because of claims the chemicals are impacting bees negatively. Continue reading:

YPN Leadership Team is off to a Great Start in 2014

By Dru Palmer - The YPN Team has much to look forward to this upcoming year, and we have been excited about the growth we have seen thus far.

The group has been working diligently to prepare for the YPN Workshop at this year’s Summer Education Week, July 13, 2014 in Des Moines, Iowa.  Last year’s event was very well accepted, but as a group we hope to see an increase in participants and offer another great workshop.  MARK YOUR CALANDERS NOW – WE CAN ALWAYS LEARN TO BE BETTER COMMUNICATORS.

The New Year also brings new opportunities to visit colleges and universities throughout the country.  YPN members are beginning to sort through their contacts and prepare for university presentations at nearby Land-Grant and other Ag focused schools.  The presentations offer information about ASFMRA, benefits of free student membership, introduce the Student Program at Summer Education Week and share general information about the industry and available career paths.  YPN members are also working with ASFMRA staff to centralize information for students on internships and future job openings.  – If you have a college or university you would like to make a presentation at please contact a YPN member or ASFMRA staff and we will provide the information needed for the presentations.

2014 looks to be a busy year for ASFMRA and the YPN Group.  We look forward to the upcoming events, networking with those around us, and building lifelong relationships with those in our industry. Download a flyer for the YPN SEW Event in Des Moines.. For more information about the YPN group, please contact Brian Stockman at

ASFMRA Training in Denver Starts February 19

ASFMRA core education classes begin this February in Denver. Why take ASFMRA education?

  • Real World Practicality – Our courses are known for their balance of theory and real world application. You’ll learn the theory and then practice its use to ensure you are skilled and proficient in its application.
  • Highest Quality Courses – Our courses are developed by some of the most qualified and experienced farm managers, appraisers and ag consultants in the profession. The courses are designed to complement the presentation of theory with practical application. No one teaches you the theory or the “how to” better than ASFMRA. •
  • Outstanding Instructors – All American Society instructors have years of experience as farm managers, appraisers and ag consultants and have demonstrated their expertise by earning an ASFMRA professional designation. Many of our instructors have considerable experience teaching and play leading roles in the profession.
  • Specialized Farm Management and Ag Consulting Education – ASFMRA offers core training for professional farm managers and continuing education in a wide variety of topics.
  • Specialized Appraisal Education – ASFMRA is one of only a handful of appraisal training organization that offer certified general education and we have been doing it since licensing began. We also provide continuing education on specialized appraisals such as Yellow Book, conservation easements, timber, natural resources, agricultural lands in transition and much more.

Upcoming Denver classes:

A101 Basic Appraisal Principles, February 19 – 22, 2014 A102 Basic Appraisal Procedures, February 23 – 26, 2014 A360 Introduction to Appraisal Review, March 3 – 4, 2014 A370 Appraisal Review Under USPAP, March 5 – 6, 2014

For a complete listing of ASFMRA educational offerings, please see our training schedule.Link:

Summer Education Week – July 12 – 17, 2014, Des Moines, IA

Mark your calendars for Summer Education Week (SEW) in Des Moines, IA July 12-17, 2014.  ASFMRA has a great selection of core and continuing education available for Rural Appraisers, Farm Managers, and Agricultural Consultants.  This year, we are planning 3 new appraisal seminars and 3 new programs for managers and consultants.

For appraisal continuing education, we will have seminars on appraising permanent plantings, greenhouse appraisal and appraising grain elevators. We will also offer A301 Cost Approach for General Appraisers as our core appraisal offering.

For management core education, we will offer ALM 1, 2, and 3. In addition, we will be offering continuing education seminars on lease negotiations, food quality issues, water quality and markets and irrigation, and legal issues and marketing and forecasting.

Make your reservations now and join us for Summer Education Week 2014.  For more information please see our website:

NRCS Improves Soils Data for Growing Customer Base

Lincoln, Neb.—On January 14, 2014, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) updated soil data for each of the 3,265 soil survey areas mapped over the last 118 years. This massive effort took fifteen months of programming that moved the many databases to a new data structure as well as updated all software to provide more efficient and cost-effective systems for future soil survey enhancements.  The spatial (soil polygons) and tabular (physical and chemical properties) data for all soil survey areas are available free from Web Soil Survey (WSS) at  This site is the most widely used web site for accessing soil information used to make important land use decisions.  This is the first major update of software and data since WSS came online in August 2005.

This updating has enhanced customer service, upgraded all software and databases, improved spatial data, and provided a complete suite of soil interpretations.  In addition, the agency will implement an annual refresh of soil data to be done each October thereby providing customers assurance that they are using static, versioned, and official soils data in support of land use decisions.  

Improvements to the spatial data include a complete spatial soil survey boundary layer and a map unit polygon layer with no gaps or overlays within the Continental United States.  This is a major accomplishment in the Agency’s desire to move to a truly seamless SSURGO spatial database.  The National Soil Survey Center’s GIS and digitizing unit staffs improved the quality assurance procedures and applications to help eliminate spatial errors.  Customers can now be assured that soils information is complete for use in spatial analysis. 

This release also includes the first set of soil survey Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) update projects.  This “harmonization” effort is the initial phase of the soil survey update process. The map units are evaluated on a regional scale identifying commonalities with the intent of improving soil data quality necessary to bring the more than 100 years of data to a common standard. This update process allows soil data to flow seamlessly across political boundaries, such as counties. Customers will begin to see the improvement with this release of the soils data as the map units transcend county and state boundaries.

State Soil Scientists exported 3,265 soil surveys to the Web Soil Survey.  Each soil survey now contains a full complement of national interpretations giving users the ability to analyze interpretations regionally, multi-state or across the United States. 

The 53rd Congress originated the soil survey in the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 1896 for the purpose of inventorying the agricultural lands of the United States.  That soil inventory became important during the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s when the Soil Conservation Service needed soils information to improve conservation efforts to decrease soil erosion.  The Congressional mandated United States soil survey has reached another major milestone in providing the information to Congress and land use planners necessary for the management of natural resources.  The NRCS soil survey program has met the demands of an ever changing customer base and ever changing technology from its roots as an inventory of agricultural lands into a massive soil spatial and attribute database that no other country in the world possesses.   NRCS is committed to delivering science-based soils information that helps people be good stewards of the Nation’s soil, water, and related natural resources. 

Every month more than 180,000 users access the Web Soil Survey, resulting in the creation of more than 20,000 printable soil survey reports and more than 75,000 individual soil property/interpretation reports. In addition, more than 25,000 soil survey data exports are downloaded, making the Web Soil Survey the most frequently used USDA web site. The systems that make up the Web Soil Survey needed updating to improve the end product.  Customers now have new spatial and updated tabular soil data at their disposal. This gives the customer better tools for making their resource assessments and conservation plans.

Web Soil Survey now provides a tool to track updates for specific soil survey areas. Individuals interested in this feature can go to Web Soil Survey and click on “Subscribe” in the menu bar and follow the online directions.

Individuals interested in Soil related issues may subscribe to topics using a free subscription service called GovDelivery.  Click here to go to GovDelivery and choose the topics of interest. Individuals can e-mail inquiries to for assistance with GovDelivery and Web Soil Survey.

Web Soil Survey customers can click on the “Contact Us” link in Web Soil Survey to get assistance from the Soils Hotline, a State Soil Scientist, or a local NRCS Office.

 News from The Appraisal Foundation

The Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) has issued January Q&As on the following topics: • “Verifying” Completion of an Appraisal • Assignment Results • Fannie Mae Form 1004 • Use of Certification with Form 1004D/442 (2 questions) • Applicable Edition of USPAP Link: Questions?  Please contact Emily Mann, Standards Administrator (202-624-3058).

The Appraisal Practices Board (APB) of The Appraisal Foundation has issued solicitations for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for The Valuation of Green Buildings – Residential Properties and The Valuation of Green Buildings – Non-Residential Properties.  The respective solicitations can be found by clicking on the links below: The Valuation of Green Buildings – Residential Properties: The Valuation of Green Buildings – Non-Residential Properties: We sincerely appreciate your assistance if you are willing to apply as a SME, or if you would pass this along to those who may be interested. The application deadline is February 14, 2014.

ASFMRA Career Center

Position Title: Collateral Analyst or Collateral Analyst Trainee 11117 Location: Orwell Ohio Closing Date: February 7, 2014

Position Title: Real Estate Specialist Location: Madison, WI Company: Department of Transportation, Division of Transportation System Development Closing Date: February 5, 2014

Position Title: Associate Appraiser Location: Tempe, Arizona Department: Appraisal Department Employment Type: Full-time Salary: Market Based, Depending on Experience Posted Date: January 15, 2014 Closing Date: Open Until Filled

Get complete details on these and other positions:

Other News of Interest

Brownfield Ag News – Report shows farmland values leveling off – A semi-annual study of farmland values by Omaha-based Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) suggests the market for farmland could be leveling off, or in some cases, softening. The analysis of ag real estate sales transactions—both auctions and private sales—shows farmland values in Iowa declined nearly three percent in the second half of 2013, while Nebraska prices were up less than one percent. South Dakota land values remained fairly strong, recording a seven percent increase. But even though prices appear to be leveling off, FCSAmerica chief credit officer Bill Davis says demand for farmland continues to be strong. <more> Jan. 20, 2014 Brownfield Ag News. Read more:

The Parching of Paso Robles by David Darlington:

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