Legislative Action News, September 4, 2012

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ASFMRA Joins Broad Coalition Calling for Farm Bill
By Stephen Frerichs

The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers joined a broad coalition of farm and conservation groups urging Congress to pass the 2012 Farm Bill.  The “Farm Bill Now” campaign hopes to pressure Congress to pass a farm bill before the expiration of the current one at the end of September.  The coalition’s website is http://www.farmbillnow.com/.  You can add your voice by going to the website and signing the petition.  A rally is planned for September 12 in Washington DC. 

Livestock Producers Urged to Keep Good Records
By Stephen Frerichs

Via a press release, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia urged livestock producers affected by natural disasters such as Hurricane Isaac to keep thorough records of their livestock and feed losses, including additional expenses for such things as feed purchases because of lost supplies.

Even though livestock disaster assistance is currently not available, Congress may pass some relief in the near future, so accurate records will be important.  USDA’s authority to operate the five disaster assistance programs authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30, 2011. This includes SURE; the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP); the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP); the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP); and the Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Production losses due to disasters occurring after Sept. 30, 2011, are currently not eligible for disaster program coverage.

FSA recommends that owners and producers record all pertinent information of natural disaster consequences, including:

Documentation of the number and kind of livestock that have died, supplemented if possible by photographs or video records of ownership and losses; Dates of death supported by birth recordings or purchase receipts; Costs of transporting livestock to safer grounds or to move animals to new pastures; and Feed purchases if supplies or grazing pastures are destroyed.

USDA Extends Emergency Grazing Provisions
By Stephen Frerichs

USDA announced a two-month extension for emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres. USDA is permitting farmers and ranchers in drought stricken states that have been approved for emergency grazing to extend grazing on CRP land through Nov. 30, 2012, without incurring an additional CRP rental payment reduction. The period normally allowed for emergency grazing lasts through Sept. 30. The extension applies to general CRP practices and producers must submit a request to their FSA county office indicating the acreage to be grazed.

ANREV, INREV Partner with NCRIEF on Global Index Fund
By Bill Garber

The Asian and European associations for investors in non-listed real estate products have aligned with the National Council for Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries to create a new fund index to measure the performance of non-listed real estate vehicles internationally, PEI Media Group reported Aug. 22.

According to ANREV, the new global fund index will allow the non-listed real estate sector to be evaluated and compared to other worldwide asset classes, PEI reported. One of the main goals for the index is to give investors further information for asset allocation.

“A global index will have far-reaching benefits for the whole industry, particularly in terms of establishing universal performance benchmarks and standardization,” Patrick Kanters, INREV chairman and managing director of global real estate at APG Asset Management, told PEI. “It will also help with specific issues such as improving asset liability modeling.”

Regional fund indices already exist at NCREIF and INREV, according to PEI, and an inaugural Asian fund index was started by ANREV in 2011. The total global index could possibly include 670 funds with a combined estimated gross value of $654 billion.

Mark Roberts, managing director and global head of research at RREEF Real Estate and chairman of NCREIF, said that the goal of this initiative “is to improve the transparency of real estate as an asset class and help our members make more informed investment decisions,” PEI reported.

A global index working group has been created with representatives from all three bodies to move the process forward, with the intent of presenting initial findings at ANREV’s annual conference in Hong Kong in October and at NCREIF’s fall conference in Florida in November.

Implementing Dodd–Frank
From Economic Perspectives – Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Special issue of Economic Perspectives reviews challenges associated with implementation of financial reform.
Download this article: http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/publications/economic_perspectives/index.cfm

Managers and Appraisers Express Their Views on Issues that Affect them Every Day

A couple months ago 164 appraisers and 48 managers/consultants completed the 2012 Government Relations Surveys.  The 2012 Leadership Institute participants will be using the results from the Government Relations Survey when they meet with legislators in DC next week. Here are some of the findings:

• 44% of the appraisers felt that Dodd-Frank had not reduced pressure on them to deliver a pre-determined value, 38% were unsure if has been any change and 18% felt the pressure has been reduced
• 66% of the appraisers felt that AMCs have not had an impact on their business, 24% felt they had and 10% felt there was no positive impact or were not sure
• 74% of the appraisers felt that that Section 1619 which reduced access to data has critical or serious impact on their business while 26% felt it had little or no impact.

Farm managers:

• 75% of the managers did not support tying conservation to crop insurance eligibility
• 80% of the mangers opposed FSA taking over crop insurance functions
• 72% of the managers felt that FSA offices had not adequately instituted and promoted online farm program sign-ups and crop acreage certification reporting
• 90% supported greater flexibility in managing CRP acres
• 65% felt that Section 1619 had serious or critical impact on their business while 34% felt it had little or no impact

Download complete results from the appraiser survey, the manager/consultant survey.

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