Weekly AgNews – June 13, 2017

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Farmland Sales Hard to Find as Growers Hold Tight, Keeping Land Value Fairly Stable

Four years ago there wasn’t enough farmland to go around. Growers looking to expand their holdings, outside investors who’d never set foot in the state of Iowa much less in a cornfield, and people looking to bolster their retirement funds were snapping up land as fast as aging farmers hoping to spend their retirement on a Florida beach could sell it.

It was a perfect storm for both sellers and buyers.

Things are much different today, brokers told Successful Farming. Demand is still strong, but nobody’s selling as land values have declined amid falling crop prices, leading to what dealers are saying is the fewest available farms for sale in a generation. That, in turn, has kept prices afloat despite declining crop futures.

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Regulatory Agencies Issues Advisory on Appraiser Availability

Responding to concerns over the limited availability of state-certified and -licensed appraisers, particularly in rural areas, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued an advisory on May 31, 2017. The advisory highlights two options to help insured depository institutions and bank holding companies facilitate the timely consideration of loan applications.  

The first bullet point could be of benefit to ASFMRA appraisers.  The second bullet point could be of concern, please contact the Government Relations Committee if your state heads down this path.  

Financial industry representatives, during the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act (EGRPRA) review process, raised concerns regarding the timeliness of appraisals, which they attributed to shortfalls in the availability of state-certified and -licensed appraisers, particularly in rural areas.

Title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) requires appraisals for federally related transactions to be performed by individuals who meet certain state-certification or -licensing requirements. Today’s advisory points to alternatives that may help in areas facing a shortage of appraisers:

• The first option highlighted in the advisory, temporary practice permits, allows appraisers credentialed in one state to provide their services on a temporary basis in another state experiencing a shortage of appraisers, subject to state law. The advisory also discusses reciprocity, in which one state allows appraisers that are certified or licensed in another state to obtain certification or licensing without having to meet all of the state’s certification or licensing standards.

• The second option, temporary waivers, sets aside requirements relating to the certification or licensing of individuals to perform appraisals under Title XI of FIRREA in states or geographic political subdivisions where certain conditions are met. Temporary waivers may be granted when it is determined that there is a scarcity of state-certified or -licensed appraisers leading to significant.

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With Republicans, Trump in Charge, Farmers Ponder New Farm Bill

BLOOMINGTON, IL —
As he works to get his crops planted, the weather keeps Illinois farmer Gerald Thompson in his fields during the day.

Worrying about the political direction of his country is what often keeps him up at night.

“To me, we are in such a dysfunctional state,” he said as he stands between his green John Deere tractor and the planter attached to it that help him get his seeds into the ground.

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Trump Calls for Modernization of Inland Waterways

U.S. river traffic, key to farm exports, relies “on a dilapidated system of locks and dams that is more than half a century old” and needs a 21st-century update, said President Trump in pushing for a massive public works program. By coincidence, Trump spoke in the same city — Cincinnati — and used the same backdrop — barges on the Ohio River — that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue did a month ago when he announced a reorganization of USDA.

The administration would use $200 million of federal money to leverage a total of $1 trillion to invest “into our crumbling systems,” says a White House fact sheet. Rural infrastructure would be one of four categories for work. “Rural America will receive grants to rebuild crippled bridges, roads, and waterways.” The administration says it will slash regulations and speed up the approval process for construction.

“It is time to rebuild our country, to bring back our jobs, to restore our dream,s and, yes, to put America First,” Trump said.

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Is the Corn Market Ready to Rally on U.S. Weather Worries?

Corn futures prices have remained stubbornly low for the past three months despite heavy rain and cold weather complicating planting and early crop development for many U.S. Midwestern farmers.

But the tide may be shifting as the summer is beginning under a warmer and drier regime.

Driven partially by mounting U.S. weather concerns, July corn on Wednesday broke above the $3.60-to-$3.80 per bushel range it had been trading in for three months and new-crop December corn topped $4.00 a bushel for the first time since March 6.

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Crop Relief on the Horizon, Meteorologist Says

For now, crops in the northern Plains, Midwest, and Corn Belt will remain hot and dry for the most part. However, relief is on the way . . . eventually.

NORTHERN PLAINS

The U.S. Drought Monitor has a highlighter-yellow chunk that’s been gaining some tan highlights. Those colors, representing abnormally dry conditions (yellow) and moderate drought (tan), aren’t great indicators for thirsty crops in the state of North Dakota, northwest Minnesota, and the bulk of South Dakota.

According to senior Accuweather meteorologist Dale Mohler, the northern Plains will get some short-lived relief next week with as much of an inch to 1.5 inches hitting North Dakota and Montana between Monday and Wednesday. Unfortunately, South Dakota isn’t likely to catch much of that system, but another storm may relieve South Dakota farms later next week.

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Farm Credit Watching for Trump Infrastructure Announcement

President Donald Trump is headed to Cincinnati today, and reports are that he’s going there to talk infrastructure.

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Farmers Strongly Favor Renegotiation of NAFTA

U.S. farmers and ranchers, who voted overwhelmingly for President Trump last fall, solidly support renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, says a Purdue University survey of producers, despite farm groups’ fears of a disruption in trade. The monthly Ag Economy Barometer said 83% of respondents favored renegotiation and 61% believed the revised pact will benefit U.S. farmers.

Producers gave a similar answer – 63% – when asked how renegotiation would affect the U.S. economy overall. “However, the single most-common response to this question from survey respondents (25%), was an expectation that the outcome from renegotiating NAFTA would be neither favorable nor unfavorable, providing a rating of five on the nine-point scale,” said the Purdue economists overseeing the Ag Barometer.

It was the first time that Purdue asked producers about NAFTA. In earlier surveys, 93% of producers said exports were important to the agricultural economy, and 80% said they were important to their own farms. The USDA says exports provide 20¢ of each $1 of farm income. Trump vowed during the campaign to rewrite NAFTA or to abandon the 1994 trade agreement.

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U.S. Rice Prices Could be Headed Higher in 2017-18

U.S. rice producers could see higher prices for their 2017 crops – and it’s not mainly because of the losses due to the flooding that occurred in portions of Arkansas, Louisiana and California in late April and early May.

The die was already cast for lower rice supplies – and, thus, potentially higher U.S. prices – before unusually heavy rains in central Missouri caused rivers to leave their banks and flood nearly 200,000 acres in the northern Arkansas rice belt.

“The long-grain rice price forecast is up about $1 per hundredweight – around $9.70 to $10.70,” says Nathan Childs, who follows the U.S. and world rice markets for USDA’s Economic Research Service in Washington. “This is based on without factoring in the flooding that occurred in Missouri and Arkansas.”

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2017 Soil Survey Manual

The 2017 Soil Survey Manual has been printed and is ready for distribution. The newly updated Soil Survey Manual, USDA Handbook No. 18, provides the major principles and practices needed for making and using soil surveys and for assembling and using related data. The Manual serves as a guiding document for activities of the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS). Previously published in 1937, 1951, and 1993, the Soil Survey Manual is one of the defining documents for soil survey in the world.  Hard cover copies of the Soil Survey Manual are available from the NRCS Distribution Center.

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Appraiser Qualifications Board

June 2017: The Appraiser Qualifications Board has issued new Q&As on the Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria.

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