Ag News, December 10, 2013

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Kohl: Build Liquidity Now to Weather Six-year Downswing

Throughout the boom in farm incomes and explosion in farmland values the past several years, Dr. David Kohl, professor emeritus of ag economics at Virginia Tech, has consistently cautioned farm operators and ag lenders concerning their spending and acquisition of debt. Now that grain prices have dropped sharply, squeezing profit margins as a result, he has upped the intensity of his message.
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There’s more than meets the eye as UAVs begin to fly the friendly skies of agriculture

Forrest Laws from Delta Farm Press interviews Earnest Earon in Reno at the recent the ASFMRA 84th Annual Meeting about using UAVs for agriculture.

Earnest Earon says farmers could probably get just as good a look at their crops with a 300-foot stepladder. But it would be very difficult to carry the ladder around in a pickup truck. Instead, farmers are turning more and more to unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs to help get a broader view of their fields. Earon discussed how UAVs are helping farmers collect and manage the data they need to make good cropping decisions in a presentation at the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.
Continue reading on the Delta Farm Press:

What does the end of the tobacco buyout mean?
By Southeast Farm Press staff | Southeast Farm Press

Commonly called the tobacco buyout, the Tobacco Transition Payment Program last payment is scheduled for January 2014.

What does this mean for rural economies and tobacco production?

The federal tobacco price support and quota program ended in 2004, deregulating U.S. tobacco production and providing compensation to quota owners and tobacco farmers over a 10-year period. As of 2012 $4.11 billion had been paid out by USDA directly to tobacco growers and $5.85 billion directly to former quota owners.
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Which Tablet is Best for Appraisers?
By Dustin Harris – The Appraiser Coach

Editor’s Note: This may apply more to a residential or commercial appraiser but there may something there for the rural property appraiser.

I teach a number of classes and workshops on mobile appraising.  I define mobile appraising as using tablets and laser measuring devices to gather data at your real estate appraisal inspections.  There are two questions that I get asked frequently: “Which tablet should I buy?” and “Which laser measuring device is the best?”  Both are great questions.  I will tackle the first question today and the latter question in a subsequent article.

Read the entire article at:

Amazing Sponsorship for 2013 Foundation Auction

What a night to remember! The 2013 Education Foundation Auction in Reno raised $38,000, 68% of the Chapters donated items to the Auction, and the Sponsorships for the event were amazing! This event raised the bar to new heights for future years. Let’s all gear up and get started on the 2014 Education Foundation Auction that will be held on October 31, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona and see if we can shatter this year’s numbers by raising more money at the Auction, having 100% of the Chapters donate items to the Auction, and continue to have the fantastic Sponsorships of this event with the addition of some new Sponsors! Thank you for making this event the huge success that it is!

2013 Education Foundation Auction Sponsorship Support in Reno

Bayer CropScience Auction Entertainment & Beverage Tickets
California Chapter Suzie Roget & Chapter members for assistance
Kefa Capital, Inc. Bidder Gift of Packages of Roasted Nuts
Allied Grape Growers and Nat DiBuduo, AFM Bidder Gift of E&J Gallo Brandy
Mid States Farm Management Co. and Darrell Limkeman, AFM, ARA Trade Show Drawing

Thank You from the Meador Family

The Leonard Meador family expresses our deepest thanks for your love, support, and prayers in our behalf. Without faithful friends and believers supporting us, the path we are on would be very difficult to walk. More than ever we have felt and seen in action the fervent prayers of faithful saints.

In so many ways you have blessed our lives over the last month. Just saying “thank you” seems so shallow, but we pray God will bless you in ways we cannot. We were greatly humbled by your benefit auction in our behalf. The American Society is more than a professional development organization. It is a family caring for its own. We love you deeply. You are a true blessing to us as we continue on the path God has chosen for us to walk. Our desire would be to return and pass on the great outpouring of support you have given us.

With humble thanks for your kindness and wishing you God’s richest blessings,

Leonard and Karen Meador

New initiative focuses on critical role of soil health

DECEMBER 4, 2013: Farm Foundation, NFP and The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation today announced the launch of a new initiative designed to bring attention to the critical role of soil health in the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050. This announcement is being made to mark World Soil Day on Dec. 5.
Through the leadership of the two foundations, the Soil Health Initiative will bring recognition to the central role of soil in productive agricultural systems, and establish a strategic plan to address soil health issues.
“Soil health is a key factor in any agricultural production system, whether conventional or organic, yet soil is too often ignored or overshadowed by other factors,” says Noble Foundation President Bill Buckner. “It is critical that producers-the people working directly with the land-be in close communication with researchers and policymakers to ensure that their challenges are recognized and our soils are protected and sustained for future generations.”
The Initiative evolved from discussions by 25 leaders representing conventional and organic agriculture, science and research, land managers and policymakers about the best tools to measure, promote and research soil health. This core group will be expanded to five working groups that will: find consensus on a definition of “soil health” to bring consistency and continuity to related work; define a standard for measuring soil health; identify opportunities for specific research work; prepare a white paper outlining the current state of soil health; and develop a strategic plan to broadly advance work on soil health issues.
The first working group completed its work, reaching consensus on a definition of soil health: The continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans.
“This definition is used by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service,” explained Working Group Chair David Lindbo, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University and President of the Soil Science Society of America. “It sounds simple, but establishing a basis of understanding of what soil health concerns is the first step to move forward with universal acceptance of soil health as a critical need.”
The working group identifying a standard of measure for soil health is expected to complete its work on or before Feb. 1, 2014. A strategic plan for addressing soil health issues is expected to be completed on or before April 2, 2014. Once this foundational work is completed, deadlines will be established for the remaining work groups.
“We need to recognize that soil is a common denominator for productive agricultural systems,” said Farm Foundation President Neil Conklin. “With a foundational base of defining soil health and standard measurements for soil health, we can move forward to build research plans and discuss potential public policies that enhance soil health moving forward.”
The issue of soil health became prominent in discussions of A Dialogue on Food and Agriculture in the 21st Century, a Farm Foundation initiative to promote discussions on the challenges to be addressed if agriculture is to feed 9 billion people in 2050 while protecting and maintaining natural resources. Buckner, a Dialogue Project Steering Committee member, was part of wide-ranging discussions on the role of science and technology in agriculture and the food system, which quickly focused on soil health. Those discussions were the seed for the Soil Health Initiative. Soil health has been a focus of the Noble Foundation since its inception in 1945.
Farm Foundation, NFP serves as a catalyst for sound public policy by providing objective information to foster a deeper understanding of issues shaping the future for agriculture, food systems and rural regions. The Foundation does not lobby or advocate. Our 80-year reputation for objectivity allows us to bring together diverse stakeholders for discussions on economic and public policies issues.
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation has focused on soil health since it was created by Lloyd Noble in 1945 to help protect the soil and safeguard the land for use by future generations by working directly with agricultural producers to effect change in regional soil health. An independent, nonprofit institute headquartered in Ardmore, Okla., the Noble Foundation conducts direct operations, including assisting farmers and ranchers, and conducting plant science research and agricultural programs to enhance agricultural productivity regionally, nationally and internationally.

Solar may be alternative for dealing with California’s high energy costs

California’s energy and environmental policies make it a high-cost energy state. But some growers are finding that installing solar panel arrays can be an answer to the dilemma of rising electrical bills. HelioPower’s Tom Millhoff talked about some of the reasons why California’s costs are high and how farmers can use solar panels and tax credits to reduce their own costs. Millhoff was a speaker at this year’s American Society of Farm Manager and Rural Appraisers annual meeting in Reno, Nev. Listen to excerpts from Tom Milhoff’s presentation in Reno: 

RMA – 2013 Data Indemnity Maps

The Risk Management Agency (RMA) released the updated 2013 data indemnity map.
To view the map, click here:

Announcements from The Appraisal Foundation

2013-08: ETHICS RULE – Confidentiality – “Subject Property Data and Confidentiality”
Read more and get the details:

Chapter News

Texas Chapter Spring Meeting & Education
Date:  January 29-30, 2014
Location:  Granbury, TX
Description:  Education | Business Meeting |Netwoking
Course Offered: January 29:   ASFMRA Best in  Business Ethics (4hour) | Rural Land Values Workshop (4 Hour)
January 30:   7 Hours USPAP Update
Contact Name:  Carmen Bierschwale
Contact Phone: (325) 446-3052
Contact Email:

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