Ag News, February 25, 2014

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Has the appraisal profession just gone to pot?

NBC’s Pete Williams reports that the Obama administration has established a new set of rules that allows banks to do business with marijuana dealers. Banks will be able to choose whether or not they do business with marijuana dealers and must verify that the dealer is not doing anything illegal. This new set of rules will definitely affect Colorado and Washington whose voters just approved recreational marijuana.  Listen to this report: How will this affect your appraisal business? Would there need to be a withdrawal period between property inspection and rendering a value?

Virtual Inspections

The Appraiser Coach recently had an article on Virtual Appraisal Inspections (, from the perspective of a residential appraiser who had to travel quite a bit to cover Eastern Idaho and Western Wyoming.  While the trip provided time with his 13 year-old son, his observations about utilizing a qualified employee/trainee and Google Glass were intriguing. 

Does this raise issues for certifying property appraisals when you don’t actually physically visit the property?  Would this be advantageous in extreme weather?  What does this mean for appraisers with disabilities? How do you feel about embracing this type of technology? Join the discussion on AgProLink:

ASFMRA Land Professionals Look at Land Values

In this issue LandOwner Newsletter summarizes an article about nationwide Farmland values written by Kirk Weih, AFM; Merrill Swanson, ARA; Steve Runyan, ARA, Kirk Manker, and Allan Worrel, AFM. Login to Member Resources to read more.

Markets aren’t as bullish as in ’13

Kiplinger Agriculture Letter – Though markets aren’t as bullish as in ’13 for grains, oilseeds and most other types of crops…Farmers plan to sow just as many acres this year: About 325 million in all, weather permitting. And most will still be assured of profits. Soybeans will take center stage this year as farmers shift more fields away from corn. Despite ample world crops and stocks expected in ’14, high demand will bite deeply into the supply. Copyright 2014. The Washington Kiplinger Editors, Inc. Login to Member Resources and download the latest edition of The Kiplinger Agriculture Letter:

Rural Texans unite against water curtailment

By Logan Hawkes – Southwest Farm Press – Newly appointed Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Executive Director Richard Hyde, knowingly or not, drew a line in the sand Jan. 27 when he approved the Lower Colorado River Authority’s (LCRA) controversial request for emergency drought relief for 2014. Continue reading:

Climatologist, Water Development Board see continued drought

By Ron Smith – Southwest Farm Press: A bit of precipitation here and there—rain, ice, snow or sleet—over the past few weeks may have put people thinking that the long-running drought is near a close.

Or maybe not. The most recent Texas Drought Report, in addition to a recent update from Texas State climatologist Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon point to continuation of drought across much of the state and developing drought in some locations. Continue reading:

Water Cleaning Technology Could Help Farmers

An interesting article from the The New York Times talks about using solar power to clean water from drainage facilities. Read more:

California water wars have taken many legal twists and turns

In the minds of many, having sufficient water for municipal water systems and food production would take precedence over other uses. But for many residents of California and for federal law, that is not the case.

From the Western Farm Press: Judge Oliver Wanger, a veteran of more than 20 years of the water wars as a sitting judge in the U.S. District Court for Eastern California in Fresno, says that, under the law, endangered species have the same standing as those who also need surface water supplies from the Central Valley Project. Continue reading on the Western Farm Press:

Blue Diamond grows profits on trees

Todd Fitchette | Western Farm Press – Americans are not being asked anymore to eat “a can a week.” That’s arguably not enough.

Blue Diamond Growers will need more than that to meet its next milestone within the next several years, but judging from recent success stories they’ll get there. Continue reading on the Western Farm Presss:

Time growing short for voluntary metering of Delta irrigation wells

by Hembree Brandon  in Farm Press Blog – Producers in the Mississippi Delta have slightly more than four months to meet a voluntary goal for metering of at least 5 percent of irrigation wells, says Randy Knight, or else be faced with mandatory metering of 10 percent of wells.

The voluntary metering effort is being supported by the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, which Knight serves as president. Continue reading:

In Memory Arnold Waldstein

Arne Waldstein, 89, passed away on Saturday, February 8, 2014, in Waverly, Iowa.  Arne was a long-time member of the ASFMRA and Iowa Chapter.  He graduated from Iowa State College in 1949.  After graduation, he married Marianne Aust, in 1951.  His professional career took him to Albany, Georgia where he was employed as a farm manager.  In 1953, he returned to the Storm Lake area and worked for Stalcup Ag. Services where he later became President and CEO.  Under his leadership, the firm grew from a firm of two to seven professional farm managers and appraisers.  He became quite active in the Iowa Chapter and the ASMRA.  He joined the ASFMRA in 1951 and obtained his Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) and Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA) designations before going to the Retired classification. He was a member of the National Management Education and Government Relations Committees. He was President of the Iowa Chapter in 1970.  He was awarded the D. Howard Doane Award by the ASFMRA and was named National Farm Manager of the Year.  Arne also served as a consultant to improve farming conditions in Turkey and the Czech and Slovak Republics.  In 1978, he was elected to the Iowa State Senate and served until 1986.  A Celebration of Arne’s life was held on February 16 in Waverly, Iowa. 

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