ASFMRA AgNews - Vol. 12 Issue XLIX [December 5, 2017]

By ASFMRA Press posted 12 days ago


Senate Passes Tax Cut Bill, Conference Committee to Iron Out Differences

Last week the Senate passed its version of the tax cut plan on a party-line vote (51 -49). The only Republican Senator to vote against the package was Senator Corker (R-TN). Senate passage follows the House approval of its version in November and sets up a conference committee process to iron out the differences between the two versions. While there are a host of differences between the two bills, none of them are insurmountable. Republicans hope to have a final package to President Trump before Christmas.

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Be Prepared For the ‘Winter’ of The Farm Economy

It’s no secret the farm economy is in a downturn. Have you ever compared the cycles in the farm economy to the seasons of the year? Ag Economist Dr. David Kohl does.

“That period from 2006 to 2012, she was the summer,” he explains. “High commodity prices in every major commodity.”

He then says the period from 2013 to today is what he considers to be the Fall season.

“In other words, commodity prices are in an elongated kind of reset,” he says. “People have been pretty resilient because they had built up working capital and of course land values who were strong, so we had some equity on the balance sheet.”

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Do Third Party Inspectors Violate USPAP

It was recently brought to my attention, by a reputable appraiser I might add, that the use of third-party inspectors may be a violation of USPAP. Or more specifically, that an appraiser relying on a third-party inspector for information (without knowing their name), may be a violation of USPAP. For example, there are several (and growing) companies who are providing clients with what are being postulated as “hybrid appraisals” or “hybrid reports.” The definition, as far as I can discern, is that a third party inspector ‘inspects’ the property (usually an exterior from the street – which is why there are quotation marks) and a desktop valuation is performed by a licensed or certified appraiser based on the data provided from the drive-by information. It is my contention that the outlined scenario does not violate USPAP – as long as the appraiser takes care not to mislead.

Let me begin by stating what this article is not. This is not a discussion on the validity or prudence of this type of product. The profession is charged with strong opinions on both sides of the spectrum regarding ‘hybrid appraisals,’ ‘alternative valuations,’ ‘evaluations,’ ‘desktop appraisals’ and the like. I have my opinions on the matter as well, but that is a conversation for another day. My purpose in this article is to attempt to answer the question, “Does the use of third-party inspectors violate USPAP?”

As you all know (because we all keep up on USPAP – right?), we are required in Standard 2 to disclose any significant assistance. “When any portion of the work involves significant real property appraisal assistance, the appraiser must describe the extent of that assistance. The signing appraiser must also state the name(s) of those providing the significant real property appraisal assistance in the certification, in accordance with Standards Rule 2-3” (USPAP 2018-19 Lines 707-709). The questions are “what is significant, how do you disclose it, and where?”

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Government Funding Expires December 8th

Congress has not completed the twelve-fiscal year 2018 appropriations bills that fund the government even though the 2018 fiscal year started October 1, 2017. The government is currently funded under a Continuing Resolution (CR) which allows the various Departments and Agencies to spend at FY 2017 levels. The CR expires at midnight on December 8th. Congress will have to either pass an omnibus appropriations bill by Friday (highly unlikely), or extend the CR, or the government shuts down temporarily.

The funding bill requires 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster, unlike the tax bill which is being considered under special reconciliation rules that allow a simple majority for passage. Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders, along with the Trump Administration, must reach an agreement on overall spending levels for FY 2018 in order to move forward. That agreement has not yet been reached and will not likely occur before Friday, which means another CR will have to be passed to allow more time to reach a funding agreement or the government will shut down temporarily. Republican leaders have yet to decide the length of the CR, with some pushing for a longer extension into January, while others seek a 2-week extension.
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Risk Management Agency Removes June 1 Date for Conservation Compliance

The Risk Management Agency (RMA) published a final rule on November 24th that removes the June 1 date for conservation compliance purposes. The new procedure allows producers to file an AD-1026 form with the Farm Service Agency up to the premium billing date. Farmers who have an AD-1026 on file and no change in their operations do not need to refile the form.
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EPA Publishes RFS Standards for 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency published a final rule last week establishing the required renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) program for 2018. The final standards for 2018 are only slightly changed from the proposed standards that EPA issued earlier this year.

The agency set a total renewable fuel blending obligation of 19.29 billion gallons next year, maintaining the statutory requirement of 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel such as corn-based ethanol and 4.29 billion gallons of advanced biofuel, including 288 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, a slight increase from earlier proposals. 

Read the Rule
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Key U.S. Panel Sees No National Security Barriers to Bayer Takeover of Monsanto

A special review panel of U.S. officials “has concluded there are no unresolved national security concerns” in the proposed purchase by German chemical giant Bayer of St. Louis-based Monsanto for $66 billion. “Bayer and Monsanto will continue to cooperate with the authorities in order to complete the transaction in early 2018,” said a terse joint statement by the companies.

The merger would result in the world’s largest seed and ag chemical company, and would complete a wave of consolidation that is turning the big six into a big three in the sector. In the other combinations, Dow and DuPont merged and state-owned ChemChina purchased Swiss-based Syngenta. Bayer and Monsanto reached agreement on their combination in September 2016, saying it would combine Monsanto’s strengths in seeds and digital agriculture with Bayer’s crop-protection portfolio.

“The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals,” said the Bayer-Monsanto statement. It said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., chaired by the Treasury Department, “has completed its review of the proposed merger and has concluded there are no unresolved national security concerns with respect to the transaction.”

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Estate Taxes Threaten Family Farms

Part of this same American dream is the expectation that future generations will experience a better life than that of their parents. It’s always been that way – parents want their children to have more opportunities than they did.

The fondest wish of Kansas farmers, ranchers and small business owners is to pass these family ventures on to their children and grandchildren. They work years to leave a legacy of land or a business.

Unfortunately, that shared dream is threatened by an estate tax that has hung above the heads of farmers and ranchers for far too long. If farmers cannot pass on their land from one generation to the next, it threatens the future of our farms and forces farmers and ranchers to find alternatives to keep the family business alive.

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American Farm Towns, With Changing Priorities, Reject Industrial Agriculture

TONGANOXIE, Kan.—Rural Americans are turning their backs on the industry that made the U.S. the biggest meat-exporting country in the world.

Residents of Tonganoxie, a 5,300-person town in northeast Kansas, spent part of the fall hanging white-and-red placards that say “No Tyson in Tongie” on fenceposts and pickup trucks. Their efforts were part of a public push against Tyson Foods Inc., TSN 1.82% the largest U.S. meat processor by sales, which trumpeted in early September its plans to build a $320 million chicken-processing complex just south of town.

The investment, Tyson said, would bring 1,600 jobs to the area and deliver $150 million annually to the Kansas economy, in part because it would pay local farmers to raise chickens and buy locally grown grain to feed them. “Kansas will be an outstanding home for this Tyson complex,” said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, who joined Tyson staff and local elected officials in Tonganoxie when they unveiled the plan.

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NAFTA Threats Put Christmas Tree Export Market at Risk

In the cheerless days of the last recession, as Americans were spending less on Christmas trees, Oregon’s evergreen growers spotted an opportunity.

Demand had been growing for Northwest-grown firs in Mexico and the U.S. had a surplus. Agricultural officials from both countries forged a relationship that nearly doubled U.S. tree exports over four years, to $22.6 million in 2015. One in six of the state’s Christmas trees are now trucked south of the border.

Now, state officials are worried that their gains could become a casualty of President Donald Trump’s decision to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement. If the U.S. ends up withdrawing from the agreement, as Trump has threatened, it could result in Mexico imposing a retaliatory tariff on the U.S. and pivoting to Canadian suppliers.

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New Website

As you may know we have a new website! If you have not already signed in and checked it out we encourage you to do so.
Use our New Website How To to maximize your user experience. We have a few things that we are working on with our partner vendors (like the AgCareer Center and the Education Calendar) but we think you are going to like what you see! 
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Update Your Profile

Once you have looked around our new website make sure your update your profile. It is important that your contact information is up-to-date so that you can receive members updates, referrals and be contacted by potential clients.
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Annual Conference Photos

Our Annual Conference 2017: Changes, Challenges & Opportunities was a great success!