ASFMRA AgNews - Vol 13. Issue XXII [May 30, 2018]

By ASFMRA Press posted 05-30-2018 08:43


House Sets New Vote on Farm Bill

WASHINGTON - The House quietly delayed Speaker Paul Ryan’s attempt to revive the farm bill until June 22, with GOP leaders intending to remove conservative opposition to the bill by holding a vote on immigration control in the interim.

Representatives agreed to the June 22 target by passing, 227-180, a multipart resolution on Tuesday that set terms of debate for three bills, including a military spending bill. The final sentence in the resolution said action on the farm bill “may continue to be postponed through the legislative day of Friday, June 22.”

“Obviously, last Friday was regrettable. Obviously, we did not want to see members take down the farm bill,” Ryan told reporters. Thirty Republicans, half of them from the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, joined all House Democrats in defeating the GOP-written farm bill, 213-198, last Friday. The Freedom Caucus targeted the farm bill as a way to show its resolve to force its leaders to call a vote on immigration legislation. The group wants a vote on a more restrictive bill than a different bill that would help so-called Dreamers and is supported by Democrats and nearly two dozen Republicans.

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Cash Rental Rates up Slightly in Iowa

An Iowa State University survey shows cash rental rates for farmland in Iowa increased by 1.4% in 2018, after four years of continuous decline from the historical peak at $270 per acre in 2013.

The average cash rent in 2018 is still higher than the average rate in 2011, and only 17.8% lower than in 2013 (see Figure 1). In comparison, corn and soybean prices received by farmers in Iowa declined by 52% and 37%, respectively, since mid-2013.

Iowans supplied 1,596 responses to the survey about typical cash rental rates in their counties for land producing corn and soybeans, hay, oats, and pasture. Of these, 47% came from farmers, 29% from landowners, 13% from professional farm managers and real estate agents, 9% from ag lenders, and 2% from other professions. Respondents indicated being familiar with a total of 1.8 million cash-rented acres across the state.

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North Dakota Net Farm Income Drops 30 Percent

The average net income of farms in the North Dakota Farm Business Management Program dropped 30 percent to $88,026 in 2017, compared with $126,752 in 2016, according to Andrew Swenson, North Dakota State University Extension farm and family resource management specialist.

In 2017, one-half of the farms had net farm income less than $50,996, compared with a median net farm income of $83,683 in 2016.

In 2017, the average farm size was 1,937 crop acres and 490 pasture acres, the age of the operator was 45.8 years and the number of years farming was 21.5 years. Crop farms had higher crop acres, 2,321, and beef farms tended to be smaller averaging 362 crop acres and 1,245 pasture acres.

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Ninety-Nine Percent of America’s Farms are Family-Owned. But Only Half are Family-Farmed.

"My parents were farmers, both of my grandparents were farmers. Probably as far back as ever we were farmers,” says 77-year-old Shirley Gray. We are sitting in the wood-paneled dining room of her family’s farm in south central Iowa. “My husband’s parents were farmers, his grandparents were farmers. So we have always been farmers.”

Always, that is, until 2009, when Gray and her late husband decided they would stop farming and rent out their land instead. Gray’s kids and grandkids had all moved away from the farm and taken jobs in cities and towns throughout the region, ending the family’s 156-year farming tradition.

“The way it is set up, it will just keep right on being rented out,” Gray tells me when I ask what will happen to the farm when she is no longer alive to make decisions about it. “But we will keep the farm in the family, hopefully.”

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10 Economic Insights from Great Plains Bankers

Farm income is still low in the Great Plains region, but the rate of the multi-year drop has slowed. That’s according to the First Quarter Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions in the Tenth Federal Reserve District—an area that includes Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, the northern half of New Mexico and the western third of Missouri.

“Reduced farm income contributed to intensifying cash-flow concerns and tightening lending standards,” report Cortney Cowley, economist and Ty Kreitman , assistant economist, for the District.

The first quarter of 2018 marks the fifth straight year of lower farm income and credit conditions for area farmers. To help farmers cope with this tough financial environment, bankers have restructured debt, increased or maintained collateral requirements or—in some cases—denied loans.

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Will There be a NAFTA Deal by End of May?

Canada’s foreign minister is headed to Washington as the clock ticks down to reach a deal on updating the North American Free Trade Agreement that could pass Congress this year and skirt metals tariffs.

Chrystia Freeland will hold NAFTA meetings in the U.S. capital on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a statement from her office. She didn’t release a detailed itinerary, but is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, according to a government official familiar with talks, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Time is running out. The U.S. has exempted Canada and Mexico so far from tariffs on steel and aluminum, but tied that to NAFTA talks. Those exemptions are set to expire Friday morning, at the end of what the White House has called a “final” extension. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has also suggested a NAFTA deal is needed around then to pass the current Congress. Adding to pressure is a Mexican election on July 1 that could usher in populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as president, and the new threat of auto tariffs, which would hurt Canada and Mexico.

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Hopes for El Nino by Autumn

OMAHA (DTN) -- The harsh drought over the southwestern U.S. is expected to last through most of the summer.

That's the forecast from a drought and forecast update webinar held May 23. National Drought Mitigation Center climatologist Brian Fuchs offered a grim outlook for the region. More than two-thirds of the southwestern U.S. is already in some stage of drought; close to 40% of the region is in "extreme" or "exceptional" drought. Rangeland has almost no green areas. Livestock ponds are dried up. Death loss has been dramatic for both domestic livestock and wild animals, with very little grass for grazing and many dry stock ponds.

The drought set in quickly. At the start of the "Water Year" back on Oct. 1, only 5% of the Southwest was in some stage of drought. But drought development was enhanced by the Pacific Ocean moving to a La Nina cool-water phase during the fall and winter of 2017-18. "Going into La Nina, and knowing the analog response, we knew that a La Nina winter was going to be problematic," Fuchs said. "Going into it, we were very concerned."

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Plans to Overhaul H-2A

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- The Labor, Agriculture, State and Homeland Security departments will work together to modernize the H-2A visa program to bring in foreign farmworkers, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Thursday.

"Our departments are working in coordination to propose streamlining, simplifying, and improving the H-2A temporary agricultural visa program -- reducing cumbersome bureaucracy and ensuring adequate protections for U.S. workers," Perdue said in a statement.

He added, "The Trump administration is committed to modernizing the H-2A visa program rules in a way that is responsive to stakeholder concerns and that deepens our confidence in the program as a source of legal and verified labor for agriculture -- while also reinforcing the program's strong employment and wage protections for the American workforce. In addition, by improving the H-2A visa program and substantially reducing its complexity, the administration also plans to incentivize farmers' use of the E-Verify program to ensure their workforce is authorized to work in the United States."

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Bayer Announces Leadership Post Monsanto MergerBayer Announces Leadership Post Monsanto Merger

Liam Condon, president of Bayer’s Crop Science Division, has been tapped to lead the crop science executive leadership team of a new, merged company once the closing of Bayer’s acquisition of rival Monsanto is cleared by global regulators.

Two key leaders from Monsanto, CEO Hugh Grant and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Robb Fraley, will leave the company shortly after the acquisition is completed. In a note to employees, Grant said eight members of the Monsanto leadership team representing more than 250 years of service will not transfer to Bayer.

“All of you have pushed our global team to do better, to see challenges as opportunities, to deliver innovation and keep our customers first,” Grant told Monsanto employees.  “I’m proud of the path we have paved, and I know, together with Bayer, the company will continue to move modern agriculture forward. I will always be your biggest champion.”

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ASB Issues First Exposure Draft of Proposed Changes to the 2020-21 USPAP 

The Appraisal Standards Board has issued a First Exposure Draft of proposed changes for the 2020-21 edition of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). The First Exposure Draft proposes changes in the following: 
• Reporting Options• SCOPE OF WORK RULE
• Comments in Standards Rules
• DEFINITIONS• Other edits to improve clarity and enforceability of USPAP

The written comment deadline is July 15, 2018. To submit comments on the proposals, please email

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ASB Online Briefing - June 8, 2018

Attend the ASB Online Briefing on June 8, 2018 at 1:00 PM ET and provide your comments live! Maggie Hambleton, ASB Chair, and John Brenan, Director of Appraisal Issues at the Foundation, will discuss the proposed changes in the First Exposure Draft for the 2020-21 USPAP. 

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