ASFMRA AgNews - Vol.13 Issue XXVI [June 26, 2018]

By ASFMRA Press posted 06-26-2018 08:38


As U.S. - China Dispute Escalates, Farm Groups See Added Risk with No Escape

Commodity prices are falling in the wake of President Trump’s threat of round after round of tariffs on China, and on Tuesday, groups representing wheat and soybean growers warned that the White House is making trouble for U.S. agriculture with its aggressive tactics. Trump believes he will win the fight, so farmers will have to endure the turmoil, said Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, adding, “I’m kind of scared for agriculture.”

“Soybean prices are falling as a direct result of this trade feud,” said John Heisdorffer, president of the American Soybean Association, a farm group. The National Association of Wheat Growers lamented that the administration “is doubling down on a policy that makes an already risky business of agriculture even riskier … and the administration’s vague promise of protection for the farmers we represent offers little consolation.”

After China parried U.S. tariffs on $50 billion of its high-tech products with tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. exports, Trump said that unless China backed off, it would face additional tariffs on $200 billion of exports. Another $200 billion round would follow if China retaliated further. “Our phone lines are open. They always have been open” for negotiations, said trade advisor Peter Navarro. “But there is a fundamental reality here, and that is that talk is cheap.”

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A Closer Look at Farmland Leasing Trends

Results of two different surveys recently compiled by Iowa State University Extension confirm trends in farmland ownership and cash rental rates.

The 2017 Iowa Farmland Ownership and Tenure Survey finds that 55% of Iowa’s farmland is rented, while 45% is owner operated. Of the rented land, over 80% of those acres use a cash rent arrangement. Also, 82% of the land has no debt against it.

The cash rental rates for Iowa 2018 survey found the overall average for typical cash rental rates statewide was $222 per tillable acre. That’s a slight increase of $3 per acre, or 1.4%, from the 2017 average rent. Survey responses are collected statewide annually from mid-March through late April.

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Finance Market Anticipated Rate Hikes. Is a 4th Hike Likely?

Ag borrowers are not likely to see immediate effects on short-term interest rates resulting from last week’s decision by the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) decision to raise the federal funds rate from 1.75 percent to 2 percent.

The rate hike was widely expected, with a likelihood of 98 percent, says Matt Monteiro, vice president of Finance and Treasurer, Farm Credit-Mid-America, Louisville, Ky.

“The big question is if there will be a total of three increases this year, or a fourth in December,” Monteiro said Monday in a phone interview with Farm Press.

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New Tech Puts Farmer ‘Inside’ Future Storage System

A grain storage system can be a thing of beauty, provided the setup was properly planned for the long haul and executed properly. And making that happen means the storage facility dealer, designer and the farmer must all be on the same page. “A storage facility is a significant investment — often part of a long-term plan,” says Adam Abels, Ag Advantage Systems, a Thompson, Iowa, designer and builder of GSI grain systems.

Abels, who has been using three-dimensional computer-aided design drawings for his customers for nearly a decade, has long been an innovator in presenting designs to customers. “Two years ago, I started laying my 3D designs over Google Earth images to show the farmer just how the system would fit in their operation,” he says.

But what if you could put the customer right inside a facility before the first yard of concreted was poured? What “mistakes” could be found by walking through the facility first, checking ladder placement, air-line locations and dump pit specifications, as just a few examples?

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Price Swings Fade Farm Profitability Chances, Economist Says

To say that the last few weeks were tough for corn and soybeans producers is a bit of an understatement.

After reaching contract highs toward the end of May, both new-crop corn and soybean prices sank toward contract lows during the third week of June 2018. These price swings resulted in a large shift in the expected corn and soybean returns.

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House Passes Farm Bill, Will Senate Follow Next Week

WASHINGTON - On its second try and on a two-vote margin, the Republican-controlled House passed its farm bill on Thursday that tweaks the ARC and PLC programs and expands the CRP by 5 million acres. House Agriculture chairman Michael Conaway said he expects the Senate to pass its version next week, clearing the way to enact the 2018 farm bill before current law expires this fall. Conaway said his top priority is enactment of the farm bill on time - “that will alleviate the sense of anxiety” in farm country created by the slump in farm income and commodity prices over the past five years. “I knew it was going to be razor-thin,” said the Texas Republican after the 213-211 vote. All of the votes in favor of the bill came from the Republican majority. Twenty Republicans joined a solid block of Democrats in voting against the bill. A month ago, 30 Republicans voted against the bill, putting it into legislative limbo. The House voted, 233 to 190 – a party-line vote – to take a new look at the bill and then immediately passed it.

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Increased Interest Rates May Hurt New Farmers

Aaron Lehman knows about belt-tightening.

Lehman, president of the Iowa Farmers Union and a fifth-generation farmer in rural Polk County, said the current atmosphere in agribusiness has many farmers — even well-established ones — facing tough financial decisions.

On June 13 the Federal Reserve increased interest rates, making that the second hike this year, with more expected.

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Reminder to Comment on the First Exposure Draft

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 
• 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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Volunteer Your Time, Share Your Expertise and Your Passion!

The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) has made many advances over the past year which would not have been possible without the vision and hard work of many of our members who participate on Committees, Councils, and at the local Chapter level as well. Thank you for your contribution to OUR organization for it has truly made a difference.

Volunteers are at the heart and soul of ASFMRA’s work. We are able to continue to provide cutting edge education, exceptional networking opportunities, and incomparable experiences as a result of the time and knowledge volunteered by members like you.

ASFMRA is pleased and excited to encourage you to respond to this year’s Call for Volunteers for our Committee openings. Your skills, perspectives, and knowledge are needed to continue to build a vibrant, inclusive, and all-encompassing rural property community. If you are a YPN member, please take note that the YPN Leadership Committee is looking for a member under 35 from District I and also from District VII.  

If you are interested in serving on a Committee, please apply by simply completing the Committee Application Form.  Please return the form to Hope Evans at

Don't procrastinate! Deadline to submit your application is July 8, 2018.
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Nominate a Deserving Member Today for an ASFMRA Award!

At the ASFMRA Annual Conference during the Accreditation Ceremony & Awards Presentation, ASFMRA celebrates our colleagues that have been awarded an ASFMRA award. Now is the time for you to nominate a deserving member for their service to the ag industry and profession. ASFMRA has a number of awards; the Early Career Award sponsored by Monsanto, the Appraisal Professional of the Year Award sponsored by Rabo AgriFinance Inc., the D. Howard Doane Award for outstanding contributions to the profession, and many more.

Nominations are due by July 15th. It is easy to nominate your peer, a deserving member. Simply fill out the nomination form and return it to Hope Evans by July 15th – nominate a member today!