ASFMRA AgNews - Vol. 13 Issue XXVII [July 3, 2018]

By ASFMRA Press posted 07-02-2018 18:30


Senate Passes Farm Bill – No Crop Insurance Amendments Offered

Last week the Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill by a vote of 86 – 11. You can see how your Senator voted here.

A special “Thank you” to all of you that called your Senators to urge a “no” vote on the Durbin/ Grassley amendment to apply AGI to the crop insurance program and the Flake/ Shaheen amendment to cap premium assistance. It does make a difference. As it turned out, neither amendment was offered, in no small part because you and others in the commodity, crop insurance, and conservation community made phone calls and contacts to Senate offices urging against the adoption of those amendments.

We could not have achieved this result without strong champions in Congress, Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow and their staff worked tirelessly to avoid harmful amendments as the bill moved through the Senate. Take a moment to thank your Senators if they supported the farm bill.

More News:

Is Today’s Farmland Market Rational?

For the past 12 months, the word most commonly used to describe farmland values is: stable. Prices vary by region. But overall prices have leveled off in most areas, after rising steadily for several years.

Will values stay on this sideways trend?

“I don’t foresee any reason that will create a radical departure from where we are now,” says Bruce Sherrick, a University of Illinois professor of agricultural and applied finance and director of the TIAA-CREF Center for Farmland Research. “The markets are incredibly rational right now.”

Read More
[Back to Top]

Senator Grassley's Actively Engaged Changes Included in Senate Farm Bill

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Stabenow (D-MI) opted to include a version of Senator Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) actively engaged proposal in the Senate version of the farm bill. It was included as part of a larger manager’s amendment. The changes made at Sen. Grassley’s request allow only one manager per farm, regardless of the structure of the operation, to qualify for commodity program payments. The provision also would eliminate family exemptions. The House contains no comparable provision and in fact goes the other direction by adding first cousins, nieces and nephews to qualify for payments. The Grassley language only impacts farm managers who seek to qualify for commodity payments.
[Back to Top]

EPA Releases RFS Proposal

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed volumetric requirements for 2019 and 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The EPA proposed a total renewable fuel volume of 19.88 billion gallons of which 4.88 billion gallons is advanced biofuel, including 381 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel, leaving a 15-billion-gallon requirement for conventional renewable fuels including corn ethanol. Midwest lawmakers have stated that this proposal does not go far enough, as it does not "undo the damage caused by the EPA’s improper use of refinery waivers and the administration’s failure to live up to its commitment to allow the yearlong sale of E15.” You can read the EPA announcement here. You can read Farm Bureau’s analysis of the announcement here.
[Back to Top]

Interest Rates on the Rise for Farmers

Ag bankers are slowly raising the interest rate on loans to farmers and ranchers, with the largest increases seen on operating loans, says the Federal Reserve’s quarterly report on agricultural finances. The impact of higher rates on production costs is relatively small, equal to less than 1 bushel an acre for a Midwestern corn farm. “Additional increases in rates could put more pressure on some farm operations,” said the report, but the delinquency rate on farm loans remains low.

Lenders charged an average rate of 4.9% on operating loans this spring, a notable increase from 3.5% during the final quarter of 2015, when rates touched historical lows. Rates on other types of loans are rising at a slower pace.

“The increase in rates on operating loans, however, is more notable because these loans account for about 60% of the volume of non-real estate loans at commercial banks,” says the Fed. The report was written before the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by one quarter point in June to keep inflation at 2%. The eight-member Federal Open Market Committee said “further gradual increases” are likely. When the Fed raises its rates, the effect trickles through to commercial lenders.

Learn More
[Back to Top]

Storm Clouds Ahead? Ag Economy Drives Prices for Farmland

OMAHA, Neb. — A market for Midwest farmland that has good news for buyers and sellers is reflecting a quality that is getting harder to find — optimism.

“There’s definitely a positive outlook longer term. We’re just getting through the cycle here,” said Randy Dickhut, senior vice president of real estate operations for Farmers National Company.

The company recently released its latest land values report, and that report has good news for both buyers and sellers of U.S. farmland.

Read More
[Back to Top]

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Says Farmers Understand China Trade Fight

CHICAGO, June 26 (Reuters) - Most U.S. farmers understand President Donald Trump’s trade row with China is necessary to get the biggest buyer of U.S. agriculture commodities to change its behavior, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday.

Perdue visited agricultural hub Chicago after commodity prices fell sharply this month on escalated tariff threats from Beijing and Washington.

“They understand that China has not been a fair player,” Perdue said in a speech to a trade show for the fresh produce industry.

Learn More
[Back to Top]

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.

Learn More
[Back to Top]

Iowa State Survey Shows Longevity in Farm Ownership

Iowa State University economist Wendong Zhang conducted a survey on ownership of Iowa's 30 million acres of farmland. The survey, presented at the university by Dr. Zhang and Dr. Alejandro Plastina, assistant professors of economics, showed the latest data in the continuum of the survey, which began in 1949

Plastina said, "It is statistically representative of all owners and all land in Iowa."

Plastina said the telephone survey results in a collection of widely used data and, "the best available information."

Read More
[Back to Top]

Appraisal Standards Board Q&As June 2018 Appraisal Standards Board Q&As June 2018

The Appraisal Standards Board has issued new Q&As for June 2018:
  • At The Time Of The Assignment
  • Government Agency Workfile Retention
  • Prior Service and Professional Assistance Disclosure - Part 1 & 2
  • Testimony and Deposition
  • Retention Requirements for Preliminary Communications after Completion of the Assignment 

To view all ASB Q&As, please visit the Standards & Qualifications Q&A Page. Questions? Please contact: Aida Dedajic, Standards Board Program Manager, at
[Back to Top]

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.
[Back to Top]