ASFMRA AgNews - Vol. 13 Issue XL [September 11, 2018]

By ASFMRA Press posted 09-10-2018 18:27


Farmland Values Still Inching Upward

SALEM, Ohio — Low commodity prices apparently haven’t stopped the increase in farmland values for most landowners in the Farm and Dairy readership area.

Farmland in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana all saw increases over the previous year, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which puts out an annual farmland values report each August.

In Ohio, an acre of farm real estate (land and buildings) averaged $5,740 an acre in 2017, the first increase in three years. In Pennsylvania, farm real estate averaged $5,680 an acre. Both states were up 1.6 percent over the previous year.

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USDA: Net Farm Income to Decline; Debt, Assets Rise

USDA released net farm income projections for 2018 that call for a $9.8 billion drop from 2017 to $65.7 billion. However, they also anticipate assets and equity to increase.

According to USDA, net cash farm income is forecast to decrease 12.0% to $91.5 billion.

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Are Farmland Values on Shaky Ground?

Commodity prices are sensitive to any number of factors, but a relatively uncommon one came marching onto the scene this summer — trade wars and tariffs.

China and the U.S. have traded several blows over the past two months, with each country racking up tariffs on billions in goods aimed at the other.

Soybeans, in particular, sit on the front lines of these tariff tiffs, as futures prices eroded nearly 16% between Memorial Day and late July, and futures prices hit new lows near the end of August. Corn and wheat prices also drifted lower earlier this summer.

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Farmland Sale: Southeast Iowa Land Fetches $8,000 per Acre

It’s a familiar refrain for Troy Louwagie. Heirs of the Greatest Generation of farm families grow up on a farm, move away, and eventually sell the property. “That’s my typical seller today,” says Louwagie, real estate broker for Hertz Real Estate Services of Mount Vernon, Iowa.

That was the setup for the sale of 233 acres west of Keswick August 29. Two brothers who inherited the land several years ago decided it was time to sell the family farm. The local American Legion hall was full of prospective buyers, all of whom knew the owners took pride in their farm.

“The family has a good reputation, and their crops always look good. The property is well cared for,” Louwagie says. After competitive bidding, local farmers bought each of the three tracts. “When the buyers are happy and the sellers are happy, it’s a good sale.”

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Ag Economy Barometer Rebounds by 12 Points in August 2018

The Ag Economy Barometer rebounded 12 points in August to a reading of 129 after falling to 117 in July. Although the producer sentiment index increased in August, producer sentiment remains well below its late spring readings of 141 in May and 143 in June. The shift in producer sentiment occurred primarily because producer’s perception of current conditions improved as the Index of Current Conditions increased to a reading of 121 following a dip to 99 in July. The Index of Future Expectations also rose in August but the increase was modest, rising to 132 just 6 points above its July reading.

The shift in producer sentiment occurred against a backdrop of USDA announcing intentions to aid farmers impacted by importing countries imposition of tariffs on a multitude of U.S. ag products. Survey responses were gathered from agricultural producers in mid-August, after USDA outlined the assistance package in general terms, but prior to USDA’s Aug. 27 announcement providing details regarding how payments would be allocated among producers.

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The 56-member Committee has Until the End of the Month to Pass the New Farm Bill

The public officials tasked with passing the next Farm Bill began the process this week.

The 56-member (comprised of nine senators and 47 representatives) Farm Bill Conference Committee held its first official meeting Wednesday.

The committee has until Sept. 30 to pass the new Farm Bill since the current one expires at the end of the month. They understand tough decisions will be made to pass the bill on time.

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California's Edgiest Wine Region is About to Get a New Name

The remote coastline of Sonoma never fails to impress. Chilly fog and wind roll in from the Pacific, covering ridges of towering redwoods and tiny patches of vineyards. To reach these wineries, you follow hairpin curves up narrow dirt roads you probably wouldn’t want to drive on after dark.

The dramatic, 51-mile-long sliver of land next to the ocean is known as the West Sonoma Coast, or what some call the “true,” “extreme,” or “far” Sonoma coast. It’s California’s edgiest, riskiest wine region, where clashing tectonic plates have been churning up the earth for hundreds of millions of years.

It also happens to be one of the world’s sweet spots for pinot noir, chardonnay, and syrah.

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Retailer Demos Fully Autonomous Drone

Since the introduction of the Scout—a fully autonomous drone for ag applications—at the end of 2017, American Robotics has been conducting its next round of field demonstrations. One such participant is the team at MKC.

The Scout can provide daily high-resolution crop health images—at 400’ and 200’ overhead heights. MKC has been experimenting with drones for the past three or four years, but as Troy Walker, precision ag manager for MKC explains, the team was eager to learn more about the fully autonomous capabilities.

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The Appraisal Standards Board Update

The Appraisal Standards Board has issued a Second Exposure Draft of proposed changes for the 2020-21 edition of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) on the following topics:

  • Other edits to improve clarity and enforceability of USPAP

The proposed changes to the Advisory Opinions will be exposed soon.


The written comment deadline is October 10, 2018. To submit comments on the proposals, please email

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