Ag News

ASFMRA AgNews - April 16, 2019

By ASFMRA Press posted 04-15-2019 11:30


North Dakota Land Values and Rents Show Some Strength

North Dakota Land Values and Rents Show Some StrengthNorth Dakota cropland value increased nearly 2 percent, according to a January survey the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands commissioned.
An earlier report from a June 2018 U.S. Department of Agriculture survey showed no change in North Dakota cropland values from the previous year.

“The January survey reflected the impact of very strong yields and federal aid to producers in the form of market facilitation payments to offset the impact of Chinese tariffs on U.S. farm commodities,” explains Andrew Swenson, North Dakota State University Extension farm management specialist.

Read the Strong Prospects.

North Dakota Resubmits Waiver Request to ASC

Last week the North Dakota Governor and North Dakota Bankers Association resubmitted its request to the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) after some back and forth with the ASC over its initial request, submitted last year. The North Dakota Governor is again requesting a waiver for at least five years but this time instead of requesting an increase in appraisal thresholds, which the ASC cannot grant, appraiser credentials waivers are requested, which the ASC can grant under its authority. The net effect would be that lenders would still be required to have USPAP-compliant ‘appraisals’, but the use of licensed or certified appraisers would NOT be required. Most of this business would instead be completed by unlicensed ‘appraisers’, if this effort in ND is successful. The next step is for the ASC to determine if the request warrants a hearing and if so, the ASC will publish a 30-day notice in the Federal Register to solicit comments on the request. You can read the revised North Dakota request here.

2017 Agricultural Census Available 

Last week the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years. Some highlights include:

  • There are 2.04 million farms and ranches (down 3.2% from 2012) with an average size of 441 acres (up 1.6 percent) on 900 million acres (down 1.6 percent).
  • The 273,000 smallest farms (one to nine acres) make up 0.1% of all farmland, while the 85,127 largest (2,000 or more acres) farms make up 58% of farmland.
  • Just 105,453 farms produced 75% of all sales in 2017, down from 119,908 in 2012.
  • Of the 2.04 million farms and ranches, the 76,865 making $1 million or more in 2017 represent just over two-thirds of the $389 billion in total value of production, while the 1.56 million operations making under $50,000 represent just 2.9%.
  • Farm expenses are $326 billion, with feed, livestock purchased, hired labor, fertilizer and cash rents topping the list of farm expenses in 2017.
  • Average farm income is $43,053, with 43.6% of farms having positive net cash farm income in 2017.
  • Families own 96% of farms and ranches.
  • Farms with Internet access rose from 69.6% in 2012 to 75.4% in 2017.
  • Renewable energy-producing systems are used on 133,176 farms and ranches, more than double the 57,299 in 2012. More operations are building solar panels and wind turbines and installing methane digesters.
  • In 2017, 130,056 farms sold directly to consumers, with sales of $2.8 billion.
  • Reduced tillage practices used on farmland increased by more than 21 million acres, or 27 percent.
  • More than 104,452,339 acres had no-till practices, a jump of 8 percent. Intensive tillage decreased by 24 percent, from 105,707,971 acres to 80,005,292 acres.
  • Land planted with cover crops increased to 15.3 million acres.

See the entire report.

USDA Releases Farm Bill Implementation Summary

Last week, USDA released a department-wide comprehensive summary of its 2018 farm bill implementation to date. To check the status of a particular program click on this link.  

Higher Loan Limits Available for FSA Farm Loans

The 2018 Farm Bill increased the amount that producers can borrow through direct and guaranteed loans available through the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and made changes to other loans, such as microloans and emergency loans. Farmers can now borrow up to $400,00 directly from the FSA for farm operating loans or $1.75 million under the guaranteed loan program. Direct farm ownership loan limits were raised from $300,000 to $600,00 and guaranteed ownership loan limits went up to $1.75 million from $1.429 million. Producers who previously received debt forgiveness as part of an approved FSA restructuring plan are now eligible to apply for emergency loans. Previously, these producers were ineligible.

Beginning and socially disadvantaged producers can now receive up to a 95 percent guarantee against the loss of principal and interest on a loan, up from 90 percent.

FSA Renews Noninsured Assistance Program 

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced farmers can begin purchasing buyup coverage for 2019 crops under the Noninsured Assistance Program (NAP). NAP is available to crops for which crop insurance is not available. Per the 2018 Farm Bill, service fees for the program are increased. The 2018 farm bill raised the service fees and reauthorized NAP buyup coverage. NAP program authority had lapsed when the 2014 farm bill expired. The fee rises to $325 per crop, with a limit of $825 per producer per county, not to exceed $1,950 per producer for all area farmed. Although the NAP application dates for 2019 crops, and some 2020 crops, have passed, farmers will be allowed to sign up retroactively. Buy-up NAP coverage is available for up to 65 percent of production. The basic level of coverage protects 50% of production.

Gold Versus Farmland: Which Alternative is Right For You? 

Farmland and gold are two of the world’s oldest and most valuable asset classes, and they share many similar benefits that investors still find attractive today. Unfortunately, as those of us in the industry know, investing in farmland has been largely overlooked in recent decades.However, both assets can provide investors with much-needed diversification, though each offers specific advantages. If you’re looking to invest in one of these alternatives, here are some important areas to consider when choosing between the two.

Which Asset is Right for You?

Canada Considers New Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Agricultural Products

New retaliatory tariffs by Canada on U.S. products including agricultural ones may soon be on the way. 

David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., told members of the North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) at this week’s annual NAAJ meeting in Washington, D.C., that the proposed retaliatory tariffs are in response to the U.S. using Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 that place tariffs on steel and aluminum for national security reasons. These were instituted during negotiations of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement. This agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement has been signed but not yet ratified between the three nations.

What Might This Mean?

10 Common Questions About Hemp Farming

Hemp production has been federally legal since the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act in 2018, though some states are slow to adopt output of the plant that’s used to make fiber, paper, and even food.

Producers, however, need to abide with state agricultural laws along with the 2014 U.S. Agricultural Act and the aforementioned 2018 law, and obtain permits issued by local departments of agriculture, said Emiliano Aloi, the president of Exactus Inc., which just acquired a majority interest in a 200-acre industrial hemp farm in Oregon.

Get Your Questions Answered.

Flooding Damages Exceeds $12 Billion, Flooding to Continue

AccuWeather estimates Midwest flooding damages have mounted to $12.5 billion in economic losses. This is based on damages already inflicted and those expected by additional damages and lingering health effects from incoming flooding.

“These losses occurred in farm states that contribute significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product,” said Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather founder and CEO in a recent press release. “With the ground already saturated and more flooding rain expected, our independent forecast shows that the aggregate economic toll of these floods will be far greater than official estimates initially suggests.”

What does the Forecast Hold?

U.S. Wine Exports Total $1.47 Billion in 2018

U.S. wine exports, over 90% from California, reached $1.47 billion in winery revenues and 375 million liters (41.7 million cases) in 2018. Total exports were down 4.8% in value and 1.2% in volume because of the strong dollar, retaliatory tariffs, competition from foreign wine producers who are heavily subsidized by their governments and benefiting from free trade agreements in key markets.

“California wines performed well under very challenging circumstances as top markets continued to embrace our reputation for premium quality, leadership in sustainable winegrowing and diverse offerings,” said Robert P. Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. “Strong marketing programs that invite international consumers to connect with California as a world-class destination and wine producing region continued to generate new fans among media, trade and consumers.”

Will the Increase Continue?

UC Course Helps Landowners Track Water Use

On a recent morning, Jim Edwards and about 70 of his fellow farmers and ranchers from Northern California went back to school.

Each was handed a binder full of worksheets as they embarked on a three-hour course to learn how to measure and report their own water diversions – a state requirement now for landowners with rights to draw water from a river or stream.

What are Farmers Learning?

2018 Grape Crush Tops 4.5 Million Tons

Wine producers in California crushed more than 4.5 million tons of grapes after the 2018 harvest, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service's final report.

The total of 4,506,583 tons was up 6.2 percent from the 2017 crush of 4,241,945 tons, NASS' office in Sacramento reported on April 10.

What does Next Year Hold?