ASFMRA AgNews - June 18, 2019

By ASFMRA Press posted 06-17-2019 12:37


On the Edge: Farmland Values Treading Water … for Now

The future of the farmland market continues to be a guessing game. So far, values have been supported by low interested rates and a strong buyer pool for limited land for sale. But numerous financial metrics point to a deterioration of farmers’ financial health, according to a semi-annual market update from Farmers National Company.

“As 2019 unfolds, the land market will remain on edge watching farm finances, weather, and trade issues,” says Randy Dickhut, senior vice president of real estate operations for Farmers National. “The outcome of these and other unknowns will guide which direction land values will move over the coming months.”

Where Will Values Go?

California Budget Deal Helps Keep Marijuana Growers in Business

California cannabis farmers facing a potential “extinction event” could see help in the state budget package with measures that would allow nascent businesses to continue operating with provisional licenses and open opportunities for new growers.

The fixes would give the state and local governments more time to decide whether to grant annual licenses to marijuana businesses that obtained temporary ones after voters passed Proposition 64 in 2016 to legalize recreational cannabis.

What Does the Budget Deal Mean?

Crop Pests Complicating Difficult Growing Season in Arkansas

Arkansas farmers besieged by floodwaters, rain-filled forecasts and sprouting weeds are seeing another threat crawling toward their valuable crops in the form of numerous, hungry pests.

What’s Happening in Arkansas’ Key Row Crops?

Trump orders simpler path for genetically engineered food

President Trump wants to make it easier for genetically engineered plants and animals to enter the food supply, and he signed an executive order Tuesday directing federal agencies to simplify the “regulatory maze” for producers.

The move comes as companies are turning to newer genetic engineering techniques that make it easier to tinker with the traits of plants and animals.

What Does Trump Have to Say?

It's a Record: Iowa Has Wettest 12-Month Period Since Official Records Began in 1895

Iowa set a record for rain and snow over the past 12 months, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A changing climate and above-normal ocean temperatures thousands of miles away contributed to the state's 50.73 inches of precipitation from June 2018 through May 2019, state weather experts say.

That's about 16 inches more than the 34.42 inches the state averaged per year from 1981 to 2010.

What Implications Does The Rain Bring?

A Californian Business is Using A.I. to Change the Way We Think About Energy Storage

While sources such as solar and wind may be good for the planet, they do not promise a constant and predictable stream of power in the way that fossil fuels do.

Given this fact, if renewables are to become a crucial part of the planet’s energy mix, they will need to rely on smart and intuitive energy storage systems.

In the U.S., California-based Stem is using artificial intelligence to help businesses store energy on a large scale.

What Will A.I. Do to Energy?

Rain Leaves Veggie Farmers Struggling With No Aid in Sight

Like farmers throughout the Midwest, this spring's torrential rains turned Andrew Dunham's land into sticky muck that set him back nearly a month in planting his crops.

Unlike other farmers, though, Dunham won't get a piece of a $16 billion aid package to offset his losses and he can't fall back on federally subsidized crop insurance because he grows herbs, flowers and dozens of vegetable varieties, but not the region's dominant crops of corn and soybeans.

Is Aid on The Way?

The Appraisal Foundation Opens Candidate Search for the Appraiser Qualifications Board and Appraisal Standards Board

The Appraisal Foundation, the nation's foremost authority on the valuation profession, announced today its national search for qualified candidates to serve on its two independent boards — the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) and the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB).
The AQB and ASB set minimum qualifications and standards to ensure the public trust. Over the past 30 years the minimum qualifications and standards established by these boards have not only earned the public's trust, but also the confidence of consumers, lenders and users of appraisal services. They are essential to the foundation of the appraisal profession.

Background and Qualifications:

The Appraiser Qualifications Board is responsible for establishing the minimum education, experience, and examination qualification criteria for real estate appraisers to obtain a license or certification. Also, the AQB sets the minimum requirements for real estate appraisers to maintain their state credential.

Additionally, the AQB establishes minimum qualification criteria for personal property appraisers. Adherence to the personal property criteria is mandatory for Foundation Sponsors who confer personal property appraiser designations. Familiarity with appraiser qualifications is a prerequisite of service on the AQB, and a minimum of ten years of appraisal experience is required.

The Appraisal Standards Board is charged with developing, interpreting, and amending the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Familiarity with USPAP is a prerequisite of service on the ASB, and a minimum of ten years of appraisal experience is required.

The AQB and ASB have up to three face-to-face meetings per year. In-person meetings typically consist of 1½-days of work sessions and a ½-day public meeting. In months when the Boards do not meet in-person, they conduct web or teleconference meetings. Individuals serving on the Boards are compensated for their time and are reimbursed for travel expenses. Those individuals selected for a position on the AQB or ASB will serve initial terms of one to three years commencing January 1, 2020.

The Boards Nominating Committee of the Board of Trustees seeks proven leaders of the appraisal profession from a variety of disciplines and background to fill positions on these Boards.

How to Apply:

Click here to complete the online application or visit Go to the About Us tab > Get Involved section to complete an online application.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Arika Cole at: or via phone at 202-624-3072.

USDA Clarifies – No MFP on Prevented Planted Acres

In a press release last week, Secretary Perdue stated the USDA does not have legal authority to make a Market Facilitation Payment (MFP) on acres that are not planted. There was some confusion around this point after the initial MFP Round II announcement. Last week’s press release did say USDA is “exploring legal flexibilities to provide a minimal per acre MFP to those who file a prevent plant claim and then plant an MFP-eligible cover crop.”

Additionally, in the Q&A section of the press release (Question #5), USDA states that while it has authority to pay up to 90% of a loss for prevented planted acres under the recently signed disaster bill, “it is highly unlikely that the supplemental appropriation (disaster bill) will support that level of coverage in addition to crop insurance.”

Dairy Margin Coverage Sign-up Starts this Week

Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC), the Farm Service Agency (FSA) administered dairy program, sign-up starts June 17, 2019. Coverage is retroactive to January 1, 2019. In a press release announcing the signup, Secretary Perdue said: “For many smaller dairies, the choice is probably a no-brainer as the retroactive coverage through January has already assured them that the 2019 payments will exceed the required premiums.”

The Risk Management Agency also issued an Informational Memorandum last week reminding growers and the crop insurance industry that the 2018 farm bill allows producers who participate in the DMC program to purchase Livestock Gross Margin for Diary Insurance even though both allow similar risk management protection.

Agriculture Appropriations Bill on House Floor this Week

The House plans to consider a package of appropriations bills (minibus) this week that includes the FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The deadline for submitting amendments to the Rules Committee was last Thursday. Seventy-three amendments, some late, have been filed to the agriculture spending bill. None of the amendments are related to crop insurance or the commodity programs, with the exception of sugar. There are a couple of anti-sugar amendments and an amendment by Representatives Cuellar (D-TX) and Hurd (R-TX) to address inadequacies of Round 1 MFP payments by helping qualified producers who lost their crop due to a disaster and did not receive full 2018 MFP benefits. The House Rules Committee has not yet determined which amendments will be in order for votes.

Cover Crop Relief

With wet weather and delayed planting in the Midwest, the Risk Management Agency has issued two Managers Bulletins MGR-19-12 and MGR-19-12.1 essentially extending cover crop termination initially to June 5, 2019 and subsequently to the end of late planting period for corn in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.  Insurance may attach to spring-planted crops following a cover crop even though some plants may have reached the headed or budded stage, provided producers take adequate and appropriate measures to terminate the cover crops.

Additionally, a bi-partisan group of Midwestern Senators has sent a letter to Secretary asking that USDA change the November 1 grazing/ harvest date for cover crops planted on prevented plant acres. The Senators are seeking an earlier date to allow use of the cover crops.

Appraisal Industry Review

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance will hold a hearing on June 20th at 2 pm to review the state of the appraisal industry. The witness list has not yet been released. You can watch the hearing here.

Comment Period Still Open on North Dakota Waiver Request to ASC

On May 30, the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) published a notice in the Federal Register that it will consider an appraisal license credential waiver request from the State of North Dakota. The notice started a 30-day comment period which ends July 1. ASFMRA will provide comments during the 30 window and we are working with other appraisal organizations on our comment letter. However, individual comments are welcome and you still have time to comment. You can read the Federal Register notice which explains how to comment here.