Recapping the 2019 Land Market
The land market in 2019 continued the plateau trend of the past several years in which the supply of ag land on the market remained lower than average and prices for good quality cropland held fairly steady. Farmland sale activity in the first part of the year was slower than it had been for some time with late spring and early summer especially void of farms for sale. The historically delayed and prevented planting season had much to do with the lower activity during that time.
Land values in 2019 once again bucked the prevailing depressed mood in agriculture to hold steady or even increase slightly in some instances except for the most stressed areas or segment such as dairy. Demand for productive and efficiently farmed cropland from farmers stayed consistent in most regions of the grain belt despite the economic challenges faced by US agriculture. Some regions, such as the Pacific Northwest experienced slowing demand exhibited by longer listing periods and flat prices. With generally more cautious buyers, some markets saw a move to more private treaty listings or bid sales instead of the traditional public land auction. Read the Full Story, by Randy Dickhut, AFM.
Focus on Ag: Reflecting on the decade of the 2010's
As we conclude another decade at the end of 2019, it is a good time to reflect back on some things that have occurred in the past decade. Many times, there can be dramatic change over the course of a decade, which has been no different in the decade from 2010-2019. In 2010, smartphones were just beginning to get used by large numbers of people, while today the smartphone is an essential tool in the lives of many in the U.S. population. On-line purchasing of goods and services was just developing at the beginning of the decade, while today, online shopping has forced the closure of many traditional merchandise stores and has changed the entire dynamics of the consumer retail business model.Read the Full Story.
Iowa Land Values Rise in 2019
Iowa’s farmland values rose in 2019, despite delayed planting, a wet harvest, a trade war with China, low commodity prices, and farm bankruptcies at the highest level since 2011.
The annual Iowa Land Value Survey, conducted by Iowa State University, shows that the statewide value of an acre of farmland is now estimated to be $7,432, an increase of 2.3%, or $168, over 2018. This is the second time in the past six years that Iowa land values have risen.Read the Full Story.
Young Farmers Weigh In On A Challenging Year
It’s been a challenging year for American farmers.
Farmers in the U.S. witnessed a trade war with China unfold, farm debt continues to pile on and delays in planting due to extreme weather linked to climate change.
And as farmers get older — their average age is 58 years old — what does the next generation of farmers look like? Will they face the same barriers?
Gracie Weinzierl recently began farming on Weinzierl-Stephens Farms in Stanford, Illinois. The 27-year-old comes from a family of farmers who grows cash grains such as corn and soybeans.Read the Full Story.
What to Do With Your Leftover Christmas Tree
One Massachusetts farm has figured out a unique and environmentally friendly solution to the annual issue of what to do with your Christmas tree.
Hokaheh Farm in Housatonic feeds the trees to goats.
This program offers the goats variety in their diets while providing people with an environmentally friendly way to be rid of their trees.Read the Full Story.
USDA Announces Hemp Insurance Pilot
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced late last year a new crop insurance option for hemp growers in select counties of 21 states in 2020. The pilot insurance program will provide Actual Production History (APH) coverage under 508(h) Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) for eligible producers in certain counties in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The MPCI coverage is for hemp grown for fiber, grain or CBD oil for the 2020 crop year. It is in addition to the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection coverage available to hemp growers announced earlier this year.
To be eligible for the MPCI pilot program, among other requirements, a hemp producer must comply with applicable state, tribal or federal regulations for hemp production, have at least one year of history producing the crop, and have a contract for the sale of the insured hemp. Producers also must be a part of a Section 7606 state or university research pilot, as authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, or be licensed under a state, tribal or federal program approved under the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) interim final rule issued in October 2019. The MPCI provisions state that hemp having THC above the federal statutory compliance level will not constitute an insurable cause of loss. Additionally, hemp will not qualify for replant payments or prevented plant payments under MPCI.
In addition, beginning with the 2021 crop year, hemp will be insurable under the Nursery crop insurance program and the Nursery Value Select pilot crop insurance program. Under both programs, hemp will be insurable if grown in containers and in accordance with federal regulations, any applicable state or tribal laws, and terms of the crop insurance policy. More information will be forth coming from RMA on hemp policies in the near future.
Senate to Start Consideration of USMCA
Both the House and Senate return to Washington, D.C. this week after a two-week recess. As widely reported in December the House passed the U.S. Mexico Canadian Agreement on Trade (USMCA) by a vote of 385-41
The USMCA is set to take another step toward ratification this week. The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to consider the House-passed implementing bill on Tuesday January 7, 2020. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hasn’t said when the USMCA measure will be on the Senate floor and the timing of the impeachment trial will impact Senate floor consideration.