ASFMRA AgNews - April 14, 2020

By ASFMRA Press posted 04-14-2020 07:50


In a Sea of Red, an Inviting Patch of Green

One often overlooked real estate segment has held its ground in the broader market retreat that began in February, and its resilience may help lift its status in the eyes of investors and portfolio managers.

"Over the years, I think more and more institutional investors have considered incorporating farmland as part of the portfolio, especially to balance out volatility in the equity market," says Wendong Zhang, ASFMRA Iowa Chapter Academic Vice President and assistant professor of economics at Iowa State University

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What are Farmers Thinking About Ag Tech During COVID-19?

Many of the world’s leading industries are grinding to a halt as governments across the globe attempt to thwart the further spread of COVID-19. Industries that involve bringing large numbers of people together physically are bearing the brunt, including sporting events, restaurants, education, and tourism. But there are a few that have been deemed essential to everyday life, including healthcare, emergency services, food manufacturing, and farming.

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North Dakota Cropland Values Remain Steady in 2020

North Dakota cropland values and cash rents remain flat, says Bryon Parman, North Dakota State University Extension agricultural finance specialist.

“Despite the lower commodity prices of the last several years, the longer-term averages have been aided by low interest rates, farm programs and ad hoc payment programs designed to help farmers meet cash flow obligations,” Parman says.

Parman used data from the 2020 North Dakota Department of Trust Lands survey to determine that state average cash rents were down .5% in 2020, while land values were up slightly at 1.73%. “However, when movements that small are put into context over time, it shows North Dakota cropland values and rents are not moving,” Parman notes.

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Support the Education Foundation

The members, Chapters, and sponsors of the ASFMRA support the Education Foundation which provides the development of new education, updated course material, support for the Leadership Institute, and much more.

You can make your tax-deductible contribution to the Education Foundation by one or a combination of the following:

  • Make a donation to the 2019 Education Foundation Auction – simply complete the Auction donation form and return it to Hope Evans (
  • Include a donation along with your dues invoice in any amount that you would like.
  • Make a pledge here of a one-time gift, monthly gift, quarterly gift, annual gift, or consider an Endowment.
  • Encourage your Chapters to make a donation.
  • Make a donation in Memory of or in Honor of a deceased fellow member.
  • Make a donation at any time throughout the year.
These types of donations can be a great way to show your support of the Education Foundation that has been beneficial to so many. Any expression of support is greatly appreciated, and as you know, your contribution is tax-deductible. Thank you!

Remembering Members Who Have Passed

Roger D. Kinsey, Muskogee, Okla.

The ASFMRA has just been informed that Roger passed away late last month (March). The ASFMRA was honored and pleased to welcome Roger into the membership in 2001. Roger was active with the Society and the Oklahoma Chapter. He served as the Oklahoma Chapter President from 2007-2008, he served as the Oklahoma Chapter Director on the ASFMRA Board of Directors from 2009-2011 as well as 2012-2013 and 2014-2015, and he also served as the Alternate Director from 2011-2012 as well as 2013-2014 and 2017-2018. Roger made many friends through his association with the ASFMRA who will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Read Roger's Obituary

Carl Norberg, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Carl Norberg, who was Executive Vice President of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers from 1968 to 1985, passed away at his home in Denver on March 22, 2020, after a lengthy illness fighting cancer. Carl joined the ASFMRA while the organization was still in DeKalb, Illinois, and in 1970 supervised the move of the Society's office to Denver. He was instrumental in the growth of the Society in its membership, educational functions and professionalism. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family.

William Angus (Bill) Muir, Woodstock, Ont.

One of the founding members of the ASFMRA’s Ontario Chapter, William (Bill) A. Muir passed away on March 24, 2020. Bill received his ARA shortly after graduating from Ontario Agricultural College, Guelph, in 1960, and began his career with Farm Credit Corporation. He was an active ASFMRA member throughout his career, serving on the Education Foundation Board Committee from 1985-91, and serving as Chair of the Membership Committee from 1980-82. Following his retirement in 1999, he moved to Arizona, where he was residing at the time of his passing. He will be missed greatly as a key figure in the Society.

USDA Issues FAQ regarding Small Business Administration Loan Program

Last week USDA provided guidance to farmers about their eligibility for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (see below for a brief description of the PPP). The guidance was developed with the SBA and is intended to clear up questions regarding eligibility for farmers for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Scroll down to the Paycheck Protection Program tab and click on the “+” to expand the Q&A. USDA issued the guidance as the SBA has been swamped rolling out the PPP. SBA has stated it will update its website at some point in the near future. The PPP is already oversubscribed, and Congress is looking to add addition funding for the PPP.

Paycheck Protection Program

The CARES Act provided $349 billion for a new loan program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The PPP initiative provides 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during the pandemic. These loans may be forgiven based on a formula if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. If you are interested in this program, you need to work through a local lender that is an approved SBA lender. You can find more information here.

The PPP started April 3, 2020 and was completely overwhelmed with demand. Both the Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA) and the Farm Credit Council have expressed frustration on behalf of their members to SBA with the initial rollout by the SBA.

Fannie and Freddie Issue Update FAQ’s

In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have provided temporary guidance to lenders on several policy areas to support mortgage originations, appraisals, and quality control (QC). Last week Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued update guidance. The appraisal Q&A starts on page 7 with question #31. You can read the FAQ here.

USDA Announces Loan Repayment Extension

Agricultural producers now have more time to repay Marketing Assistance Loans (MAL) as part of the USDA’s implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. The loans now mature at 12 months rather than nine, and this flexibility is available for most commodities.

Effective immediately, producers of eligible commodities now have up to 12 months to repay their commodity loans. The maturity extension applies to nonrecourse loans for crop years 2018, 2019 and 2020. Eligible open loans must be in good standing with a maturity date of March 31, 2020, or later or new crop year (2019 or 2020) loans requested by September 30, 2020. All new loans requested by September 30, 2020, will have a maturity date 12 months following the date of approval.

Eligible commodities include barley, chickpeas (small and large), corn, cotton (upland and extra-long staple), dry peas, grain sorghum, honey, lentils, mohair, oats, peanuts, rice (long and medium grain), soybeans, unshorn pelts, wheat, wool (graded and nongraded); and other oilseeds, including canola, crambe, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, sunflower seed, and sesame seed. Seed cotton and sugar are not eligible.

Additional Relief for Farmers

Last week President Trump stated during a press conference and tweeted as well that he has directed Agriculture Secretary Perdue to provide additional relief for farmers and ranchers. The Secretary is working on a package that could total $15.5 billion ($9.5 billion provided under the CARES act and $6 billion funded by the CCC). Announcements could come from USDA as early as this week regarding how the relief will be structured.

RMA Releases Additional Manager Bulletins in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

For the third Friday in a row, RMA issued several Manager Bulletins to provide relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Managers Bulletin MGR-20-06.1 extends additional time for production reporting for area plans. Managers Bulletin MGR-20-09 waives some inspection requirements, and authorizes some transactions over the phone and electronically to facilitate physical distancing. Managers Bulletin MGR-20-10 authorizes AIPs to count dumped milk towards milk marketings for DRP and actual marketings for LGM Dairy regardless of whether the milk was sold.

Additionally, RMA issued Managers Bulletin MGR-20-008 on April 3rd. The Bulletin makes changes to replant certification, basically replacing 50 acres with 100 acres, and assignment of indemnity, basically waiving the witness requirement. The replant certification is for the 2020 crop year, while the witness requirement waiver runs through July 15, 2020.