ASFMRA AgNews - June 23, 2020

By ASFMRA Press posted 06-19-2020 09:58


$1.65M Solar Farm for Sale in Massachusetts

If you've ever wanted to own your own electric utility, here's your opportunity.

There's a 2-acre solar farm for sale in Upton for just $1.6 million. As the owner, you'll be providing energy for hundreds of people in the Blackstone River Valley, and officially be part of the National Grid system.

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Maryland County Figuring Out Legal Hemp Logistics

At the edge of the shadows of the Catoctin Mountains in Keymar, there stands a canopy of glass enclosing 17 acres of plants, protecting them from the cold air outside one afternoon in late February. Most of what was planted inside were flowers and annuals; for more than 35 years, Catoctin Mountain Growers has supplied mums for Mother’s Day and poinsettias around the winter holidays.

But tucked away from the main corridor, a very different flowering plant was growing under a high ceiling of glass, a plant that announced its presence with a distinctly sweet, sour and skunk aroma that was thick in the warm, moist air.

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Farm Auctions Moving Online More Often

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, auctions are being held online instead of in-person. Luckily, real estate companies are prepared for the transition to off-site auctions.

“We made the decision within about 48 hours to convert all of our upcoming auctions to online only events,” said Howard Halderman, president of Halderman Farm Management and Real Estate Services.

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Locally Produced Meat and Potatoes Rising During Crisis

The ripple effect of the pandemic’s food supply upheaval started with idled restaurants and moved to meat-processing plants and quickly rolled down to the farmers and ranchers who produce our food.

Those in-the-field food producers have reacted to the disruption with innovative strategies and outreach that could transform their industries. Ranchers are developing their own brands and connecting directly with consumers. Farmers are working with ranchers to share land. Consumers are rallying around locally produced food, even as grocery shelves recover from the frenzied stockpiling of the early pandemic.

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"Agrihood" Des Moines Development Surrounds a Farm

Anyone who farms near the city has seen the sometimes unwelcome sight of developers paving over farmland and seeing houses sprout up where crops used to grow. But at this unusual development just outside of Des Moines the farm, or at least part of it, isn’t going anywhere.

The development, called an “agrihood” by its promoters, is built around the farm.

“Other developments are built around golf courses,” explains Kalen Ludwig, a realtor with the Peoples Company in Clive. “This one is being built around a farm.”

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CFAP Rules Questioned

House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) along with Representatives Costa (D-CA), Vela (D-TX) and Delegate Plaskett (D-VI) sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Perdue raising concerns about the structure of CFAP as well as staffing levels at Farm Service Agency offices. The primary CFAP concerns are:
  • CFAP does not include commodities under contract, even though several of the most impacted crops are typically grown under contract, including potatoes and malting barley.
  • USDA chose to cover livestock sales between January 15th and April 15th when COVID-19-related livestock market declines did not begin until February 2020 and some of the lowest market prices persisted well beyond April 15th, effectively arbitrarily picking winners and losers based solely on when livestock was sold without regard to actual market conditions.
  • CFAP does not recognize the cost premium of organic crops, by differentiating organic prices for certified organic producers.
  • USDA used data not fully representative of the farmgate value of some specialty crops to determine their eligibility for CFAP and CFAP payment rate.
  • CFAP payments do not distinguish between livestock raised for restaurant or higher value market chains, such as heritage breeds or grass-fed.
  • It remains unclear how producers of products that are not sold in cash markets with publicly reported prices (e.g., commodities that sell primarily to retail, farmers’ markets, fast food, and restaurant markets) and suffered significant market losses will meet the price data requirements of the CFAP Notice of Funding Availability. Impacted sectors include domestic aquaculture, bison, poultry, cut flowers, nursery products, and potatoes.
  • CFAP payments do not distinguish for the higher value given to crops that are marketed directly through restaurants, farmers’ markets, and other alternative markets.
USDA did publish a regulation making some changes to CFAP but those changes do not address the concerns raised by the letter.

American Farm Bureau Federation Urges Senate to Consider Additional Agriculture Aid

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall sent a letter to Senate leadership making the case for additional aid for farmers and ranchers. The letter urges the Senate to replenish CCC borrowing authority at $68 billion to allow USDA to make additional payments based on losses sustained after April 15th, the cut off for current CFAP payments. The letter also urges waiving payment limits, making contract poultry growers eligible for payments, allowing emergency haying and grazing of CRP, limited liability reforms related to Covid-19, more support for rural health care providers and rural broad band, changes to SBA programs and agricultural labor and worker safety in rural areas.

Next Relief Bill Not Until August

In an interview with rural reporters Senator Grassley responded to a question from Jerry Hagstrom (The Hagstrom Report) that he does not anticipate another Coronavirus relief bill to pass the Senate until August 6th, the last day the Senate is scheduled to be in session before starting its August recess. The package will likely include additional payments for farmers and ranchers. Grassley indicated negotiations for the relief package would start after the July 4th recess. There is no broad consensus on what to include in the next relief package. The House has passed the HEROES Act, but Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has indicated that bill is a non-starter in the Senate.

USDA Urged to Allow Earlier Haying and Grazing on PP Acres

Senators Thune (R-SD) and Stabenow (D-MI) and Representatives Johnson (R-SD) and Loebsack (D-IA) spearheaded a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. The letter urges USDA to allow producers to hay or graze cover crops prior to November 1, 2020 planted on prevented planted acres. Essentially, the letter requests USDA to repeat the flexibility it provided in 2019 when record number of acres were prevented from being planted. The authors note they do not anticipate nearly as many PP acres this year, but nevertheless request flexibility for those producers that end up with PP acres in 2020.

The letter was cosigned by: Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH, Bob Casey (D-PA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Hoeven (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tina Smith (D-MN, and Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Representatives Ralph Abraham (R-LA), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Don Bacon (R-NE), Jim Baird (R-IN), Mike Bost (R. IL), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Angie Craig (D-MN), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Collin Peterson (D-MN).

House Sets Appropriations Schedule

The House Appropriations Committee will begin moving fiscal 2021 appropriations bills starting next month. The Agriculture bill, which funds USDA, FDA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is scheduled for subcommittee action on July 6. The full committee will take up the Agriculture bill on July 9. Similar to years past, it is highly unlikely all of the 12 individual appropriations bills will be finished prior to the end of the federal government’s fiscal year September 30, requiring a continuing resolution to keep the government from shutting down.

Welcome New ASFMRA Members

We are recognizing new members of the Society on a monthly basis. You may recognize your colleagues in the following list and we encourage you to welcome them into ASFMRA!

New Members
Colette Adolph | Keller, WA | (Washington Chapter)
Kacey Aukema | Chipley, FL | (Florida Chapter)
Bob Bray with Heritage Farm Assistance LLC | Maroa, IL | (Illinois Chapter)
John Carpenter with Agriland, FCS | Tyler, TX | (Texas Chapter)
Andrea Fox with Northern Plains Appraisal, LLC | Brookings, SD | (South Dakota Chapter)
Rebecca Frantz | Wellman, IA | (Iowa Chapter)
William Gillison with Agriworld, Inc. | Lake Village, AR | (Mid-South Chapter)
David Herring with Herring Realty Advisors | Winter Garden, FL | (Florida Chapter)
Chip Horton with CLH Appraisals | Volin, SD | (South Dakota Chapter)
Richard Kaufman with Heritage Farm Assistance LLC | Maroa, IL | (Illinois Chapter)
Brent Lawson with Root Ag Advisory | Boise, ID | (Idaho-Utah Chapter)
Charles Maddox with AcreTrader | Fayetteville, AR | (Mid-South Chapter)
Michael McFadden with MSM Farms LLC | Sabina, OH | (Ohio Chapter)
Patrick McPartlan | Elgin, IL | (Illinois Chapter)
Russel Rice with Precision Appraisal Service | Parkersburg, WV | (Carolinas Virginias Chapter)
Jonathan Romero | Davis, CA | (California Chapter)
Kaleb Sargent with Cape Fear Farm Credit | Elizabethtown, NC | (Carolinas Virginias Chapter)
Eric Schumacher with First Mid Ag Services | Mattoon, IL | (Illinois Chapter)
Troy Wolzen with Redlands Appraisal LLC | Prague, OK | (Oklahoma Chapter)

Share Your Experience - Make a Referral

You know first-hand what a great organization ASFMRA is and what it means to you both professionally and personally. We thank you for spreading the word, you are the driving force behind our continued growth! Your peers below spoke to individuals about ASFMRA and those individuals have now become members of ASFMRA!

Brian Gatzke, ARA
Stacey Gillison, AFM
Chris Greenwalt, ARA, RPRA
Cory Kauffman, AFM
Allan Husby, ARA
Skye Root, AFM, AAC
Graham Smith
Rebecca Stone, ARA
James Synatzske, ARA

Thank you to all who have referred someone and in some cases, more than one, to join ASFMRA.