ASFMRA Ag News - October 27, 2020

By ASFMRA Press posted 28 days ago


K-State: Rising Temps Will Disproportionately Affect Kansas Farmers

As the climate warms, growing corn and soybeans will become an increasingly risky venture for Kansas farmers, according to a recent study by K-State. The study found that drought and heat are currently the biggest reason for crop yield losses and expect that these losses will become more common because of climate change.

The study found that if temperatures rise another 1 degree Celsius or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, risks to crop yields will increase by 32% for corn and 11% for soybeans.

Three K-State agricultural economists conducted the study that looked at weather data and “Cause of Loss” data, maintained by the USDA Risk Management Agency, over 25 years in every state east of the 100th Meridian. The 100th Meridian West goes through Dodge City and divides the country from humid eastern states to arid western states, where crops depend more heavily on irrigation.

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Ag Sales to China on Pace to Break Records

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a report highlighting the progress made to date in implementing the agricultural provisions in the U.S.-China Phase One Economic & Trade Agreement, which they said is “delivering historic results for American agriculture.”

China has substantially ramped up its purchases of U.S. agricultural products. The report noted that China has purchased more tha $23 billion in agricultural products to date, approximately 71% of its target under the Phase One agreement.

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What Impacts Do the West Coast Wildfires, Smoke Have on Crops?

As the smoke clears, many farms, including Iverson Family Farms, are taking steps to make sure no invisible damage occurred in high-value crops susceptible to smoke—notably cannabis and wine grapes. Unfortunately, answers won’t be swift in either case.

In grapes, smoke damage imparts a burnt, ashy, even medicinal taste to the resulting wine. When wood burns, it releases volatile compounds, called phenols, which can bind to grape sugars, only to be released during fermentation. Cannabis may also be similarly impacted by volatile compounds, and possibly other chemicals if buildings—and not just wildlands—burned nearby.

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Midwest Derecho Was Most Costly Thunderstorm in US History, With Damage Reaching $7.5B

Damage estimates from a rare wind storm that slammed Iowa and some other parts of the Midwest in August are growing, with the total now at $7.5 billion, according to a new report.

The Aug. 10 storm hit Iowa hard, but also caused damage in Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota and Indiana.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it's currently the second-costliest U.S. disaster so far in 2020, although cost estimates for widespread wildfires along the West Coast aren't yet available

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Crews Vacuum ‘Murder Hornets’ Out of Washington Nest

Heavily protected crews in Washington state worked Saturday to destroy the first nest of so-called murder hornets discovered in the United States.

The state Agriculture Department had spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball and contained an estimated 100 to 200 hornets, according to scientists who announced the find Friday.

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The Appraiser Qualifications Board Adopts New Pathway for Aspiring Appraisers

The Appraisal Foundation Appraiser Qualifications Board today adopted the Practical Applications of Real Estate Appraisal (PAREA). These new minimum Criteria provide another pathway for aspiring appraisers to fulfill their experience requirements by taking advantage of innovative technology.

"Technology is opening new doors in the appraisal profession," said Vice President of Appraisal Issues Lisa Desmarais. "The current trainee/supervisor model can sometimes be a barrier to entry for aspiring appraisers. PAREA is not a replacement for this existing model, but it is an alternative pathway for those hoping to become appraisers to gain the required experience to join the profession. We hope state agencies will take advantage of these new minimum Criteria to establish more alternatives and make becoming an appraiser more accessible for anyone looking to join this growing field."

PAREA is designed to offer practical experience in a virtual environment combining appraisal theory and methodology in real-world simulations. This experience can be provided through a wide range of online and virtual reality technologies.

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Wealthy Investors Seem to Be Exploiting Land-Conservation Tax Breaks, and the Senate Is Taking Notice

Clay County sits in a remote southwestern corner of Georgia, more than 60 miles from any interstate, with no hospital, pharmacy, red light or high school inside its borders. Yet in 2013 developers claimed more than $12.1 million in tax write-offs by promising to protect hundreds of acres of undeveloped land from a major construction project: an 800-unit seniors housing facility, according to a report from the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

Conservation easements — tax breaks granted to protect undeveloped land — have become an increasingly common practice over the last decade, especially in Georgia.

Syndicated conservation easements, such as the one in Clay County, grant write-offs to multiple partners, each buying a share in a tract of land. They are attracting increased scrutiny from lawmakers and the IRS as a means for the wealthy to avoid paying their appropriate share of taxes.

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Owners Announce Sale of Whiteland Orchard

Forty-five years ago, nothing but farm fields and country roads surrounded the Whiteland Orchard.

Glenn and Becky Haveman purchased the property in 1975, and ever since, they’ve offered an agritourism experience with apples, pumpkins, cider and other products that countless people cherished.

But the area is shifting, with development around them accelerating. So, it is time for a change, the Havemans said.

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

With eight days to go before the election, it is clear that no agreement will be reached for additional COVID-19 relief until after the election, possibly in the lame duck session of Congress. The current Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open expires on December 11, 2020. So, a lame duck session will be necessary to avoid a government shutdown. The election results will determine whether this Congress tries to complete the appropriation bills this calendar year or punts them to the next Congress. A Biden victory and a Senate majority change will most likely result in another CR into next year, while a Trump victory with Republicans maintaining control of the Senate should result in Congress trying to complete its appropriation process for FY 2021 in calendar 2020.

The Senate nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday, October 26. She was confirmed on a 52-48 party line vote.

The House is not in session.

ARC/ PLC Enrollment Open

Agricultural producers can now make elections and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2021 crop year. The signup period opened October 13 and will run until March 15, 2021.

Producers can elect coverage and enroll in crop-by-crop ARC-County or PLC, or ARC-Individual for the entire farm, for the 2021 crop year. Although election changes for 2021 are optional, enrollment (signed contract) is required for each year of the program. If a producer has a multi-year contract on the farm and makes an election change for 2021, it will be necessary to sign a new contract.

If an election is not submitted by the deadline of March 15, 2021, the election defaults to the current election for crops on the farm from the prior crop year.

For crop years 2022 and 2023, producers will have an opportunity to make new elections during those signups. Farm owners cannot enroll in either program unless they have a share interest in the farm.

FSA began processing $5 billion in payments last week for 2019 ARC-County and PLC on covered commodities that met payment triggers on farms enrolled for the 2019 crop year. You can find information on the 2019 crop year ARC/PLC program here. In addition to the $5 billion now in process, FSA anticipates it will issue additional payments by the end of November for 2019 commodities covered under ARC-Individual (ARC-IC) and additional commodities that trigger PLC and ARC-CO payments for which rates have not yet been published.

Interim Report on Trade Agreement with China

Last week the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of Agriculture issued an interim report on the progress of the U.S./ China trade agreement reached in January of 2020. The report finds that China has purchased approximately $23.6 billion in agricultural products so far this year or 71 percent of its target for 2020. Corn exports to China are at an all-time record according to the report.

Appraisal Subcommittee Announces New Grants to the Appraisal Foundation

The Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) announced last week $3 Million over three years ($1 Million in Year 1) in new grant funds for the Appraisal Foundation (TAF) to support grant-eligible activities of the Appraiser Qualifications and Appraisal Standards Boards (AQB and ASB), and for additional projects and activities that promote innovation and expand positive impact of the AQB, ASB and TAF’s other grant-eligible activities.

CFAP 2 Payments Over $6 Billion

USDA is reporting total CFAP 2 payments as of October 18th, at $6.125 billion. $14 billion was made available by USDA for CFAP 2 payments. CFAP 1 payments remain unchanged for the past couple of weeks at $10.2 billion. $16 billion was made available for CFAP 1 payments.


Help us welcome our newest members to ASFMRA! We are thrilled that you have chosen ASFMRA as the organization to be affiliated with. Because of you, ASFMRA continues to grow and support rural property professionals across the nation!

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
Kevin Birlingmair with Heartland Bank and Trust Company in Normal, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Scott Borcherding with Agri-Management Services in Marion, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Henry Gordon in Memphis, TN (Mid-South Chapter)
John Makowski with Conservis Corp in San Diego, CA (California Chapter)
Ashley McEwen in Peoria, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Seth Melton with Busey Ag Services in Monticello, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Anthony Miranda with Colusa-Glenn Farm Credit in Willows, CA (California Chapter)
Jennifer Ratliff in Murrayville, IL (Illinois Chapter)

A congratulations is in order for Jenna McCarty, ARA, who recently earned her Real Property Review Appraiser (RPRA) designation! Ms. McCarty is currently based out of Windsor, Colorado, and works for Nuveen.

Also, congratulations to our members who recently earned their Accredited Farm Manager designations!

New AFMs
Craig Thompson with First Mid Ag Services in Bloomington, IL
Casey Watson with First Mid Wealth Mgmt. Services in Manito, IL


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! Talk to those you know who would benefit from ASFMRA’s educational offerings, networking, and meetings. Let them know your experiences of being involved in this great association and some of the business contacts you have made along with lasting friendships. Your peers listed below have done just that! They spoke to individuals about ASFMRA and those individuals have now become members of ASFMRA!

Ben Isaacson
Terry Kestner, ARA, RPRA
Allen Paine
Brian Thompson
Matthew Wyss, AFM
Corey Zelhart

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

In Memory: Robert L. Pfaff, Turlock, California

The ASFMRA was honored and pleased to welcome Bob to the membership in 1988. Bob was an Associate member and very supportive of the ASFMRA and the California Chapter. Bob made many friends through his association with the Society who will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.