ASFMRA Ag News - December 8, 2020

By ASFMRA Press posted 12-06-2020 00:16


Challenges in Setting 2021 Land Rental Rates

Once harvest is completed in any given year, farm operators and non-farm landowners begin the tenuous task of negotiating annual land rental rates for the following crop year.

Approximately 60-70% of crop land in the Upper Midwest is under a land rental agreement, and most rental agreements are negotiated on an annual basis. Arriving at equitable land rental rates for the 2021 crop year is even more of a challenge, given the variable crop yields in 2020 and the unexpected rise in grain market prices, as well as fairy high levels of government farm program payments during 2020.

In the past, many land rental arrangements have been between farm operators and landlords that usually have known each other quite well, sometimes being neighbors or family members.

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Record-High Ag Subsidies to Supply 39% of Farm Income

Despite the effects of the pandemic and the trade war, U.S. farm income this year will be the highest since 2013 because of the largest federal payments ever — $46.5 billion, triple the usual amount, the government said on Wednesday. Think tank analysts said farm income would fall in 2021 with the expiration of Trump-era bailouts, but the drop-off will be lessened by the ongoing rally in commodity prices and increased ag exports.

“Given these new farm income numbers, it is hard to make a case for more supplemental monies going to the sector,” said former USDA chief economist Joe Glauber, now at the IFPRI think tank. “Far better to put it towards those who need it more, like SNAP recipients.”

Pat Westhoff, director of the FAPRI think tank, said farm income was certain to fall next year without large stopgap assistance. “However, with commodity markets stronger than we expected back in August, I’d expect the level of net farm income to be higher in 2021 than we previously projected,” which was $82.2 billion. Westhoff calculated that the U.S. corn and soybean crops are worth $16 billion more than in August, with China returning to the U.S. market.

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ERS Says Two Stories to Tell About Cash Receipts

The USDA’s Economic Research Service says their latest projections for crop and livestock cash receipts in 2020 tell two different stories.

The ERS expects total cash receipts for animal and animal products to decrease almost six-percent, or 9-point-7 Billion dollars.

ERS Senior Economist Carrie Litkowski says that would put them at their lowest value since 2009 when prior values are adjusted for inflation, “Receipts for cattle, calves, dairy, broilers and hogs are all expected to decline in 2020 because of lower prices. Receipts for broilers are expected to see the largest dollar and percent decline falling $6.7 billion, or 24% in 2020.”

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Uncertain Future for North Philly Horse Riding Club, Famous Worldwide and Beloved at Home

Ellis Ferrell sat inside one of six stables built by his son in a sweet spot of North Philadelphia on a sunny fall afternoon.

Namesake horse El Dog neighed beside him. Bees buzzed in and out of hay bales while chickens pecked and clucked. On a pasture across from the urban animal farm, nestled between blocks of rowhomes, half a dozen horses roamed.

Ferrell founded the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club in 2004. For the past two decades, the 81-year-old equestrian has poured his heart and soul into the community project.

“I love Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club because I’m dealing with kids,” Ferrell said. “And horses and kids are my passion. Once they learn how to ride, they’re here every day.”

Though it’s been the subject of everything from Parisian art exhibits to a Hollywood movie, the club’s future in Strawberry Mansion is uncertain.

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Pennsylvania Farm Boasts Largest Christmas Tree Auction in the World

The first Christmas trees arrived in the U.S. in Pennsylvania German settlements in the mid-1700s, and today, a Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, farm holds the largest Christmas tree auction in the world.

For the past 30 years, Buffalo Valley Produce holds that largest Christmas tree auction in the world title.

For two days just before Thanksgiving, Neil and Ben Courtney coordinate the sale of more than 50,000 trees from 4-foot trees to ceiling toppers.

Growers from as far away as North Carolina ship their trees to Buffalo Valley and buyers arrive at the auction site a few miles outside of town from as far away as Florida and Illinois. It is a two-day sale of trees, wreaths, rope and other decorations crafted from fresh greens. And when it's all over the buyers spend some $2 million dollars.

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Outlaw Jesse James’ Wild West Ranch Hideout Lists For $38 Million In California

The Wild West is filled with stories of outlaws seeking fame, fortune and escape. In this anxious Covid-era, escape will do.

There’s no time like the present. We’re currently living in a world of remote loners looking to get out of Dodge. Escape to a simpler time and place sounds pretty good these days. There’s such a place way out West.

California’s La Panza Ranch, once a hideout for infamous outlaw Jesse James, is on the market for $38 million. It seems too nice a hangout for such a ruthless gunslinger. The 14,750-acre property is still a working cattle and olive grove ranch in San Luis Obispo County, California. So you get a lot of beef with a side of olive oil.

“Estate ranches like La Panza are rare in the market,” says listing agent Lance Dore of California Outdoor Properties. “At 14,750 acres, it’s one of the largest contiguous tracts of lands in the western United States, particularly in California.”

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Orange County Has Historic Ice Age Caves, and Why Local Lawmakers Might Sell Land Next to Them

Orange County is set to move forward with a proposed land sale that has long raised concerns about potential damage to historic caves where human artifacts dating to the Ice Age were found.

County lawmakers are scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to seek bids for 31 acres of county-owned land between the Dutchess Quarry caves and a decades-old quarry now owned by Tilcon. The minimum price is nearly $1.3 million, the latest appraised value for the property based on the limestone that could be extracted from it.

All Republican lawmakers supported the proposal in two committee meetings this month, signaling it is likely to pass when taken up by a Legislature in which Republicans outnumber Democrats 15-5. Both Democrats in those meetings raised objections and opposed the sale.

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

House Agriculture Committee Leadership for 117th Congress

Democrats and Republicans selected their Committee Chairs and Ranking Members for the various committees last week. Representative David Scott (D-GA) will become Chair of the House Agriculture Committee with Representative GT Thompson (R-PA) as the Ranking Member when the new Congress is seated in January.

Mr. Scott will become the first African American to chair the House Agriculture Committee. He issued the following statement: “I was born on my grandparents’ farm in rural Aynor, South Carolina, during the days of segregation, and the hardships, of those, on whose shoulders I now stand. I owe this historic selection as the first African American Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee to a diverse coalition of members from across our nation. And I will use this critical opportunity to represent the values of our entire caucus and advance our priorities for trade, disaster aid, climate change, sustainable agriculture, SNAP, crop insurance, small family farms, specialty crops, and rural broadband. The fault lines dividing our rural and urban communities are running deep, and climate change is now threatening our nation’s food supply. As Chairman, I will lead the fight to rise up and meet these challenges.”

Mr. Thompson is the co-chair of the Crop Insurance Caucus. He issued the following statement: "As a lifelong resident of a small town in rural Central Pennsylvania and the descendant of a long line of dairy farmers, I am incredibly humbled to have been elected by my Republican colleagues to be their leader on the House Agriculture Committee in the 117th Congress.” Thompson added that, “The challenges ahead of us are considerable, but we will continue to put farm families first and ensure our country has the most safe and affordable food supply chain on the planet."

A comprehensive list of the other House Committee Chairs and Ranking Members can be found below with an asterisk next to the names of individuals newly elected to the position. Note, there is no change to the House Financial Services Committee (jurisdiction over appraisal issues) leadership.

*Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX)

Armed Services
Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA)
*Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL)

Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY)
*Ranking Member Jason Smith (R-MO)

Education and Labor
Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

Energy & Commerce
Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
*Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

Financial Services
Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Ranking Member Patrick McHenry

Foreign Affairs
*Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX)

Homeland Security
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS)

House Administration
Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH)

Natural Resources
Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
* Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR)

Oversight and Government Reform
Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Ranking Member James Comer (R-KY)

Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA)

Science, Space, and Technology
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK)

Small Business
Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
*Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)

Transportation and Infrastructure
Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO)

Veterans Affairs
Chairman Mark Takano (D-CA)
*Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-IL)

Ways and Means
Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA)
Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX)

USDA Forecasts Net Farm Income Increase in 2020 Due to Government Payments

The USDA’s Economic Research Service forecast net farm income to increase $36.0 billion (43.1 percent) to $119.6 billion in 2020. If realized, net farm income in 2020 in inflation-adjusted terms would be at its highest level since 2013, 32.0 percent above its 2000-19 average of $90.6 billion. Cash receipts and expenses are forecast lower. The primary reason net farm income increased is due to government payments. Direct Government farm payments are forecast at $46.5 billion in 2020, an increase of $24.0 billion in nominal terms (107.1 percent). The expected increase is because of supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance for COVID-19 relief.

Deadline for CFAP 2 Applications Approaches

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) application deadline is Dec. 11, 2020. Payments as of November 30 totaled more than $11 billion.

RMA Expands Hemp Insurance

The Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced it is expanding the pilot MPCI plan for hemp. The expansion, as well as other improvements to the plan, will begin in the 2021 crop year. The changes include:

  • Expanding the program:
    • New states included: select counties in Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada and Texas
    • New counties (13) in states with existing coverage: Conejos, CO; La Plata, CO; Moffat, CO; Routt, CO; San Miguel, CO; Kenton, KY; Whitley, KY; Houghton, MI; Granite, MT; San Miguel, NM; Valencia, NM; Scott, TN; Alleghany, VA
  • Allowing broker contracts for hemp grain
  • Adjusting program, reporting and billing dates:
    • Sales closing, cancellation, production reporting and termination dates adjusted to match dates of similar crops
    • Acreage Reporting Dates adjusted based on regional final planting dates
    • Premium billing dates for all states changed to August 15
    • For specific information on dates by county, see RMA’s Actuarial Information Browser