Ag News

ASFMRA Ag News - April 26, 2021

By ASFMRA Press posted 04-25-2021 11:26 PM


In This Issue

Facing the Ongoing Challenge of Ag Land Acquisition

While most people who grew up on a farm are thankful for the experience, fewer and fewer people have had the opportunity over time. As Steve Bohr notes, it begs the question: Why would you ever stop farming? "Ultimately," Bohr says, "death is what forces us to transition."

Bohr, a financial adviser and co-owner of Farm Financial Strategies Inc., discussed land transition and maintaining farm legacies at a recent spring seminar held by the Iowa chapters of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, and the Realtors Land Institute.

Bohr notes that with 30.6 million acres in Iowa valued at an average of $7,559 per acre, according to Iowa State University's 2020 land value survey, there's about $231 billion in market capitalization in Iowa — a drop from $266 billion in market capitalization in 2013.

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Iowa Farm Fetches Price of $18,800 per Acre

There was a full crowd in attendance last Thursday evening, April 15, at the KC Hall in Cascade, Iowa. The event was the sale of 200 acres of farmland in nearby Jones County. The attendees got to take in the emotions often generated from a public land auction venue, while also enjoying a cold beer, soft drink or refreshment of choice. Since the sale only took 20 minutes, some even joked about sticking around to play bingo afterward.

In a radio interview, the auctioneer said the sale was the biggest in his 44-year career. He dropped the final hammer at $18,800 per acre after fast and active bidding which began at $8,500 per acre. A local lender was there representing a farm client who was prepared to bid to $12,000 per acre, but they hardly had a chance to take a sip of coffee before the bidding blew past their limits.

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How to Approach Carbon Market Opportunities

There has been a lot of buzz concerning the carbon credit market. In this article we’ll discuss the importance of carbon and carbon markets, what they can offer producers in the Upper Midwest and what questions you should consider when investigating carbon credits.

If a company wants to lower its carbon footprint, they contract with a broker to find carbon credits that can be bought and sold on the open market. The broker lines up and verifies on the ground that each carbon credit is legitimate. One carbon credit is equal to 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide and is currently worth $14 to $18 per credit.

Carbon can be built on farmland by reducing tillage aggressiveness, switching to no-till, or adding a cover crop. Almost all markets are looking for farmland implementing a new practice, as these acres are easier to verify, so you may not qualify if you have implemented these practices long ago. However, some companies will consider practices recently adopted (~2 years). This means most C markets are a better fit for farmers looking to experiment with something new, rather than those who have a long history of carbon-building conservation practices.

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North Carolina to Help Farmer Costs for Quarantined Farmworkers

North Carolina has set aside money to reimburse farmers who bore the financial toll of quarantining their workers during the COVID-19 outbreak last year, a state agency said.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the state has made $2 million available for farmers who employ immigrant farmworkers with H-2A work visas that allow them to work temporarily in the U.S., The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Thursday.

Funding for the department’s COVID-19 Farmworker Quarantine Reimbursement program comes from federal CARES Act money approved by the state legislature. The application period opened April 14 and will continue through Dec. 15, or until program funds are exhausted, the department said.

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Michael Morris Inducted Into ISPFMRA Hall of Fame

Michael Morris, ARA and Vice President of Appraisal at Compeer Financial, was inducted into the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers Hall of Fame during the organization’s annual meeting.

During the presentation, Rob Woodrow, ISPFMRA immediate past president, noted Morris’ career beginning as a trainee with Farm Credit Services 30 years ago. He cited Morris’ climb through that organization from a district review appraiser, a senior appraiser and finally the chief appraiser spot as the company went through a number of name changes including AgriBank, 1st Farm Credit Services and now Compeer Financial.

Morris also served as president of the Illinois Coalition of Appraisal Professionals for nearly 10 years.

“I had really good friends on there that were pure urban people, but we did speak kind of the same language of appraisal. I really think they came to understand that we do something completely different than they do.”

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Quail Forever Takes Over a 5,600-Acre Easement in on Former Mining Land in Southern Illinois

As we passed another cemetery, Les Sittig said, “In the coal business, if you come up on a cemetery, you have to go around it.”

I learned much about coal mining and restoration last week while Sittig gave a tour of a 5,600-acre conservation easement in southern Illinois just acquired by Quail Forever, a division of Pheasants Forever, from the Land Conservation Trust of Southern Illinois.

Wildlife in the easement, which is primarily in Saline County with parcels in Williamson County, is dominated by deer, turkey, squirrel and bobcat. Sittig told of seeing his first bobcat in the area years earlier, then seeing the kittens.

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

USDA Reopens CRP Enrollment, Increases Payment Rates, and Incentives

Last week USDA announced it will open enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with higher payment rates, new incentives, and a more targeted focus on the program’s role in climate change mitigation. USDA’s goal is to enroll up to 4 million new acres in CRP by raising rental payment rates and expanding the number of incentivized environmental practices allowed under the program.

In 2021, CRP is capped at 25 million acres, and currently 20.8 million acres are enrolled. Furthermore, the cap will gradually increase to 27 million acres by 2023. To help increase producer interest and enrollment, the Farm Service Agency is:

  • Adjusting soil rental rates. This enables additional flexibility for rate adjustments, including a possible increase in rates where appropriate.
  • Increasing payments for Practice Incentives from 20% to 50%. This incentive for continuous CRP practices is based on the cost of establishment and is in addition to cost share payments.
  • Increasing payments for water quality practices. Rates are increasing from 10% to 20% for certain water quality benefiting practices available through the CRP continuous signup, such as grassed waterways, riparian buffers, and filter strips.
  • Establishing a CRP Grassland minimum rental rate. This benefits more than 1,300 counties with rates currently below the minimum.

Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Growing Climate Solutions Act

The Senate Agriculture Committee passed the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act by voice vote last Thursday. Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Braun (R-IN) were the original cosponsors of the bill but after working with Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Boozman (R-AR) the bill garnered over 40 cosponsors. It is not clear if the bill will move as a separate bill in the Senate or be combined with other legislation. The same bill was introduced in the House by Representatives Spanberger, (D-VA) and Bacon (R-NE).

Bronaugh Nomination Moves Forward

The Senate Agriculture Committee held its nomination hearing for Jewel Bronaugh, President Biden’s nominee for USDA Deputy Secretary, last week. Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow has said the Senate Agriculture Committee will vote on her nomination soon. She would then require the full Senate’s vote prior to taking over her new duties. As an aside, there is no word on when an RMA Administrator will be named. Recall the RMA Administrator does not require Senate confirmation.

Robert Bonnie Nominated to Serve as FPAC Under Secretary

Robert Bonnie was nominated by President Biden to serve as the Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC). The FPAC mission area includes the Farm Service Agency, the Risk Management Agency and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Robert is currently working as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for Climate at USDA. He also led the USDA transition team for President-elect Biden. Previously, he served as the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment (NRCS and the Forest Service) at USDA during the Obama Administration. Mr. Bonnie’s nomination highlights the emphasis the Biden Administration plans on climate change solutions.


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
Bill Boortz with Mountain Valley and Plains, Inc. in Denver, CO (Colorado Chapter)
Amanda Clausen with Farmers National Company in Fremont, NE (Nebraska Chapter)
Jeffrey Cuddeback with Southeast Iowa Real Estate Services in Washington, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Amy Edwards with Edwards Hahn Valuation & Advisory, Inc. in San Diego, CA (California Chapter)
Justin Gruden with Greenstone Farm Credit Services in Milan, MI (Michigan Chapter)
Cody Halterman with Department of Interior/AVSO in Palmer, AK (Oklahoma Chapter)
Eldred Lesansee with USDOI-Appraisal & Valuation Services Office in Albuquerque, NM (New Mexico Chapter)
Philip McAuley with Carolina Farm Credit, ACA in Salisbury, NC (Carolinas Virginias Chapter)
Thomas McClenahen with Farmers National Company in Grand Forks, ND (North Dakota Chapter)
David Mielnicki with Peoples Company in Clarkston, MI (Michigan Chapter)
Levi Mitchum in Yakima, WA (Washington Chapter)
Eric Moskau with Axia Valuation in Independence, LA (Mid-South Chapter)
Michael Paxton with Dept. of Interior (OST) in Anadarko, OK (Oklahoma Chapter)
Matthew Reynolds with US Department of the Interior-AVSO in Northampton, MA (Washington Chapter)
Kyle Ribail in Yakima, WA (Washington Chapter)
Greg Rinehart in Lafayette, CA (California Chapter)
Michael Vazquez with Bexar Appraisal District in San Antonio, TX (Texas Chapter)
Brenda Williams with Farm Credit Services of America in Casper, WY (Wyoming Chapter)
Kevin Wright with Oak River Farms in Live Oak, FL (Florida Chapter)


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!

R. Mark Finley, Jr., ARA, RPRA
Grant Fitzgerald, AFM
Stephen Gleason, ARA
Chris Goss, ARA
Andrew Gudajtes, ARA
Kevin McCarty
Paul Moore, ARA, RPRA
Geoff Oliver, ARA
Mark Welty, AFM
Mark Williams, ARA
Troy Wolzen
Jake Wyles, AFM

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

In This Issue