Ag News

ASFMRA Ag News - May 24, 2021

By ASFMRA Press posted 05-23-2021 10:46 PM


In This Issue

Drought Forces California’s Farmers to Make Hard Choices

In wetter times, these feathery beds of asparagus would produce generations of tender green spears, reaching for the vast San Joaquin Valley sky.

On Monday they were disked into the dry dirt, their long lives cut short by unreliable and expensive water.

“It’s a really sad day,” said Fresno County’s Joe Del Bosque, who has destroyed 100 acres of organic asparagus so he can divert precious water to more valuable melons. “The water is so uncertain this year. We didn’t think we’d have enough to carry it through.”

With no guarantee of irrigation water this summer, Del Bosque and other California farmers are making tough choices, sacrificing one crop to save another. The strategy is part of a larger and longer agricultural shift here in the heart of California’s $50 billion agriculture industry: Low-value, high-water crops are disappearing from the Golden State.

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Farmland Values Boosted by Lack of Land for Sale, Higher Crop Prices

The 2021 planting season across Iowa arrived in early April, and by the end of the first week in May, was essentially concluded. Many farmers planted their crops in somewhat dry soil conditions, but that has not hindered producer optimism.

To the contrary, the beginning of the growing season this year included just about as much optimism in the countryside as I can recall. $6-plus corn and $15-plus soybeans have a way of doing that! As you might expect, this positive profit outlook is moving the land market higher.

And the strength in the farmland market is buoyed even more by low interest rates and a lack of farms for sale. The few farms that are on the market are creating great competition — and in many cases, setting new sale price highs. Across my two-and-a-half decades in the farmland business, I cannot recall a stronger market. And the attraction toward buying land is coming from farmers and investors alike.

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Cool Conditions Prevail Across Much of U.S.

It's been cool over most of the U.S. growing region, according to reports from American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers members.

The ASFMRA gave its first-ever crop conditions report on May 14 with future reports planned for June, July, August and October. The webinar focused on corn, soybeans and wheat.

Here's a look crop conditions across the United States.

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Colorado Could Hand Out $149 Million in Disputed Conservation Easement Tax Credits

Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that would return up to $149 million to holders of conservation easement tax credits previously disqualified by the state, a revival of a decades-old scandal that appraisers say would be rewarding fraud.

The measure, Senate Bill 33, would restore controversial easement tax credits issued from 2000 to 2013, some of which investigators called spurious and the Colorado Department of Revenue denied after reviews by teams of appraisers.

The conservation easements were originally intended to protect natural spaces while compensating family farmers and other longtime landowners for giving up their rights to develop the property. An appraiser estimated the value of the land and development rights, and the state issued tax credits that allowed the landowner to offset other taxes or get paid cash by investors who bought the credits.

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80,000-Acre Texas Ranch, Home to Historic Battle, Could Sell for $200m

Nearly 80,000 acres of historic ranchland in the Texas Panhandle will hit the market later this year, making it one of the last legacy cattle ranches to go up for sale in the state.

The Turkey Track Ranch, nestled near the town of Borger in West Texas, was founded in the 1870s along about 26 miles of the Canadian River, according to Icon Global Group, the Dallas real estate broker leading the sale.

Home to fertile grassland and diverse wildlife species, the property also sports oil and gas resources, a homestead house and several buildings designed for livestock and ranch operators. Those resources will translate into a high sales price of up to $200 million, The Dallas Morning News reported.

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

USDA Releases Climate-Smart Strategy Report

Last week the Department of Agriculture released a 90-Day Progress Report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry (CSAF). The report was required by the Biden Administration Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and is based on public comments received by USDA. The report is short on details, with no mention of a carbon bank. It delineates 7 elements for a CSAF strategy: 1) Prepare USDA to quantify, track, and report the benefits of
CSAF activities; 2) Develop a CSAF strategy that works for all farmers, ranchers, forest land- owners, and communities; 3) Leverage existing USDA programs to support CSAF strategies; 4) Strengthen education, training, and technical assistance for CSAF practices; 5) Support new and better markets for agriculture and forestry products generated through CSAF practices; 6) Develop a forest and wildfire resilience strategy; and 7) Improve research.

Farm Credit Administration Proposes Changes to Collateral Valuation Requirements

The Farm Credit Administration (FCA) published a proposed rule on May 20 to update its collateral valuation requirements. The requirements have not been updated for over 25 years. The objectives of this proposed rule are to:

  • Improve the organization and readability of FCA appraisal and evaluation regulations.
  • Clarify expectations for internal controls in appraisal and evaluation practices.
  • Expand authorities on using various sources of appraisers and evaluators as well as specifically authorizing use of automated valuation tools; and
  • Update existing terminology and make other grammatical changes.
Comments on the proposed rule are due July 19th.

Permanent Disaster Payments?

During a Member Day Hearing House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-GA) responded to Congressman Ronnie Jackson (R-TX) testimony regarding his bill H.R.1692 to extend WHIP payments to 2020 and 2021 disaster losses by saying: “Just let me tell you, this is an issue we are grappling with on the committee … disaster aid is so critical,” said Chairman Scott. “I’m trying to put together an effort to create a separate immediate disaster aid fund, so it doesn’t have to go the regular appropriations process (which) takes too long.” The Chairman added that “this climate is really causing us to come up to our challenges”. Chairman Scott’s response to Representative Jackson starts at the 1:02:38 mark in the video.

Landowners Role in the Adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices

During a House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing “Exploring Climate Smart Practices” Congresswoman Mary Miller (R-IL) asked a question about the role of absent landowners in the adoption of conservation practices stating that often they don’t support the tenant’s adoption of the practice. Mr. James Johansson, California Farm Bureau President replied to the question noting the long-term nature of some of the conservation practices make it difficult when leases are generally structured for no more than one year. The interaction starts around the 1:09:36 mark in the video.

Senator Stabenow Proposes $50 Billion Increase for USDA Conservation Programs

During an on-line news conference last week Senator Stabenow (D-MI) Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee said she would like to see USDA conservation programs increased by $50 billion in the infrastructure bill currently being negotiated by Congress and the Biden Administration. Ranking Senate Agriculture Committee member John Bozeman (R-AR) was quick to say he did not support opening the farm bill in a reconciliation package which would likely have no Republican input.

RMA Issues Clarification of PP 1-in-4 Rule

The Risk Management Agency issued Manager Bulletin MGR-21-002. The Bulletin clarifies that the annual regrowth for the crop year of an insured perennial Category B crop, such as alfalfa, red clover, or mint, is considered planted when determining if the land is available for planting. Thus, meeting the “1-in-4” requirement to qualify for prevented plant (PP) coverage. In addition, the annual regrowth for the crop year of a perennial planted forage insured under PRF reported with the intended use of haying is considered planted for the purpose of determining if the land is available for planting.


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
Monty Banks with Appraisal Valuation Services Office, DOI in Billings, MT (Montana Chapter)
Dakota Behrends with Hertz Farm Management in Clifton, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Ryan Boggs in Buhler, KS (Kansas Chapter)
Troy Coziahr with Hertz Farm Management in Geneseo, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Steven Hickstein in Casper, WY (Wyoming Chapter)
Joshua Jensen in Twin Falls, ID (Idaho-Utah Chapter)
Leonard Jones with OST/DOI/OAS in Gallup, NM (New Mexico Chapter)
Jacob Kelly with First South Farm Credit in Madison, MS (Mid-South Chapter)
Jacob King with Cape Fear Farm Credit in Lumberton, NC (Carolinas Virginias Chapter)
David Krier with Hertz Farm Management in Norfolk, NE (Nebraska and South Dakota Chapters)
Steven LaFollette with Johnson Appraisal Company, LLC in Nerstrand, MN (Minnesota Chapter)
Jason Langston with Farmers National Company in Parsons, KS (Kansas Chapter)
Mark Nappier in Valmeyer, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Cynthia Payne with Payne Appraisal, LLC in Springtown, TX (Texas Chapter)
Kent Roe in Hayti, SD (South Dakota Chapter)
Timothy Sessions with Cape Fear Farm Credit in Lumberton, NC (Carolinas Virginias Chapter)
Craig Smith with UMB Bank in Hutchinson, KS (Kansas Chapter)
Amelia Teicheira in Escalon, CA (California Chapter)
Haley Wade with Moore & Warner Farm Real Estate in Clinton, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Kayla Windecker with Farm Credit East in Phelps, NY (Northeast Chapter)
Austin Wood with Farm Credit East, Burrville in Watertown, NY (Northeast 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!

Sarah Baskins
Andy Hubert, AFM
Richard Johnson, ARA
Dale Kellermann, AFM
Chad Kies
Brooks Moser
Michael Paxton
Paul Reisch, ARA
Graham Smith
Rebecca Stone, ARA
Brock Thurman, AFM
Keith Watson
Robert Woodrow, AFM

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

In This Issue