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ASFMRA Ag News - July 6, 2021

By ASFMRA Press posted 07-05-2021 11:44 PM


In This Issue

Group with Ties to Mormon Church Outbids Bill Gates’ Group for Easterday Land

An investment company with ties to the Mormon church has the high bid for land that belonged to the now bankrupt Easterday Farms and Easterday Ranches.

A company called Farmland Reserve submitted a bid of $209 million dollars for more than 33,000 acres of land in Benton County, Washington. The second highest bid came from a group linked to Microsoft founder Bill Gates. A judge has to make a determination before the sale can be finalized.

Earlier this year 49-year-old Cody Easterday pleaded guilty in a so-called ghost cattle scheme. He was accused of charging Tyson Foods for the costs of buying and feeding as many as 200,000 cattle that simply did not exist.

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Farm Labor Shortage Nothing New, Getting Worse, Farmers Say

At Vale Wood Farms in Cambria County, a group of high school kids is learning the right way to move a cow.

The newest hires are getting up to speed — a process that could be more time consuming than usual this year, said Carissa Itle Westrick, the farm’s director of business development. After weeks of struggling to fill positions for full-time work with benefits, the farm decided to rely more heavily on part-timers.

“Our sort of Plan B here is to hire a handful of high school kids looking for summer work,” said Ms. Westrick. “It’s not like the cows are going to cross their legs because we don’t have the right person here.”

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Country Music Icons Tim McGraw, Faith Hill Sell Tennessee Farm for $15M

Country music stars Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have reportedly sold their 620-acre-plus Tennessee farm to a new investor group for $15 million.

BKDM Partners, the Columbia, Tenn., investment group that purchased the property, is comprised of Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder, Pinnacle Asset Management founding partner and managing director Brock Kidd and real estate broker Dan McEwen.

The Franklin farm – which is comprised of land and homes across Carters Creek Pike, Bear Creek Road and Carl Road – also includes the historic "Beechwood Hall," which was constructed in 1856 and later owned by another country music great, Hank Williams Sr.

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New Bill Would Crack Down on Conservation Easement Tax Abuses

Congress reintroduced legislation to prevent abuses of the charitable conservation easement tax break that’s supposed to protect public lands, but is often used as a tax shelter.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-California , who chairs the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures introduced the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act on Thursday, with Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pennsylvania, and a companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. The bill would curb abuse of the charitable conservation easement tax deduction, which is supposed to promote federal efforts to preserve and protect public lands, but has been used by investors as a way to shield their income from taxes.

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Crop Conditions for Corn and Soybean Regions Range From Saturated to Scorching

It’s no secret, drought and bad growing conditions are a concern for many. A report this week from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers confirmed what they are seeing.

ASFMRA President Dennis Reyman, an Accredited Farm Manager and Accredited Rural Appraiser from Western Iowa, said reports from various U.S. crop growing regions show vast contrast from the Mid-South Delta area where flooding and saturation prevail, to Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas, where heat and lack of moisture will take its toll without precipitation very soon.

“Weather concerns and production uncertainties are commonplace for early summer. This year is bringing us more concerns than usual across large swaths of the country,” said Reyman, a senior partner at Stalcup Ag in Storm Lake, Iowa.

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

ASFMRA Joins Coalition Supporting Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act

The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers joined a broad coalition composed of appraisal trade associations and conservation organizations urging swift passage of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act (HR 4164 and S 2256). We previously supported similar legislation introduced in the previous Congress. The legislation would limit the use of syndicated easement transactions that the IRS has identified as abusive.

House Appropriations Committee Passes Agriculture Spending Bill

Last week the House Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2022 Agriculture appropriations bill with two amendments: one related to poultry line speeds and the other concerning Chinese ownership of U.S. farmland. The full committee did not make any other changes to the bill as passed by the House appropriations subcommittee the previous week. Nothing nefarious is included in the bill about crop insurance, conservation or farm programs. Recall the FY2022 President’s Budget request included no proposals to cut crop insurance or farm programs, something that hasn’t occurred for well over 15 years.

The next step is floor consideration for the bill in the House, which has not been scheduled. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not acted on the agriculture spending bill to date.

Farm Bureau Details Emergency Haying and Grazing of CRP

The American Farm Bureau Federation recently posted an in-depth look at USDA’s emergency haying and grazing designations. With the on-going drought in the West, over 1,000 counties in the U.S. are authorized to allow emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres.

When emergency haying and grazing is authorized, producers can use their CRP acreage for their own livestock or may grant another livestock producer use of their CRP acreage. For emergency haying, producers are limited to one cutting and are permitted to sell the hay. Participants must remove all hay from CRP acreage within 15 days after baling and remove all livestock from CRP acreage no later than one day after the emergency grazing period ends.

Farm Safety Net Review – Strong Support for Crop Insurance

The House Subcommittee for General Farm Commodities and Risk Management held a hearing to review the “Efficacy of the Farm Safety Net”. As anticipated, crop insurance featured prominently during the hearing. All five witnesses strongly supported the continuation of crop insurance and the three producer witnesses (Jeff Kirwan IL, Brian Talley CA, and Wes Shannon, GA) said crop insurance is key to their farm operations.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-GA) did not attend the hearing. But because he has previously raised the issue of a standing disaster program, other members asked what the witnesses thought about creating a standing disaster program. Most supported the idea if it didn’t come at the expense of the current safety net. Ranking member GT Thompson (R-PA) did attend the hearing and said he would be willing to work with Chairman Scott on standing disaster assistance if it met three criteria: 1) it must complement and not compete with crop insurance, 2) it must be easy to implement and 3) it must respond to disaster events quickly. Mr. Tate noted on several occasions that WHIP+ could have been easily or more quickly delivered by private insurance providers and agents.

You can read the written testimony of the witnesses here. The video replay of the hearing is linked above.

Senate Advances Growing Climate Solution Act

The Senate passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act by a vote of 92 to 8. The bill originally introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mike Braun (R-IN) had more than 50 bipartisan Senators as cosponsors. Under the bill, the USDA would certify third-party agents who verify work by farmers, ranchers, and foresters to capture carbon and help them get paid for the reductions in carbon emissions. The USDA also would set up a clearinghouse of climate-friendly practices as an aid to producers interested in a carbon contract.

Senator Stabenow expressed confidence the House will take up the bill although that has not yet occurred.

Welcome New Members

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
Paul Anderson with Peoples Company in Indianola, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Michael Andrews with Nickey Warehouse in Stanton, TN (Mid-South Chapter)
Mitchell Behling in Chico, CA (California Chapter)
Marjorie Bellringer with U.S. Dept of Interior (AVSO/ITPVD-Alaska Region) in Anchorage, AK (Washington Chapter)
David Carciere with Cru Land Company in Graton, CA (California Chapter)
Jason Edwards with Edwards, Lien, & Toso, Inc. in Hilmar, CA (California Chapter)
Brayan Gomez in Tulare, CA (California Chapter)
Marcus Haney with Haney & Associates Real Estate in Oakdale, CA (California Chapter)
Jared Hodgson with Farmers National Company in Juniata, NE (Nebraska Chapter)
Mandy Hoistad with Northern Plains Appraisal in Brookings, SD (Iowa and South Dakota Chapters)
Angela Kennedy with Cronin-Kennedy Appraisals in Pauls Valley, OK (Oklahoma and Texas Chapters)
Tanner Knowlton with High Point Land Company in Charles City, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Michael Kraft in Sherman, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Luke LaRock in Hills, MN (Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota Chapters)
Daniel Mendrin with The Mendrin Group in Fresno, CA (California Chapter)
Jenica Parson with American Ag Credit in Ceres, CA (California Chapter)
Lacey Peterson with Southern Utah Appraisal Services in Richfield, UT (Idaho-Utah Chapter)
Walt Power with Southern Ag Credit, ACA in Ridgeland, MS (Mid-South Chapter)
Joshua Price with Louisiana Land Bank in Olla, LA (Mid-South Chapter)
Heath Shull in Sugar Grove, OH (Ohio Chapter)
Dana Snook with The First National Bank of Ottawa in Ottawa, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Jason Vencel with Farm Credit Mid-America in Bloomington, IN (Indiana Chapter)
Logan Woodward with Agri Affiliates in Gering, NE (Nebraska Chapter)

Also, a special congratulations is due to Rebecca J. Rutan from Nampa, Idaho, for recently acquiring her Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA) designation!

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! 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!

George Baird, AFM
Allan Barros, ARA
Loren Cronin
Randal Edwards, ARA
Tony Eggleston, ARA
Blake Florell, AFM
Brian Gatzke, ARA
Barbara Hegerfeld
William Hodges, ARA
Kent Kraft, AFM
Robert Lowe, ARA
Robert McNamara
Troy Peters
Rhett Peterson
Suzie Roget
Melissa Sandlin, ARA
Kyle Walker, AFM, AAC

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

In This Issue