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ASFMRA Ag News - July 19, 2022

By ASFMRA Press posted 07-18-2022 11:04 PM


Farmland Hits New Records

According to final results from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report, overall farm prices in the Nebraska rose 16% this year to $3,360 an acre, an all-time record. Values were strongest in the northeast part of the state, up 21%, while the northern region had the smallest increase of 11%.

The UNL report is actually pretty conservative in its estimate of the increase in land prices in the state, however.

A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City estimated Nebraska's fourth-quarter land prices were up 31% for non-irrigated cropland, 21% for irrigated land and 23% for ranchland compared with a year ago.

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Conservation Easement Abuse - Not Just The Syndicators

In Green, or Greed? A Fresh Perspective on the Valuation of Conservation Easements, by Alan Feld, Theodore Sims and Jacob Nielsen give us a fresh perspective on one of the IRS Dirty Dozen, which would be Abusive Syndicated Conservation Easements. The authors react to the fact that current legislation proposed to address abuse is limited to syndicated deals. They also note that a proposed limit of 2.5 times cost basis for property held less than three years is overly generous and are concerned that it could be viewed as blessing valuations that are just below that limit.

The authors propose an across the board limitation of 100% of basis for the first three years after the property is acquired. From there on in the limitation would increase based on an index of housing prices. The limitation would apply to all easement donations not just syndicated ones. They couple this with a 5% excise tax on the difference between any excess of the contribution over basis. The excise would be on the claimed contribution regardless of whatever was ultimately allowed.

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As Aging Farmers Retire, Lawmakers Explore How to Boost Beginning Producers

More than half of American farmers will reach retirement age in the next 10 years, but the steep price of entry to start a farm, along with rising input costs and volatile markets, make it tough for young and beginning farmers to take their places.

“Farming is inherently a risky business, but in the environment we are in right now, that risk is elevated,” Nathan Kauffman, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in Omaha, Nebraska, testified at a U.S. House Agriculture Committee hearing Thursday.

The current financial outlook for farmers is particularly challenging.

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Kansas Town Taps Ranch Water 70 Miles Away, Ignites Legal Fight

There’s a practice in the High Plains when drought sets in and shallow wells run dry. It’s called “water mining,” and it involves tapping deep aquifers to keep kitchen faucets and farm irrigators running. Now two small west-central Kansas cities — Hays and Russell — are seeking a new way to go the extra mile for freshwater.

Rather than “mine” aquifers, the cities want to embark on something more akin to “water grazing,” where non-local entities buy large tracts of farmland, halt crop and livestock production, and put the land to new work collecting and storing water.

The practice, also called “buy-and-dry,” is not unique to Kansas. But the play by Hays and Russell has created a tempest in a state where many farmers already face gripping drought and where water rights are viewed as a precious commodity — even if users pay nothing for the actual water associated with those rights.

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Farmers Applaud Ruling Against Additional Nitrogen Fertilizer Tariffs

An increase in nitrogen fertilizer tariffs has been rejected by the International Trade Commission. That’s good news according to National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington. He says, “A year ago when things really took off, we had a fair amount of supply already booked and coming into the country. That is not the case this year as we, you know, move into a different situation, so this is really good news. it should help with supply. It should help with pricing.”

Edgington tells Brownfield the Monday ruling against CF Industries’ request to place tariffs on urea ammonium nitrate from Russia, Trinidad, and Tobago was a surprise win for farmers after losing an initial argument involving Mosaic’s request for tariffs on phosphorus. “We still feel good about what can happen with phospherous. That case is still out there. It had a hearing back in June in front of a different judge.”

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

House Agriculture Committee Wants to Hear Farm Bill Ideas from You

In a joint press release, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott and Ranking Member Glenn "GT" Thompson announced the opportunity for members of the public to submit their feedback and ideas for the 2023 Farm Bill through an online form available here. Please take a moment and submit comments about the importance of the farm bill in your area.

USDA Accepts More than 3.1 million Acres in CRP Grassland Signup

USDA is accepting offers for more than 3.1 million acres from agricultural producers and private landowners through this year’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grassland Signup, the highest in history. This program allows producers and landowners to continue grazing and haying practices while protecting grasslands and promoting plant and animal biodiversity and conservation.

USDA Announces Double Crop Insurance Changes

Last week the Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced more information about expanding double crop insurance opportunities in over 1,500 counties where double cropping is viable for soybeans and sorghum. For soybeans, double crop coverage will be expanded to or streamlined in at least 681 counties, including all of those that were initially targeted for review. While some additional counties were permanently added to be double crop counties, most of the expansion removed barriers such as requiring production records and streamlined the process to get personalized coverage through a written agreement.

For grain sorghum, double crop coverage will be expanded to or streamlined in at least 870 counties that were initially targeted for review. Like soybeans, most of these changes included streamlining the administrative burden and requirements to obtain written agreements. Written agreements provide the producer with the maximum flexibility by allowing them to obtain crop insurance coverage, but not requiring the coverage of both the spring and winter crops as in permanent double crop counties.

Deferral of Interest, Emergency Drought Relief

RMA issued Managers Bulletin MGR-22-005 last week. The bulletin allows approved insurance providers (AIP) to provide additional time for policyholders to make payment of premium and administrative fees. Interest accrual on premium payments and administrative fees will be waived to the earliest of an additional 60 days of the scheduled payment due date or the termination date on policies with premium billing dates between August 1, 2022, and September 30, 2022. AIPs will begin to accrue interest after this additional period for unpaid premium and administrative fees. AIPs should promptly notify potentially affected policyholders of said relief.

House Agriculture Committee to Review Crop Insurance this Week

The General Farm Commodities and Risk Management subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing titled: Stakeholder Perspectives on Title XI Crop Insurance Wednesday July 20 at 10 am eastern. The House remains closed to the public, however, the hybrid hearing will be available on-line and it is recorded so you can watch it when it is convenient to your schedule.

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
Benjamin Adams in Murfreesboro, TN (Mid-South, CO, MT, Carolinas Virginias Chapters)
Turner Christensen with Agriglobe, LLC in Fresno, CA (California Chapter)
Matt Davis with Cushman & Wakefield in San Diego, CA (California Chapter)
Jared Evans in Kennewick, WA (Washington Chapter)
Holly Evers in San Luis Obispo, CA (California Chapter)
Whitney Ford with First South Farm Credit in Enterprise, AL (Alabama Chapter)
Benjamin Godbey with American AgCredit in Montrose, CO (Colorado Chapter)
Katelyn Haerther in Atkins, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Joe Halderman with Halderman Real Estate & Farm Management Svcs in Wabash, IN (Indiana Chapter)
Mark Karpf in Gering, NE (Nebraska Chapter)
Steven Killpack in Logan, IA (IA, IL, IN, MN, MO, NE, and SD Chapters)
Brent McDonald with Farmers National Company in Lubbock, TX (Texas Chapter)
Martin Peterson with Steffes Group, Inc. in West Fargo, ND (North Dakota Chapter)
Melissa Roe with Northeast Area Appraisals in Hayti, SD (South Dakota Chapter)
Ron Sabatka with Corteva Agriscience in Wahoo, NE (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, and SD Chapters)
P. Steven Slonaker with Slonaker Farm Management in Centerville, IN (Indiana Chapter)
Nicole Speizio-De Paz with Rooster Ag’ Gold Standard Farmland Appraisals in Esmond, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Ryan Vance with Farmers National Company in Buckley, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Tate Wickstrum in Cheney, KS (Kansas Chapter)
Michael Yegge in Lake Mius, IA (Iowa Chapter)

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!

Maggie Andrews
Cody Barilla
Carl Evers, III, AFM
Brent Garlick
Brian Gatzke, ARA
Howard Halderman, AFM
R. Mike Lansford, AFM
Peter Lapaseotes
Josh Mendrin
Paul Reisch, ARA
Kent Roe
Suzie Roget
Nicole Rustad
Lonnie Smith
Max Steffes
Deb Stanbro
Nick Westgerdes, AFM

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

In Memory: Erling J. Olson, ARA-Retired, of Alexandria, Minnesota

The ASFMRA was honored and pleased to welcome Erling into the membership in 1994. He joined as an Associate member. Erling obtained his Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA) designation in 2003 and at that time, advanced to the Accredited membership classification. He maintained his Accredited membership until 2020 when he transferred to the Retired membership classification. Erling made many friends through his association with the ASFMRA and he will be missed greatly. His family is in our prayers and thoughts. You can view more on Erling’s life by clicking here.