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ASFMRA Ag News - November 8, 2022

By ASFMRA Press posted 22 days ago


Interest Rate Hikes Not Impacting Illinois Farmland Values, Yet

An ag appraiser says multiple interest rate hikes have had little impact on farmland values in Illinois so far.

Kent Reid, Chief Appraiser for Farm Credit Illinois tells Brownfield since the Fed began raising rates in May, farmland values in their 60-county territory have remained stable.

“We still are not seeing any major effect on farmland. The land values have held steady throughout that.”

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Cow-Harming ‘Forever Chemicals’ Strain USDA’s Relief Resources

Dairy farmer Art Schaap had to watch his cows slowly die for over three years before the federal government paid him for the animals — contaminated with toxic “forever chemicals” from a nearby military base.

It was hell for the Clovis, N.M., farmer, who’s been in the business for more than three decades. He now has an empty operation, Highland Dairy, and is still behind with his vendors. In the end, he received about three-fifths of what his cows would be worth now, due to outdated valuations.

And he’s one of the lucky ones.

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At $27,400 an acre, Richardson County farm sale could be a Nebraska record

Nine bidders were initially interested in the Falls City-area farmland. They opened at $1,000 per acre, and took turns driving the price higher.

Past its assessed value of $4,185 per acre. Past the UNL 2022 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report’s average of $6,070 per acre for all farmland in the southeast region.

And even with a week left in the month-long online auction, past the report’s average of nearly $10,000 per acre for center pivot-irrigated land — and these 117 acres weren’t even irrigated.

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U.S. Farm Production to Increase in 2023 as Economy Cools

The U.S. economy will slow in the new year, constrained by sharply higher interest rates, at the same time that farmers and ranchers expand production, projected the Agriculture Department on Monday. Prices for most commodities — including corn, soybeans, wheat and hogs — would decline somewhat from this year’s elevated levels but remain comparatively high.

With normal weather and trend-line yields, the corn and soybean crops would be the largest ever, following late-summer dryness in the Midwest and drought in the Plains that cut into yields this year. Per capita meat consumption, now 0.62 pounds per day, would rise annually for the next decade, reaching 0.65 pounds in 2032, according to USDA’s long-term baseline. High retail prices for meat have not dented the American appetite.

Lower commodity prices could weigh on farm revenue despite the larger production; the USDA will make its first forecast of 2023 farm income in February. It has forecast net farm income at a record $147.7 billion this year, following $140.4 billion in 2021.

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U.S. Provides Grants, Loans to Expand Meat Processing Capacity

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will direct $73 million in grants to small- and medium-sized meat and poultry processors to expand their capacity and deliver more funds through lending programs, Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday.

The money aims to increase competition and stability in the meat industry - which is dominated by a few players - as part of a broader effort by the Biden administration to boost competition in the U.S. economy and rein in soaring inflation.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed cracks in the industry as outbreaks temporarily shut massive slaughterhouses early in 2020, pushing up meat prices. Some farmers had to cull livestock that could not be processed due to the closures.

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

FHFA Publishes New Uniform Appraisal Dataset

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published a new Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) Aggregate Statistics Data File as well as UAD Aggregate Statistics Dashboards to provide user-friendly visualizations of the newly available data. The UAD Aggregate Statistics Data File and UAD Aggregate Statistics Dashboards give stakeholders and the public new access to a broad set of data points and trends found in residential appraisal reports. Additionally, the appraisal statistics may be grouped by neighborhood characteristics and geographic levels (national, state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) or Metropolitan Divisions, county, and tract). Of note, the UAD Aggregate Statistics Data File is intended for users capable of using statistical software to extract and analyze data. In contrast, the UAD Aggregate Statistics Dashboards are for users of all types and are designed to provide user-friendly access through customized maps and charts.

FHFA’s Division of Research and Statistics used 47.3 million UAD appraisal records collected from 2013 through the second quarter of 2022 on single-family properties to create a data file of UAD aggregate statistics in a manner that protects borrower privacy. Each UAD appraisal record includes information reported by appraisers on the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (URAR). The current version of the URAR for single-family homes is Fannie Mae Form 1004 and Freddie Mac Form 70.

UAD Aggregate Statistics Dashboards
UAD Aggregate Statistics Data File
UAD Aggregate Statistics Blog

More Farmers Using Cover Crops

Cover crops are more popular than previously known, according to a NASS survey. Almost 60% of survey respondents indicated they are using cover crops on 40% of their cropland in 2021. The 2017 Census of Agriculture showed 15.4 million acres of cover crops, so the more recent survey suggests a significant growth in usage. The survey also indicates there is significant room for growth. Cover crops were the 6th most popular conservation practice reflected by the survey.

Possible Congressional Oversight Previews

Last week Congressional Republicans sent USDA Secretary Vilsack two letters seeking answers to how USDA is spending remaining amounts of COVID pandemic relief funding as well as the USDA Climate Smart Commodities Partnership program. With elections this week and Republicans widely expected to assume the majority in the House and possibly the Senate, the letters give a preview of what Republicans are likely to focus on at USDA with Agriculture or Appropriation Committee oversight hearings.

Senator Boozman, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is seeking answers about how USDA is spending remaining amounts of COVID pandemic relief funding. While 10 House Republicans are questioning the authority and use of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to fund the $3.1 billion Climate Smart Commodities Partnership program.