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ASFMRA Ag News - December 6, 2022

By ASFMRA Press posted 12-06-2022 09:09 AM


Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” Movie Ranch Lists For $19.2 Million

The 1992 film Unforgiven, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, was one of the most critically acclaimed Westerns of the 1990s. The recipient of four Academy Awards (best picture, best director, best supporting actor and best editing), the film was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. It was also a major commercial success, grossing $159 million on a budget of $14.4 million.

Eastwood, one of his generation’s most famous cowboy actors, made the film to reflect and comment on the Western genre and his own previous work within it. He dedicated the movie to his mentors, Sergio Leone (director of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) and Don Siegel (director of Dirty Harry) and has long stated it would be his final Western.

The set of Unforgiven’s main town, Big Whiskey, has been fully preserved on a sprawling Alberta, Canada estate known as The Ranch at Fisher Creek, which also hosted Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and other stars during the filming of the movie. Now listed for sale at $19.2 million, the ranch spans 480 acres and includes a spacious main lodge, several guest cabins, an indoor equestrian arena and a lake with a boathouse, in addition to the movie set.

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Farm Income Jumps 14% To Record High

High commodity prices, due in part to warfare in Ukraine, will propel U.S. net farm income to a record $160.5 billion this year, despite a steep climb in expenses, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. Farm income, a gauge of profitability, would be 14% higher than last year and twice as high as three years ago during the Sino-U.S. trade war.

With good times in the farm sector, the value of farm assets would climb 10% this year, following a 10% increase in 2021 — the No. 2 year for farm income — said the USDA in its Farm Income forecast, issued three times a year. Farm debt would climb more slowly, and the debt-to-asset ratio, a measure of financial health, would drop to 13.05%, its first decline since 2011.

Crops and livestock will generate $541.5 billion in cash receipts, up 24%, or nearly $106 billion, from last year. Almost all of the increase, $96.8 billion, would be the result of higher prices, calculated USDA economists. Corn, wheat, and soybean would fetch an additional $37 billion this year compared to last. Higher broiler chicken prices would boost receipts by 55%. Revenue from cattle, hogs, turkeys, and milk also would climb. “Cash receipts for chicken eggs are expected to more than double,” said the USDA.

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Drought Conditions Continue to Pose Shipping Challenges on Mississippi River, Officials Hopeful for Winter Relief

A record-breaking drought throughout the Mississippi River basin is finally beginning to ease, federal officials said last month.

Low water levels impacted barge traffic and grain exports this fall by slowing shipments from the Midwest to the Port of New Orleans. Saltwater began to move north from the Gulf of Mexico, threatening drinking supplies south of that city.

Now, water levels are beginning to rise in the Lower Mississippi River, which extends downstream from Cairo, Ill., to the Gulf of Mexico in southeastern Louisiana.

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Clark County, Ohio, Rejects Ban on Large Wind, Solar Farms; Property Rights Cited

Property owners in unincorporated areas of Clark County, Ohio, can lease or sell their land for potential large wind and solar facilities if they wish following the failure of a proposal for the blanket prohibition of those facilities in the county.

At a public hearing Wednesday, the Clark County Commission unanimously rejected the proposal to restrict the creation of all large solar and wind farms in unincorporated parts of the county. One commissioner cited the rights of property owners to pursue the legal use of their property.

The decision was made after the 2021 passage of Ohio Senate Bill 52, which allows a board of county commissioners to prohibit the construction of utility-scale wind or solar facilities altogether or in certain designated zones in unincorporated areas.

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What Could Be Next for Syndicated Conservation Easements?

For several decades, the IRS has been concerned about unqualified appraisers, overvalued properties, sales of deductions, and more. To combat these concerns, the IRS issued Notice 2017-10, in which it designated syndicated conservation easement as listed transactions when promoters are involved in the syndication, meaning taxpayers must disclose them as a potential tax avoidance transaction.

Additionally, the IRS began including syndicated conservation easements on its annual “dirty dozen” list in 2019. A news release that same year announced that the agency would “significantly increase ... enforcement actions” with regards to such easements.

A November 9, 2022, Tax Court ruling held that Notice 2017-10 was a rule and not a legislative interpretation, and thus violated the Administrative Procedures Act. Combined with pending legislation that would limit the charitable deduction for conservation easements in certain cases, this has left many wondering what’s next.

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

EPA Releases RFS for 2023-2025

On December 1, 2022, EPA announced a proposed rule to establish required Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes and percentage standards for 2023, 2024, and 2025, as well as to propose a series of modifications to strengthen and expand the RFS program. You can find a summary here.

EPA will hold a virtual public hearing on January 10, 2023, for the proposed rule. An additional session will be held on January 11, 2023, if necessary, to accommodate the number of testifiers that sign-up to testify. This hearing will be held virtually.

To attend the virtual public hearing, all attendees (including those who will not be presenting verbal testimony) must register by sending an email to A separate registration form must be submitted for each person attending the hearing. Register no later than January 3, 2023.

USDA Forecasts Increased 2022 Net Farm Income

The Economic Research Service (ERS) released a revised 2022 net farm income forecast last week. Despite lower government payments and higher input costs, increases for crop and livestock receipts result in near record net farm income and net farm cash income for producers in 2022.

In inflation-adjusted dollars, 2022 net farm income is forecast to increase by $10.7 billion (7.2 percent); net cash farm income is forecast to increase by $30.1 billion (19.1 percent) compared with the previous year. If realized, net farm income would be at its highest level since 1973 and net cash farm income at its highest level on record (in inflation-adjusted dollars). Corn, soybeans, and wheat receipts account for the bulk of the increase in crop cash receipts for 2022.

Producers Seek 2022 Ad Hoc Crop Disaster Payments

Congress has the next two weeks to fund FY 2023 appropriations. Many expect whatever action Congress takes, an omnibus funding bill or an extension of the current Continuing Resolution, to include funding for ad hoc disaster payments. Organic dairy buyers, processors and producers sent a letter seeking assistance as did more traditional farm groups who are urging Congress to use the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase 1 approach to provide payments.

Congressional Budget Office Insurance Report

The Congressional Budget Office issue a report analyzing how public-private risk sharing impact the Federal budget. The report reviews terrorism, crop, and flood insurance. The report concludes that in the case of crop insurance, the federal cost is greater because the risk sharing arrangement allows private companies to adversely select against the government. The report contains some basic misunderstandings about crop insurance including the following statement found on page 12 of the report:

The federal government sets premiums with the goal of matching total premiums with the expected nationwide losses associated with crop insurance policies. The FCIC does not adjust premiums to reflect differences in risks among producers or across geographic regions, as a private insurer would.

Clearly, the authors don’t understand how premiums are set by the Risk Management Agency. The report contains no policy recommendations, but as we head into the next farm bill, you can expect crop insurance detractors to pick up and use the report for their purposes.