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ASFMRA Ag News - December 20, 2022

By ASFMRA Press posted 12-19-2022 10:57 PM


5 Characteristics of Record-High Land Sales

It seems like you can’t turn around these days without seeing another headline touting record-setting prices for farmland. At least that’s what comes up in my newsfeeds, the most recent one being for $30,000 an acre in Sioux County, Iowa, which lies in northwest Iowa. Just what do they put in their water in Iowa?

This sale beat out other recent sales of $26,250 per acre in adjacent Plymouth County, also in Iowa, and a sale of $27,400 per acre in Richardson County, Neb., located in the southeast portion of the state.

How do recent Illinois farmland sales compare?

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CO2 Pipeline Company Plays Hardball as Iowa Counties Fight Back

In Iowa, deep-pocketed corporations are hoping to build carbon dioxide pipelines across hundreds of miles of farmland. But county governments are putting the brakes on development by passing ordinances to protect people in the pipelines’ path. In response, Summit Carbon Solutions, the company farthest along in the state’s permitting process, is punching back, filing federal lawsuits to overturn the ordinances and forcing counties to spend scarce taxpayer dollars to defend themselves.

“This is a tactic of their playbook, and it’s a very effective one,” said Jane Kleeb, founder of the nonprofit Bold Nebraska, which helps landowners organize to fight pipelines. “During the Keystone XL pipeline fight, every time a county got ready to pass a zoning law, the pipeline company would come in with a team of suits and threaten to sue.”

The lawsuits specifically target Iowa’s Shelby and Story counties, which were the first to pass ordinances requiring that these pipelines– which will carry CO2 from Iowa ethanol plants to sequestration sites out of state – be set back from residences, churches, nursing homes and other places where people live and gather. Voted into law last month, the ordinances also call for the pipeline companies to provide an emergency response plan and a computer-modeled estimate of the dispersion of CO2, a known toxicant that can be lethal if a pipeline were to rupture.

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HPAI Outbreak Surpasses 2015 Record

This year’s surge of highly pathogenic avian influenza is the largest foreign animal disease outbreak in US history.

Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig says it could get worse heading into the winter months. “Previously, we would have thought if we could get through the spring and into the summer when it warms up that high path would go away,” Naig said. “Unfortunately, at the beginning of November, we were once again dealing with high path reoccurring. It’s a reminder to us that this is now a constant threat.”

A protein analysis with Rabobank says the cases could push some poultry prices higher in 2023.

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2023 CoBank Report on the Rural Economy to Come

According to CoBank’s annual report, the U.S. economy still has considerable momentum and is not currently on the verge of recession. However, economists have never been more pessimistic, and there are legitimate reasons for concern.

The CoBank 2023 outlook report examines several key factors that will shape agriculture and market sectors that serve rural communities throughout the U.S. Over the past half-century, inflation above 5 percent has never been tamed without incurring a recession. That portends a painful yet necessary chain of events will unfold in 2023, according to the 2023 comprehensive report.

“As financial conditions continue to tighten, we expect the U.S. economy will steadily soften through the first half of 2023, ushering in a brief, modest recession,” said Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange. “The unemployment rate could rise as high as 5 percent, indirectly leading to a decline in consumer spending. Without this softening in the labor market and the associated slowing of wage gains and spending, it will be difficult to stabilize prices.”

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem Calls for Crackdown on Chinese Farmland Purchases

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Tuesday announced new legislation to crack down on foreign purchases of agricultural land in her state. The bill comes as the governor has aggressively moved to counter China, which she has called, "the greatest threat to the U.S."

Noem's proposed legislation would create a new board, called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – South Dakota (CFIUS-SD), which will review proposed purchases of farmland by foreign investors. After an investigation, the committee will make a recommendation to the governor on whether the purchase should be approved or denied.

"With this new process, we will be able to prevent nations who hate us – like Communist China – from buying up our state’s agriculture land," Noem said in a statement. "We cannot allow the Chinese Communist Party to continue to buy up our nation’s food supply, so South Dakota will lead the charge on this vital national security issue."

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

FY 2023 Omnibus

The bill text for the FY2023 omnibus appropriation bill was released early on Tuesday, December 20. The massive bill spends nearly $1.7 trillion, is 4155 pages long, and includes many non-appropriation items. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill later this week, followed by the House voting, most likely Friday. The bill is bipartisan, so it is expected to pass before the current Continuing Resolution runs out Friday at midnight.

In terms of the mundane Salaries and Expense Accounts for the Farm Production and Conservation Business Center (FPAC), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Risk Management Agency (RMA) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) all received small increases in appropriations over FY 2022 (see table).

FY 2023 FY 2022
FPAC $248,684,000 $238,177,000
FSA $1,541,768,000 $1,487,842,000
RMA $66,870,000 $62,707,000
NRCS $941,124,000 $904,396,000

On page 122 General Provision 771 provides an additional $25 million in administrative and operating (A&O) funds for specialty crop contracts written in reinsurance year 2021. RMA will have to provide guidance to the approved insurance companies on how to pay this additional amount retroactively once the bill passes.

SEC. 771. In addition to the amount of reimbursement for administrative and operating expenses available for crop insurance contracts described in subsection (a)(2)(F) of section III of the 2023 Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA) that cover agricultural commodities described in section 101 of title I of the Specialty Crops Competitiveness Act of 2004 (7 U.S.C. 1621 note), there is hereby appropriated $25,000,000, to remain available until expended, to pay, with respect to such contracts for the 2021 reinsurance year, an amount that is equal to the difference between the amount to be paid pursuant to the SRA for the applicable reinsurance year and the amount that would be paid if such contracts were not subject to a reduction described in subsection (a)(2)(G) of section III of the SRA but subject to a reimbursement rate equal to 17.5 percent of the net book premium.

Starting on page 1860 the omnibus bill provides $3,741,715,000 for crop and livestock disaster payments for crop year 2022. Of that amount, $494,500,00 is for livestock. It also includes $995 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.

Starting on page 2372 the bill includes language limiting the deductibility of charitable conservation easements. ASFMRA has supported this language as a broader coalition of conservation and appraisal organizations.

Starting on page 3909 (through page 3940) the Growing Climate Solutions Act (S. 1251) is included. The language directs USDA to establish a program to register entities that provide technical assistance to and verify the practices of farmers, ranchers, and foresters who participate in voluntary carbon markets with the goal of providing information and confidence to producers.

Starting on page 3940 is the SUSTAINS Act (H.R.2606) language. It allows the acceptance and use of private funds for Public-Private Partnerships: it also modifies existing authority for the Secretary of USDA to accept private donations to NRCS conservation programs by allowing the private donor the ability to direct how and where those funds would be used as well as give the Secretary of USDA the discretion on whether to match those funds with existing program funds.

Starting on page 3975 is $100 million for USDA to make payments to merchandisers of cotton that endured significant financial losses caused by pandemic-related supply chain challenges. Note this funding is from previously provided pandemic relief funds.

Starting on page 3977 is $250 million for USDA to make a one-time payment to U.S. rice producers who planted rice in 2022. This funding is offset with a recission from previous emergency ad hoc crop payments. The payments will be structured in part using actual production history (APH) for rice growers who have one (Page 3978).

Finally, report language accompanying the bill (page 27) encourages RMA to provide an inflation adjustment for all A&O payments. This language is not binding, so RMA could choose to not implement it. RMA has previously determined it does not have the authority to provide an inflation adjustment.

The agreement encourages RMA to provide for an inflation adjustment to all administrative and operating expense reimbursements in order to provide equitable relief with respect to specialty crop policies. The agreement recognizes RMA's authority to provide for an inflation adjustment to all administrative and operating expense reimbursements without a renegotiation of the SRA in a manner similar to the inflation adjustment from 2011 through 2015. Further, the agreement encourages RMA to provide for an inflation adjustment to all A&O in order to provide equitable relief with respect to specialty crop policies.

IRS Proposes Rule to Require Syndicated Conservation Easements As Reportable Transaction

The IRA proposed a regulation that would identify certain syndicated conservation easement transactions and substantially similar transactions as listed transactions, a type of reportable transaction. Material advisors and certain participants, including appraisers, in these listed transactions are required to file disclosures with the IRS and are subject to penalties for failure to disclose. The proposed regulations affect participants in these transactions as well as material advisors, including appraisers. In addition, while the proposed regulations exclude qualified organizations from being treated as participants or parties to a prohibited tax shelter transaction subject to excise tax, the notice of proposed rulemaking requests comments on whether the final regulations should remove the exclusion from the application of the excise tax for qualified organizations that facilitate syndicated conservation easement transactions.

Second Round of Climate Smart Grants Announced

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that USDA is investing an additional $325 million for 71 projects under the second funding pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities effort, bringing the total investment from both funding pools to over $3.1 billion for 141 tentatively selected projects. The Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity had high demand from across agriculture and forestry. Between two funding pools, USDA received over 1,000 proposals requesting more than $20 billion in funds from more than 700 entities.

Congressman G.T. Thompson to take House Agriculture Committee Chair

It’s official, Congressman G.T. Thompson (R-PA) has been selected by the Republican Steering Committee to lead the House Agriculture Committee next session of Congress. Representative Thompson is a robust supporter of crop insurance. During one of his more recent interviews he again expressed strong support for crop insurance.

Do Cover Crops Sequester Carbon?

A recent article in the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN) points out that new research suggests that cover crops may struggle to make a significant dent in agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. It also points to research findings that cover crops can result in minor declines in yields for corn and soybeans. The author cautions that more data and analysis are needed before cover cropping becomes a major greenhouse gas mitigation tool.

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
Thomas Boggs with Peoples Company in Monroe, LA (Mid-South Chapter)
Joseph Borgmeyer with Peoples Company in Indianola, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Brady Butenhoff with Farmers National Company in Fargo, ND (North Dakota Chapter)
Bryce Carpenter with Hertz Farm Management in Nevada, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Shannon Champion with Pennington County in Rapid City, SD (South Dakota Chapter)
Mac Chilton with Growthland in Libertyville, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Shane Duffy in Ames, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Heidi Guttormsson with Northwestern Farm Management in Taunton, MN (Minnesota Chapter)
Brady Hammond with AcrePro Midwest Farm Group in Logansport, IN (Indiana Chapter)
Alexandra Hart with LandVest in Turlock, CA (California Chapter)
Mackenzie Hayden with Northwest Farm Credit Services in Klamath Falls, OR (Oregon Chapter)
Dennis Herbst in Lampasas, TX (Texas Chapter)
Payton Hitchings with Farmers National Company in Tipton, IN (Indiana Chapter)
Alexis Jacobs with Busey Ag Services in Decatur, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Brooke Lopes with America AgCredit in Turlock, CA (California Chapter)
James McCarty with LandFund Partners in Nashville, TN (Mid-South Chapter)
Matt Pursel in Spanish Fork, UT (Idaho-Utah Chapter)
Leo Ramsey with Ramsey Commercial Appraisals, LLC in Gilbert, AZ (Arizona Chapter)
David Rasmussen with Northwest Farm Credit Services in Twin Falls, ID (Idaho-Utah Chapter)
Alyson Schneider with Farm Credit East in Enfield, CT (Northeast Chapter)
James Turner with Turner Consulting & Evaluation LLC in Springfield, OR (Oregon Chapter)
David Warren with Warren Real Estate Group in Jonesboro, AR (Mid-South Chapter)
Katie Welter with Growthland in Marion, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Chris Zoller with Ohio State University Extension-Tuscarawas County in New Philadelphia, OH (Ohio 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!

Richard Bell, ARA
Steve Bruere
Jack Doughty
Jerry Furtado, ARA
Douglas Hodge, ARA
Benjamin Isaacson
Terry Kestner, ARA, RPRA
Jon Mask, ARA, RPRA
Steven Myers, AFM
Kyle Nelson, ARA
Brian Neville, AFM
Michael Norgaard, AFM
Brian Sousa
Jake Thomsen
Barry Ward
Andy Weldon
Dale Weston, AFM

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

In Memory: Porter J. Martin - Traverse City, Michigan

The ASFMRA was honored and pleased to welcome Porter into the membership in 1974 as an Associate member. He maintained his Associate membership until 2016 when he transferred to the Retired membership classification. Porter made many friends through his association with the Society. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sherrie and family. To see more on Porter’s life, click here.