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ASFMRA Ag News - June 6, 2023

By ASFMRA Press posted 06-05-2023 11:53 PM


Income Surges From Alternative Farmland Leases

Every year presents a unique blend of challenges and rewards for farming. Few things have as much impact on a farming operation as land rent. In Illinois, 2022 proved to be exceptional for farmers and, subsequently, landowners, as reported in the recent survey by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

One key finding was the significant surge in average income for landowners from alternative leases compared to the previous year. These numbers speak volumes about the prosperity that buoyed the farming community.

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Dallenbach Racing Family Sells Iconic Fryingpan Ranch

An iconic ranch in the Fryingpan Valley that oozes Colorado rustic charm was sold in late May after 49 years of ownership by the Dallenbach family.

Dallenbach Family Partnership sold the ranch 2 miles east of Basalt for $15.5 million to CR Land Management LLC, according to a deed filed May 22 with the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder.

The 137-acre property, previously known as the Wooden Handle Ranch, was purchased by Wally and Peppy Dallenbach in 1974. Their three kids — Wally Jr., Paul and Colleen — spent most of their childhood there. Wally and Peppy moved to Grand Junction for health reasons a few years ago and the ranch has been on the market.sells iconic Fryingpan Ranch

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Western Lands Fight Erupts Over Bureau of Land Management’s Conservation Proposal

One thing opponents and proponents of a recently proposed U.S. Bureau of Land Management rule agree on: It would be a major shift in how the agency manages nearly 250 million acres of federal lands.

The rule would allow for conservation leases, similar to how the agency auctions off parcels of land for mining, livestock grazing or oil and gas development. Supporters say the proposal would lift conservation to the level of extractive uses, a responsible move to protect lands affected by climate change.

Outraged opponents — including many congressional Republicans — view the rule as a drastic overreach that violates existing law. Fears that conservation leases would evict grazing permittees and others have only been stoked by Republican rhetoric on the issue.

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Container Farming Seeks to Solve Land Access Issues

The good news is that there is farmland for sale in Montana, over 300,000 acres of farms for sale, according to popular real estate sites like The bad news for would-be farmers is the cost. The average price of farms for sale in Montana is $1.22 million, according to real estate sales averages, a figure that is not affordable for many.

However, getting a start in agriculture may not require such a hefty investment. If you ask the developers at Freight Farms, it doesn’t even require land.

Freight Farms was started in 2013 by Brad McNamara and Jon Friedman, who said they saw “a need for urban agriculture to emerge as a competitive industry in the food landscape.”

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Historic 1850s Farmhouse, Ranch for Sale in Gettysburg

A historic 1850s farmhouse and ranch in Gettysburg was recently listed for sale for $1,750,000.

According to the listing, this “American Federal two-story brick farmhouse” and ranch are located at 1384 Bon Ox Road in Gettysburg. The home rests on a 39.76-acre property and the farmhouse is 3,279-square-foot in size and comes equipped with two full bathrooms and three bedrooms.

In addition to the redbrick farmhouse, this ranching property also comes equipped with an “impressive collection of eight outbuildings led by the quintessential historical 123-year-old large Pennsylvania Bank Barn. An incredible 80′ x 180′ indoor and 100’x180′ outdoor arena with top-of-the-line footing awaits riders to do what they love most all year round with top-of-the-line footing to assure comfort for both horse and rider.”

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

House and Senate Pass, President Signs Budget Agreement 

On a bipartisan vote the House (314-117) passed the budget agreement, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, advanced by Speaker McCarthy (R-CA) and President Biden last Wednesday. The Senate voted Thursday and passed the bill 63-36. President Biden signed the bill Saturday, two days before Treasury Secretary Yellen said the government would run out of funding to meet its current obligations. 

The bill suspends the Federal debt ceiling until January 1, 2025, meaning most likely the lame duck session after the November 2024 Presidential election will have to deal with the debt ceiling. The agreement purports to save over $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, but it is a 2-year agreement and most likely won’t be enforced after the 2 years. The budget cuts focus on the non-defense discretionary part of the Federal Budget as well as rescinding existing unused Covid relief funds. Existing entitlement spending, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm, conservation programs, and crop insurance are unaffected by the deal. 

The agreement does raise work requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, but it also expands exemptions to those work requirements for people experiencing homelessness, veterans, and people ages 18 to 24 who were in foster care when they turned 18. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the SNAP changes would increase the deficit. You can read the CBO budget estimate for the entire bill here. Changes to SNAP work requirements in the budget agreement may take this thorny issue off the table for the 2023 Farm Bill, making it somewhat easier to complete this year.

SCOTUS Rules EPA Overstepped on WOTUS

In a long-awaited decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have the authority to regulate wetlands outside those “with a continuous surface connection.” The ruling was in the case of Sackett v. EPA. The EPA had ordered the Sacketts to return property they were in the process of developing to its original state and threatened to fine them if they did not. Although the ruling for the Sacketts was unanimous, the Court ruled 5-4 vote that Clean Water Act jurisdiction extends only to wetlands that are "indistinguishable" from navigable and interstate waters by having a "continuous surface connection" to such waters. 

House Agriculture Committee Holds Listening Session in Oregon

The House Agriculture Committee held a farm bill listening session in Oregon last Friday. Attending the two- and one-half-hour listening session were Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Representatives Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Andrea Salinas (D-OR), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), and David Valadao (R-CA). Witnesses reflected the rich agricultural diversity found in Oregon. Risk management and crop insurance were raised as priorities by several of the participants, notably the Oregon Wheat Growers and Farm Credits.

Senate Budget Committee Hearing Focuses on Climate Change and Agriculture Nexus

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Whitehouse (D-RI) has been holding a series of hearings highlighting the impact of climate change on various sectors of the U.S. economy. This Wednesday at 10 am the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing focusing on climate and agriculture with a particular emphasis on crop insurance. In a hearing advisory statement, the Chairman said, in part, 

“As emissions continue to increase, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that premium subsidies (for crop insurance) could increase by 22% by the end of the century. Climate-smart agriculture can play a key role in mitigating these impacts by protecting agricultural production, making farms more resilient, and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Former RMA Administrator Brandon Willis is a witness at Wednesday’s hearing. Senator Grassley (R-IA) is the Ranking Member on the Senate Budget Committee and several of the witnesses hail from Iowa.

RMA Announces Prevent Plant Listening Sessions

FCIC invites all stakeholders to respond to a Request for Information on Prevent Plant coverage by either:

  • Submitting written comments through the close of business on September 1, 2023, at Federal Register: Request for Information and Stakeholder Listening Sessions on Prevented Planting; or
  • Attending an in-person and/or virtual listening session to provide verbal comments. In-person listening sessions will be held in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas. Listening sessions will occur June through August 2023. More information about the listening sessions is available on the RMA website at look under the “Grower Listening Session” tab.

FCIC is interested in public feedback on the following:

  • Additional prevented planting coverage based on harvest prices in situations when harvest prices are higher than established prices initially set prior to planting.
  • Requiring that acreage must have been planted to a crop, insured, and harvested, in at least 1 of the 4 most recent crop years.
  • Additional levels of prevented planting coverage.
  • Offering prevented planting coverage on contracted crops.
  • Other general prevented planting feedback or questions.