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ASFMRA Ag News - July 18, 2023

By ASFMRA Press posted 07-18-2023 09:24 AM


New Law Reduced South Dakota Farmland Valuations by $120.5 Million

A South Dakota law that empowers counties to re-designate swaths of land from crop-land to non-crop land, aided in reducing farmland valuations by a total of $120.5 million.

On Tuesday, lawmakers pressed the State Department of Revenue on whether the implementation of this law is working the way it was intended.

The law, SDCL 10-6-130, permits South Dakota counties to assess the soil classifications of their land, and determine whether land with Class IV soils, or soils that have severe limitations that restrict crop growth, should be deemed cropland or non-crop land, potentially saving property owners from paying property taxes on land that would otherwise be considered un-workable.

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A 30,000-Acre Cattle Ranch in Montana Asks $58.75 Million

Ivan Doig’s 1978 memoir “This House of Sky” described the author’s childhood on a Montana cattle ranch, where his father worked as a ranch hand.

Now, after being owned by the same family for more than a century, the roughly 30,000-acre cattle ranch in Meagher County is coming on the market for $58.75 million, according to listing agents Mike Swan and Tim Anderson of Swan Land Company. The circa-1896 Yellow House, which served as home to the Doigs, still stands on the property. 

The sellers are Jock Doggett, whose great-grandfather started assembling the ranch in the early 1900s, and his wife, Jamie Doggett. The couple don’t have children, leaving no natural heir to the property, according to Swan. 

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High Costs and Softer Markets Weigh on Outlook for Farm Economy

With interest rates sharply higher, farmers are increasingly relying on savings or tightening their belts instead of seeking bank loans to cover their expenses, according to ag lenders nationwide.

“The outlook for the U.S. farm economy has moderated in recent months as risks of more limited profit opportunities have grown alongside softening in commodity markets and elevated production expenses,” said the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank.

“Conditions have also encouraged many producers to adjust operations to reduce borrowing needs or utilize cash reserves to fund some expenses,” said the regional Fed in a monthly Ag Finance Update.

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Russia Pulls Out of Black Sea Grain Deal

Russia announced on July 17 it was suspending its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which for nearly a year has allowed safe passage of Ukraine grain exports via the Black Sea in the midst of a war between the two countries.

The deal, which was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, was set to expire at 5 p.m. today. The last shipments from Ukraine departed from the Port of Odesa on July 16.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and during the first five months of the conflict blockaded Ukrainian ports which prevented Ukraine, a leading exporter of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, from making shipments via the Black Sea. Grain prices during that period soared to near record highs and food insecurity, especially in developing countries, reached critical levels. An agreement was reached on July 27, 2022, to resume Ukrainian grain exports and the deal was extended several times until Russia announced on Monday that it was suspending its participation.

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Soybean Industry to Benefit From Growing Demand of Cell-Cultured Meat

The prospect of increased demand for cell-cultured meat is expected to positively impact the soybean industry, according to a new paper from Holly Wang, professor of agricultural economics, at Purdue University.

Published in the department’s Purdue Agricultural Economics Report (PAER),  Wang’s collaborators are Shihuan Kuang, professor of animal sciences, and graduate students Yanyu Ma and Yizhou Hua.

The paper, titled, “The Rise of Meat Substitute Consumption and Its Impact on the U.S. Soybean Industry,” predicts that the demand for soybean consumption will rise due to the wider availability of meat substitutes or plant-based meats. Their research finds that the sales of plant-based meat in the U.S. has increased by 56% from 2018 to 2021.

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

House to Consider FY 2024 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

According to a House Rules Committee announcement, the Committee may meet the week of July 24th to provide a rule to allow floor consideration of the FY 2024 Agriculture appropriations bill.  The Committee asked that all possible amendments to the agriculture spending bill be submitted to the committee by July 19th. It has been some time (2019) since the FY 2024 Agriculture appropriations bill has been considered by the full House. This could be an opportunity for farm policy detractors to offer amendments to cut, cap and means test crop insurance, commodity, and conservation programs. For many Representatives, this will be their first time voting on such amendments.

USDA has New Deputy Secretary

Xochitl Torres Small will be sworn in July 17, 2023 at USDA as Deputy Agriculture Secretary. She was confirmed by the Senate last week. Previously she has served as Undersecretary for Rural Development since October 2021. She served as Representative of New Mexico’s second district from 2019 – 2021 where she was a member of the House Agriculture Committee. Her predecessor, Jewel Bronaugh, left the department March 3. 

Biden Administration’s Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Strategy

The Biden administration on Wednesday released the Federal Strategy to Advance Greenhouse Gas Emissions Measurement and Monitoring for the Agriculture and Forest Sectors. The draft document proposes a multi-agency effort – including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – to work with USDA on improving accuracy and reducing uncertainty in greenhouse gas estimates and help further President Biden’s goal of achieving a 50% to 52% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. Comments are being solicited on the strategy.

RMA Announcements

RMA has made a series of announcements impacting reinsurance year 2024, which started on July 1, 2023. RMA has expanded enterprise availability to alfalfa seed, cultivated wild rice, forage production, mint, onions, and certain potato producing areas.

The RMA is amending its regulations to incorporate existing actual production history (APH) requirements into the policy to enhance and improve accessibility, clarity, and transparency for the producer. RMA is also incorporating existing same year production reporting (SYPR) rules into the policy, clarifying prevented planting rules, incorporating the High-Risk Alternate Coverage Endorsement (HR–ACE) into the policy, clarifying double cropping requirements when another plan of insurance does not require records of acreage and production, and updating organic provisions. In this rule, RMA is authorizing the availability of enterprise units (EU) and whole farm units (WFU) to be designated in the actuarial documents. The changes to the crop insurance policies resulting from the amendments in this rule are applicable for the 2024 and succeeding crop years for crops with a contract change date on or after June 30, 2023. For all other crops, the changes to the policies made in this rule are applicable for the 2025 and succeeding crop years. Although the rule is final as published, comments can be made on the changes to RMA by August 23, 2023.

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
Jordan Crum with Consolidated Appraisal Services Company in Hillsboro, OH (Ohio Chapter)
Eric Engstrom with Prowest Appraisal in El Cajon, CA (California Chapter)
Emily Hayer in Sparta, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Margaux Hein with Martin Hein Ranch Company in Visalia, CA (California Chapter)
Trenton Hope with Advantage Land Co in Brookings, SD (South Dakota Chapter)
Richard Keck with Farmland Partners Operating Partnership LP in Boulder, CO (Colorado Chapter)
Melissa Kurth with Shaykett Appraisal Co. in Sioux Falls, SD (South Dakota Chapter)
Kaleb Lehmann in Litchfield, MN (Minnesota Chapter)
Matthew Miller with Farmers National Company in Gering, NE (Nebraska Chapter)
Devin Nelson in Union, MS (Mid-South Chapter)
Jordan Olsen with Farmers National Company in Baldwin City, KS (Kansas Chapter)
Saurav Ray Kunwar in Savoy, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Garrett Will with BBG Inc. in Canby, OR (Oregon and Washington Chapters)
Jason Wozniak with Mid-State Appraisal Company in Kearney, NE (Nebraska Chapter)
Darin Young with Popular Ag Finance in South Jordan, UT (Idaho-Utah 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!

Blake Florell, AFM
Timothy Harpster, ARA
Jackson Hegerfeld
Martin Hein, AFM
John Keeney, ARA
Sydni Nicolici
Fred Olsen, AFM
Travis Shaykett

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