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ASFMRA Ag News - August 1, 2023

By ASFMRA Press posted 08-01-2023 09:42 AM


The ASFMRA Land Report on RFD-TV

The ASFMRA has partnered with RFD-TV to bring you the ASFMRA Land Report, a weekly segment where the nation's top rural property professionals share timely updates on regional agricultural issues and market developments, with special attention paid to our most important resource: American farmland. 

Tune in to the leading ag and rural news network each Wednesday at 12:30 PM CT to gain insights from accredited land experts and learn the stories behind the numbers!

Episodes to date:

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‘Mysterious’ Company Sues Farmers Over Land Purchase Deal

A mystery company that has been buying up farmland around Travis Air Force Base in California in recent years is now suing the farmers it bought the land from, accusing them of conspiring to inflate the value of their properties.

Lots of questions and speculation are floating around about the buyer, Flannery Associates, which has invested close to $1 billion to buy more than 50,000 acres farmland in the Jepson Prairie and Montezuma Hills area of Solano County. According to numerous reports, the company is filing suit for at least $510 million against the farmers.

Flannery is currently the subject of an inquiry by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Colorado Ranch From John Wayne Classic ‘True Grit’ Up For Sale

Roll the opening credits of the 1969 John Wayne classic True Grit and you’ll see a scene largely unchanged today. It’s the rugged barn and old school at a ranch for sale in Placerville, Colorado. The San Juan Mountains stretch along the distant horizon.

True Grit West, encompassing 336 acres on Hastings Mesa, still has its original livestock barn and corrals. The historic school house remains too, restored by the current owners in keeping with its Western heritage.

An addition from 1996 is the custom-built contemporary log home, which was remodeled and updated four years ago. Set up on a high slope, the 6,200-square-foot multistory home takes in views of the ranch and the Sneffels and Wilson mountain ranges.

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What It Takes to Get Clarity on Soil Carbon

Regenerative agriculture initiatives have saturated food companies' climate strategies with a questionable narrative propeller: While agriculture is a significant emissions source, soil on farmland is a viable carbon sink when well managed. 

While regenerative practices can have many benefits, soil carbon sequestration is often touted first because of the financial incentives carbon credit markets can offer farmers.

However, accurately measuring the changes in soil carbon stocks has historically been expensive and intensive. Scientists have robustly observed soil carbon dynamics on a small percentage of agricultural lands. Most MRV (monitoring, reporting and verification) solutions for quantifying the climate impacts of regenerative practices rely on estimation models from scientific literature that often note the uncertainty around the accuracy of such approaches.

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Secured Lender Duffs Golf Course Valuation Hearing

When a secured creditor and the debtor can't agree on value, appraisals and appraiser testimony become critical.  In a recent bankruptcy dispute over the value of a golf and country club, the court provided important lessons to lenders.  Lenders and their counsel must scrutinize their own appraisals, and the underlying assumptions made by their appraiser, before they get to the courthouse.  Otherwise, they risk embarrassment and, worse, a bad valuation.

In bankruptcy, a creditor has a secured claim equal to the value of its collateral.  When value is in dispute, then the court determines value "in light of the purpose of the valuation and of the proposed disposition or use of such property."  This happens at a valuation hearing, where the parties can put on testimony by appraisers and fact witnesses. When faced with competing appraisals, the bankruptcy court need not "split the baby" by adding both appraisals and dividing in half. The bankruptcy court may reject an appraisal in its entirety and not give it any evidentiary weight if it is flawed.    

Stockton Golf and Country Club – a golf course, country club, and event center -- had operated for over a century when it filed Chapter 11 to reorganize and stave off foreclosure by its primary lender, Bank of Stockton.  The Bank asserted a secured claim of $8.2 million and contended the Club was worth $8 million.  The Club contended it was worth $4 million and sought to cram down a plan that would give the Bank only a $4 million secured claim.

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