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ASFMRA Ag News - September 26, 2023

By ASFMRA Press posted 09-25-2023 10:48 PM


SOLD! 115 Acres of Missouri Farmland Just Sold For $34,800 Per Acre, Smashing the Previous Record

Move over Iowa, there’s a new record farmland sale on the books. A piece of Missouri farmland underwent rapid-fire bidding, which racked the final price tag up to $34,800 per acre. The recent sale now beats out the previous record of $30,000 per acre in Iowa.

According to the bill of sale from Dyer and Fenner Auctioneers, the record sale happened last Thursday in Saline County, Mo. Two farmers got in a bidding war, and in just 15 minutes the 115 acres sold for $34,800 an acre, setting the new record.

The buyer wasn’t an investor. The winning bid came from a farmer by the name of Jeff Baxter from neighboring Carroll County, Mo. According to area farmers, the competing bidder was a farmer who’s home farm touches the land that was for sale.

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Farming in Dry Places: Investors Continue to Speculate on Colorado Water

Private investors seeking to sell groundwater from parched parts of Colorado to a Denver-area water utility are spending tens of thousands of dollars to elect candidates to the water boards that govern the constrained supplies.

The investors are behind Renewable Water Resources (RWR), a company that failed a year ago to obtain $10 million in pandemic-relief funds from Douglas County, located south of Denver and one of the nation’s wealthiest counties. RWR sought the funds to kickstart a plan to drill deep wells on a ranch it owns in the San Luis Valley farther south, home to the nation’s second-largest potato crop. RWR is aiming to plumb an aquifer underneath to sell water to the Denver area for a profit, despite significant public backlash from the valley’s farmers and residents, who depend on it.

Now, RWR’s principals have helped elect candidates, and, in one case, an RWR principal himself, to Douglas County water boards.

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How Fertilizer Prices Dropped by Half

Like a lot of farmers, RH Habbe has spent the last few years dialing in his fertilizer program. Habbe farms the clay soils south of Nashville, Ill., and he’s switched to liquid fertilizers, uses variable rates to apply dry fertilizer, and tissue tests to see what the crop really needs.

“Long story short: We’re trying to maintain the soil, not build the soil,” Habbe says, adding that he’d like to avoid overapplication to avoid future regulations, like broadcast of phosphorus products.

Strategically, he’s fertilizing for profit, not for yield.

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Woes on the Mighty Mississippi Could Worsen

Despite receiving precipitation in drought-plagued areas of the Mississippi Valley and the Corn Belt, USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey said this week that not a lot of runoff made it to the extremely low Mississippi River.

“A lot of that moisture went into the landscape—in other words, for crops—and we have not seen enough runoff to at least fully alleviate the drought situation,” he said.

Low river levels along areas of the Mississippi River Basin for the second consecutive year have caused some disruptions to barge traffic as well as some barge restrictions.

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Factors Influencing Farmland Prices

Headlines boasting record-breaking farmland sales and surging values gave voice to the excitement in the market last year while land prices climbed. As 2023 marches on, the experts say some of that excitement may be waning and to expect strong, but flatter prices going forward.

“We’ll probably see some high reports of really high-quality farms that are well-located…and we might see some lower-quality farms start to back up a little bit in prices as we head toward the end of the year,” says Tim Koch, executive vice president of business development for Farm Credit Services of America. “But as a whole, I would anticipate that we’ll see a flattening of prices throughout the remainder of the year.”

Jackson Takach, chief economist at Farmer Mac, put it this way: “You’re still seeing positive gains in land values, quarter over quarter, but at a much-reduced rate compared to ’21 or ’22, when they were in the double digits of annual and quarterly growth. Today they’re in the 1% to 3% range.”

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ASFMRA Government Relations Update

Appraisal Subcommittee Hearing November 1

The Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) will hold its third public hearing on the topic of appraisal bias.  The hearing will be open to the public and requires advance registration. The event page will be updated with a link to RSVP closer to the hearing date. It will be held at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) headquarters in Washington D.C. The hearing will also be livestreamed.


Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 ends Saturday. Neither the House nor the Senate have been able to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open while they finish FY 2024 appropriations bills. The House doesn’t appear to have the votes to pass a CR, while the Senate is still working on a package that at least 60 Senators can support. The Senate is expected to pass such a bill by Friday or Saturday of this week, but it is unclear what happens to it in the House.

The House this week will attempt to pass 4 individual appropriations bills, Agriculture, Defense, State and Foreign Operations, and Homeland Security. The House Rules Committee met Friday and reported a rule to consider all four bills this week. It is not clear that the House will be able to pass the rule which is necessary to consider the 4 appropriations bills. So far, the House has not been able to pass the rule to consider the Defense appropriations bill. Even if the House passes all 4 FY 2024 appropriations bills this week, it must pass a CR to avoid a government shutdown.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report detailing Federal employees by State and Congressional District.

IRA Funding Questioned

The minority staff of the Senate Agriculture Committee released a blog last week questioning the utility of the conservation funding (nearly $20 billion over 4 years) provided by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for all farmers. Republicans, both on the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee would like to reprogram the IRA funding and use it for other purposes in the upcoming farm bill. Senate Agriculture Chair Stabenow (D-MI) has defended the funding as necessary and available to all farmers. Interestingly, Ranking Member Scott (D-GA) has not been as vocal defending the IRA funds. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) published a rebuttal piece as well.

Commodity Program and Crop Insurance Attacks Continue

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), the Environmental Working Group, the Heritage Foundation, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and others participated in a workshop earlier this month that repeated oft used attacks about crop insurance and commodity title support programs. A summary of their attacks and supported legislation can be found here. Note the AFFIRM Act has not been introduced since 2020 but elements of it are expected to surface once the farm bill is up for floor consideration. 

GAO Says CCC Use for Climate Smart Agriculture Legal

Senator Marshall (R-KS) asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review Secretary Vilsack’s decision to use the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to fund $3.1 billion in climate smart agriculture grants. The GAO issued a report confirming the use of CCC for that purpose is legal.

Senate Agriculture Committee to Review Foreign Ownership

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing this Wednesday to review foreign ownership in U.S. Agriculture. The witnesses will include Gloria Montaño Greene, USDA’s Deputy Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC). USDA is responsible for reporting foreign farmland purchases. Harrison Pittman, director of the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas, and Michigan State University economist David Ortega also will testify. The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing recently on how the Department of Treasury oversees foreign investment in U.S. more broadly.

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
Jerick Abbott with Farm Credit Mid-America in Grove City, OH (Ohio Chapter)
Sawyer Breeding with Farmers National Company in Stephenville, TX (Texas Chapter)
Ned Callan with Farmers National Company in Ringsted, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Tanner Clementz with Hertz Farm Management, Inc. in Mankato, MN (Minnesota Chapter)
Wm. Bruce Clevenger with OSU Extension Defiance County in Defiance, OH (Ohio Chapter)
Brad Ganeff with Hertz Farm Management in Humboldt, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Joe Jacobson in Parkston, SD (South Dakota Chapter)
Christine Johnson with Merriman, Hurst & Associate Inc in Bakersfield, CA (California Chapter)
Macy Krug with Farmers National Company in Reinbeck, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Colton Lueck with Hertz Farm Management in Cedar Falls, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Catherine Martin in Edmond, OK (Oklahoma Chapter)
Rebecca Moss with United Farm and Ranch Management in N Platte, NE (Nebraska Chapter)
Andrew Oliver with The Oliver Company in Murrieta, CA (California Chapter)
Jason Reis in Bryan, TX (Texas Chatper)
John Vickers with Farmers National Company in Bainbridge, FA (Georgia Chapter)
Garet Walker with Farmers National Company in Cimarron, KS (Kansas Chapter)
Jedidiah Walker in Sulphur Springs, TX (Texas Chapter)
Gunnar Wuebben in Albany, IL (Illinois 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!

Justin Bierschwale, ARA
Thomas Carlson, AFM
Grant Fitzgerald, AFM
R. Mike Lansford, AFM
Lisa Louth
David Marrison
Randy Merriman
Robert Regenwether, AFM
Dan Riewerts, AFM
Christopher Scow
Daniel Shively, ARA
Morgan Troendle, AFM

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

In Memory: Stanley J. Kavy of London, Ohio

The ASFMRA has just received notification of the passing of Stanley J. Kavy. The Society was honored and pleased to welcome Stan into the membership in 1986. He maintained his Associate membership. Stan was the Ohio Chapter Vice President, President, and Immediate Past President. He made many friends through his association with the Society who will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Diana, and family.