Top 20 Landowners in America, According to a New Report
Endless miles of vast land stretch as far as the eye can see, but only a few families own much of it. Almost half of all American farmland is owned by people who don't actually farm themselves. Many of these wealthy families make their fortunes in the lumber and forest industry, with millions of acres in timberland throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The largest landowners run cattle operations and farms throughout the Great Plains and the West. Some ranches include land leased from the state or government for cattle grazing, while others offer oil and gas revenue. Traditionally, family members hold onto their property through generations, which is why the top 100 landowners control a great majority of the country's ranches.
Every year, the industry stalwart The Land Report releases its Top 100 list of America's leading landowners. This year's list features America's largest landowner, Red Emmerson. Along with his family (sons George and Mark), he owns 2,411,000 acres in California, Oregon, and Washington with the leading timber-products company, Sierra Pacific Industries.
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Pennsylvania Republicans Seek Higher Compensation for Farms Facing Eminent Domain
Pennsylvania lawmakers are seeking to broaden the types of compensation farmers can receive when their land is taken through eminent domain.
Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, has introduced a bill requiring the state to compensate farmers for lost goodwill — the benefits from a farm’s location, cultural heritage in the community, and reputation for quality.
“The idea that the government can arbitrarily determine the value of private property without factoring in things like this is an insult to our notions of justice,” Dush said during a Jan. 22 hearing of the Senate State Government Committee in Bellefonte.
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The Largest Contiguous Ranch in Kansas Has Sold!
P5 Ranch is located in Hamilton and Kearny counties in Kansas. The 45,000-acre operation earned the title of the largest contiguous ranch in the state.
It has now changed ownership. The listing was handled by Whitetail Properties Real Estate.
Over 40,000 acres of the operation are prime pastureland and 2,700 acres are pivot irrigated and dryland tillable ground. The ranch could see a capacity of 8,000 head of cattle.
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GAO Criticizes USDA Tracking of Foreign Investments
Foreign investment in U.S. agricultural land grew to about 40 million acres in 2021, per USDA estimates. This can pose national security risks—such as when foreign interests buy land near U.S. military installations.
USDA annually publishes data on agricultural land investments, which DOD, Treasury, and other agencies may review for risks. DOD noted that it needs more specific and timely data.
USDA needs to collect, track, and share the data better, and developing a real-time data system would help. For example, USDA annually compiles its data from paper forms filed with headquarters or county offices.
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Study to Examine Seaweed Oil Extract for Methane Reduction
As emissions become a greater concern, farmers are implementing various strategies to address and reduce methane produced by livestock.
Seaweed is one of those tools on which studies such as a recent one conducted by Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are looking to prove efficacy.
Designed by Associate Professor Joe McFadden, Asparagopsis-based seaweed oil extracted for reducing livestock methane emissions was compared to Symbrosia’s existing freeze-dried seaweed products.
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ASFMRA Government Relations Update
ASFMRA Joins Agriculture Groups Urging Crop Insurance Budget Protection
The ASFMRA along with over 70 other stakeholder groups, signed a letter urging USDA Secretary Tom Vilsak and OMB Director Shalanda Young to protect crop insurance from any harmful cuts as the Administration develops its budget proposal for FY 2025. A similar letter will be sent to Congress once it is clear when it will begin its FY 2025 budget process.
Congress Votes to Keep Government Open
The Senate and House voted for another Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open into March. After reaching an agreement on a topline spending number for FY 2024, Appropriators needed more time to write the 12 individual bills and the previous CR expired January 19 for 4 bills and February 2 for the remaining 8 bills. The Senate voted 77-18, while the House voted 314 to 108 to pass the CR. House Freedom Caucus members were urging their colleagues to vote against the CR.
Note that 107 Republicans voted for passage, while 106 voted against – a bare bones majority of Republicans supported passage while nearly all (207 out of 213) Democrats supported passage. It was a similar bipartisan vote to keep the government open at the end of September 2023 that cost then Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) his leadership role and ultimately led to his retirement from Congress. So far Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is dodging that bullet, but conservative Republican rumblings are growing.
Senator Stabenow Outlines Farm Bill Safety Net Proposal
In a “Dear Colleague” letter to all Senators, Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) outlined a safety net proposal to move the farm bill forward. Crop insurance plays a key part in her proposal. The letter outlines 5 principles the Chairwoman feels are important for the farm safety net but goes on to say that farmers tell her crop insurance is their primary risk management tool.
Perhaps reflecting budget realities (no money) but more likely best viewed as an opening offer, Senator Stabenow’s letter goes on to say she seeks to improve crop insurance but at the cost of commodity program participation. Specifically, she cites the 2018 farm bill policy choice for cotton growers between STAX, a highly subsidized area plan and participation in PLC or ARC. She would like to extend that approach to all growers.
Reading between the lines, what Senator Stabenow is proposing is an increase in SCO subsidy and possibly an increase in SCO coverage levels but if the higher SCO support is elected by a farmer, a prohibition on ARC and PLC participation. Currently SCO election precludes ARC participation, but not PLC. This type of an arrangement could lower the cost of ARC and PLC. However, the risks SCO covers, within-year price/ revenue declines, is not the same as what ARC and PLC protect against, long-term price/ revenue declines. So, the tradeoff is not apples-to-apples and not likely to be supported by most commodity organizations.
Many Republican Senators do not support Senator Stabenow’s proposal. Perhaps Senator Moran (R-KS) relayed the concerns best. He stated that farmers ought not to have to choose between Title 1 (commodity program) support and participating in crop insurance (Title 11). One program is purchased, crop insurance, while the other is a safety net program available to all farmers. Essentially, the overlap is minimal. It’s safe to say, Senator Stabenow floated a balloon without much air in it.
Six House Members Oppose Increase in Farm Safety Net Reference Prices
Earlier this month, 6 House Republicans sent a letter to House Agriculture Committee leaders in “strong opposition” to increasing references prices for commodities (Commodity Title). Given the tight House voting margins, the letter is an indication of the necessity for House Agriculture Chairman Thompson (R-PA) to bring a bipartisan bill to the House floor. Increasing reference prices will likely be a key component of this next farm bill and Chairman Thompson will need Democrat support to overcome opposition in his party to elements of the farm bill.
The letter was also supported by The Club for Growth, Competitive Markets Action, and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.
Welcome New Members
Help us welcome our newest members to the ASFMRA! Because of you, the ASFMRA continues to grow and support rural property professionals across the nation!
The Society recognizes new members on a monthly basis. You may find your colleagues in the following list — if you do, we encourage you to reach out and welcome them!
Hammas Ashraf in College Station, TX (Texas Chapter)
Ryan Boeckmann in Paris, MO (Missouri Chapter)
Aidan Borman with Turn Prop LLC in Pacific Grove, CA (California Chapter)
Gabriella Burkett in Carterville, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Madalynn Camp in Bourbonnais, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Jaen Cardoza with Rabo Diversified Services in Buhl, ID (Idaho-Utah Chapter)
Yale Epler with Leland Valuation Services, LLC in Patoka, IN (Indiana Chapter)
Adam Ganeff with Farmers National Company in Lehigh, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Ryan Gieseke with Legacy Land Partners in Marengo, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Michael Glidden with AgWest Farm Credit in Rocklin, CA (California Chapter)
Tyler Groom in De Kalb, TX (Texas Chapter)
Andrew Harr with Total Auctions and Real Estate and Harr Property Management in Sioux Falls, SD (South Dakota Chapter)
Alysha Hatch in San Antonio, TX (Texas Chapter)
Dora Hillyer in Plano, TX (Texas Chapter)
Tara Hilty with Consolidated Appraisal Services Company in Ottawa, OH (Ohio Chapter)
Lorea Hornby in Leander, TX (Texas Chapter)
Adi Jain in Plano, TX (Texas Chapter)
Dylan Johnson in Bryan, TX (Texas Chapter)
U’ilani Kaaekuahiwi in Harrisburg, OR (Oregon Chapter)
Sam Karpeles with Orgon Valuation Group in Sherwood, OR (Oregon Chapter)
Jentre Kennedy in College Station, TX (Texas Chapter)
Hoanh Le in Brookings, SD (South Dakota Chapter)
Riley Lorenz with Busey Bank in Oreana, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Maggie Long in Bryan, TX (Texas Chapter)
Emma McIntosh in Houston, TX (Texas Chapter)
Emily Ming with Alliance Appraisal, LLC in Bakersfield, CA (California Chapter)
Eric Mueller with Sower Farmland in Omaha, NE (Nebraska Chapter)
Michael Myers with First Illinois Ag Group in Decatur, IL (Illinois Chapter)
George Naumann with Private Valuations, Inc. in Sammamish, WA (Washington Chapter)
Jared Oachs in Fargo, ND (Minnesota and North Dakota Chapters)
Elizabeth Poff with AgGeorgia Farm Credit in Dallas, GA (Georgia Chapter)
Caitlin Pruis with ARC Appraisals in Morrison, IL (Illinois Chapter)
Michael Robinson with FCS Financial in Ballwin, MO (Missouri Chapter)
Kyle Rubel in Bryan, TX (Texas Chapter)
Heidi Russ with Hertz Farm Management in Mount Vernon, IA (Iowa Chapter)
Nathan Sandland with Farmers National Company in Letcher, SD (South Dakota Chapter)
Adam Sawyer in Benton, KS (Kansas Chapter)
Michael Selfridge in Santa Barbara, CA (California Chapter)
Jay Slater with Mississippi Land Bank in Corinth, MS (Mid-South Chapter)
Jeramy Stephens in Little Rock, AR (Mid-South Chapter)
Brandon Stroble with Halderman Real Estate and Farm Management in Dunkirk, IN (Indiana Chapter)
Matthew Sykes in Bryan, TX (Texas Chapter)
Chrystol Thomas-Winston in College Station, TX (Texas Chapter)
Derrick Tse in College Station, TX (Texas Chapter)
Kathleen Wittmer in Valparaiso, IN (Indiana Chapter)
Share Your Experience - Make a Referral
You know first-hand what a great organization the 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 the Society'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 the ASFMRA and those individuals have now become members!
Jeffrey Berg, ARA
Phillip Brown, AFM
Grant Fitzgerald, AFM
Timothy Fuchs, AAC
Brian Gatzke, ARA
Ted Glaub, AFM
F. Howard Halderman, AFM
Timothy Harpster, ARA
Fred Hepler, AFM, AAC
Patrick Karst, ARA
Ryan Kay, AFM
Samual Kyzer, ARA
Michael Ming, ARA
Tyler Mullins, ARA
Justin Patterson, ARA
JoAnn Wall, ARA
Thank you to all who have referred someone and in some cases, more than one, to join the ASFMRA.
In Memory: Eldon Hoyt Greenwood, AFM-Retired – Chatham, Illinois
The ASFMRA was honored and pleased to welcome Eldon into the membership of the Society in 1962. He quickly obtained his Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) designation and advanced to the Accredited membership classification in 1964. He volunteered and served on the Management/Consulting Education/Accreditation Committee in 1982. Eldon was the ASFMRA President in 1984-85. He was presented the D. Howard Doane Award in 1986. From 1989 to 1992, Eldon served as a member on the Awards Committee and then in 1993, he was the Chair of that committee. Eldon made many friends through his association with the ASFMRA who will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his widow Betty and entire family. To learn more about Eldon’s life, click here.