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By Claudia Gaglione, National Claims Counsel for LIA Administrators & Insurance Services We have seen several rural appraiser insureds receive discipline from their state licensing boards for their failure to account for the fact that commercial operations were taking place on rural properties they appraised. In one situation, there was a large sign at the road that read “Fresh Blueberries.” There was also a separate dirt road/driveway leading up to a greenhouse/outbuilding that was located away from the main residence. Adjacent to the greenhouse, there were other signs which appeared to depict other produce items for sale. The appraiser did not see ...
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By Claudia Gaglione, National Claims Counsel for LIA Administrators & Insurance Services We continue to see claims alleging that the rural property appraiser failed to adequately identify or report details surrounding a water source. In one claim, the appraiser correctly noted that the property was serviced by a “private water well.” It was later discovered that the well was not located on the property which was appraised. Unfortunately, the well was actually located on an adjacent lot that, at one time, was part of the subject lot prior to the lots being subdivided. In another matter, the report said the property was serviced by “public water.” While ...
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E arlier this year, the ASFMRA ran a story in its bi-weekly newsletter, Ag News , covering the sale of the famous Four Sixes Ranch in Texas to Taylor Sheridan, creator of the hit TV show “Yellowstone.” This story contained inaccurate and incomplete information pertaining to the sales price and acreage of the Four Sixes Ranch. The article , which appeared on the “Taste of Country” website, made the following statement regarding the transaction: “The legendary Four Sixes Ranch […] was recently sold for just under $200 million to a group that's believed to be led by Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan. Initial listings show that the owners sought more than ...
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By Claudia Gaglione, National Claims Counsel for LIA Administrators & Insurance Services One of the most common claims made against appraisers continues to be the “sewer versus septic” claim. This claim arises when the appraisal states the subject property is connected to the public sewer and it is later discovered that the property is actually serviced by a private septic system. The borrower/purchaser may allege they paid too much for the property or they may simply seek to recoup the cost to connect to the public sewer. In a recent claim, the insured appraised a property that consisted of a single-family residence located on about 3 acres. There was ...
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Farmers know it well: in order to make money, you have to spend money. When you’re looking to buy a farm, expand your farming business, or improve a piece of farmland, the first thing you need is some capital to make it happen. There are myriad options for financing land purchases or farm business expansion, including a few that are less conventional but just as effective. This article reviews some of the most common routes to accessing farm capital and introduces some debt-free alternatives that you may not be aware of yet—but are helping farmers across the U.S. accomplish their business goals right now. FINANCING FARM EXPANSION WITH DEBT Broadly speaking, ...
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When drones began emerging into mainstream commercial use, it seemed like the sky was the limit for how this technology would impact farm management and farmland appraisal. But now that outlooks have become a bit more grounded, how are these professions actually making use of drones today? For appraisers, the obvious advantage of using a drone is gaining an aerial perspective that allows you to view a property from different angles and inspect areas that would normally be difficult to access. "The primary purpose was getting a better view of the things we’re trying to evaluate,” said Dave Cullins, Senior Vice President of Administration for AgTexas Farm ...
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Where's the Water?

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by Claudia Gaglione, Esq. In the past few years, we have seen numerous claims alleging that the rural property appraiser failed to adequately identify or report details surrounding a water source. In one claim, the report said the property was serviced by “public water”. While public water lines ran adjacent to the property, they were not connected. The property actually was getting water from a small private well. A similar situation arose when an appraisal reported the water source to be a “water co-op”. It was later discovered that the property was not connected to the co-op lines and was also serviced by a private well. In another claim, the report stated ...
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In real estate, it’s all about the land. Its history, its current state of existence and its potential moving forward. The trick for real estate professionals is properly conveying all of this to prospective buyers in a manner that is both persuasive and easy to understand. In recent years, they’ve begun to look at how a GIS land plotting app can be used to enhance both the educational and marketing aspects of buying and selling properties. With the right software, you’re able to visualize a parcel of land in all states of its evolution: past, present and future. Here’s how: The Past: Deed Plotting A deed is a legal document transferring ownership rights ...
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There’s a growing buzz in farming and the media around regenerative agriculture. While interest in carbon farming is expanding, the rate of adoption remains low due to unfamiliarity and the cost and risk involved in transitioning growing operations. That may change, however, with government and businesses alike committing to creating incentives for farmers to adopt practices designed to improve soil health and potentially increase the amount of carbon in the ground. The arrival of agriculture-oriented carbon marketplaces, where buyers pay farmers for the carbon they capture, could also lead to a faster uptake in regenerative agriculture practices. According ...
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The difference that experience makes when it comes to the perceived and actual impacts of solar on nearby property values. In recent years, publicity surrounding solar farms has gained the attention of property owners and appraisers. As with any large-scale development, the change represented by utility-scale solar can be cause for concern. Naysayers express worries involving impacts to viewshed, drainage problems, the idea of replacing productive agricultural lands with an industrial use, and more. Much of this worry comes back to one thing: the potential impact on property values. A recently completed study from the University of Rhode Island looked ...
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Many professions have some form of quality control, and appraising is no different. Appraisal reports, like the products of any other industry, sometimes require extra due diligence in order to boost client confidence, or to ensure compliance with government regulations and requirements. That’s when review appraisers step in to offer their services. A review appraiser ensures that the right data was selected and reviewed in the original valuation, and assesses the underlying methods and analysis to ensure that the conclusion follows logically from the information included in the report.  With the additional complexities commonly found in rural properties, the ...
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Typically, the properties that generate complaints are unique properties. There is usually acreage and oftentimes outbuildings of various types, plus these parcels are far apart from one another. Comps are rarely found within a mile of the subject. Sometimes comps are located miles away, often in another town. Rural properties typically contain a variety of outbuildings, such as sheds, barns and even guesthouses or accessory dwellings. Some properties are zoned for horses and have corrals. Findings comps with similar features can be difficult. When a state board investigator is asked to look at one of these reports, they rarely take issue with the comparable ...
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In September, the ASFMRA hosted a live seminar called “Appraising Unique & Atypical Properties” that was developed and instructed by Mark Williams, ARA. Williams, who has been in the appraising business since 1992, understands that the problem solving required for strange properties can be intimidating for some appraisers.  “We all come across these oddball projects, and sometimes we run from them,” said Williams. “We’d like to take them on, but we don’t always have the confidence." Of course, he isn’t referring to himself there. Over the years, Williams has accumulated a wealth of experience when it comes to dealing with “oddball” appraisals, and a ...
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In a year where so much has changed, it’s nice to see one thing that hasn’t: rural land values. “Steady is kind of the story on good land,” said Dennis Reyman, AFM, ARA, and incoming President-Elect of the ASFMRA during a recent panel discussion on land prices in the COVID era. Reyman was referring to his experience in Iowa, where he lives and works, but this observation was shared by the other panelists, including Ray Brownfield, AFM, out of Oswego, IL, and Matt Marschall, ARA, from California.  One of the bigger factors affecting prices seems to be the general rule of supply and demand. All three panelists noted that there just hasn't been very much quality ...
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Bring Legal Descriptions to Life The metes and bounds system is nearly as old as land ownership itself, with evidence of it existing from as far back as Ptolemaic Egypt and the Roman Republic. In the United States, the fingerprints for this method of surveying property can be most easily found in the states that were once the 13 original colonies. This system, which utilizes the completely subjective interpretation of natural features and markers by a land surveyor, is by no means new, but it’s also not going away anytime soon, either. Back in the day, when surveyors lacked sophisticated measuring systems and mapping tools, metes and bounds was a reliable ...
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sponsored by Preferred Partner LIA Administrators By Claudia Gaglione, Esq. – National Claims Counsel for LIA Administrators & Insurance Services Carefully crafted language, both specific and standard, is key in appraisal reports. One insured appraiser recently avoided a potentially costly lawsuit by including well-thought-out language that addressed issues related to large rural properties. In 2017, a roughly 10-acre property was subdivided into two parcels, one was about 7 acres and the other almost 3. Each parcel had a single-family home. The owner who subdivided the property sold the smaller parcel to a third party while continuing to occupy ...
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An article published in the 2020 Journal of the ASFMRA contains a financial analysis of alternative levels of facility investment associated with installing automatic milking systems (AMS). In addition to installing two automatic milking units at a cost of $380,000, the paper looks at three facility construction alternatives: a minimal retrofit to existing facilities costing $70,000; construction of a new open sided barn costing $470,000; and the construction of a fully enclosed barn costing $920,000. Therefore, the total investment ranges from $450,000 to $1,300,000. To read more on this article, visit here. To view the entire 2020 Journal of the ASFMRA, ...
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A recent study published in the 2020 Journal of the ASFMRA recently explored the multifaceted benefits of utilizing cover crops in cotton and peanut production systems in Georgia agriculture. Along with identifying the benefits of adopting this conservation practice, this study also examined both the costs and incentives associated with cover crop adoption. To read more on this article, visit here. To view the entire 2020 Journal of the ASFMRA, click here.
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The 2020 ASFMRA Education Foundation Summer Raffle has concluded having raised more than $4,600 to help supports projects and programs that ensure ASFMRA members provide the leadership that meets the changing needs of agriculture. THANK YOU to all who donated to this fantastic cause. The ASFMRA Education Foundation has been aiding the ASMFRA as it develops additional online offerings, navigates restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and seeks new partners to bring relevant content and education to its members. Your contributions help the ASFMRA towards its mission of advancing the standards of the disciplines we represent through an unparalleled ...
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On-farm storage is a common merchandising tool. However, information regarding optimal storage strategies remains incomplete. A recent study published in the 2020 Journal of the ASFMRA sought to provide farm managers a better understanding of the opportunities for earning storage returns and the strategies for doing so that best fit their operations by evaluating historic returns to storage for corn and soybeans in Indiana. To read more on this article, visit here. To view the entire 2020 Journal of the ASFMRA, click here.
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