July 11 2017

Weekly AgNews - July 11, 2017

Today’s Ag Climate: It’s Tough but Different from the 1980s

If history repeats itself, we might ask, “Are we witnessing a farm decline similar to what we saw in the 1980s?” The short answer to that question is no. The current agriculture climate is a challenge, but comparing it to the 1980’s farm crisis would be a mistake. Let’s take a walk back through history for a refresher.

The 1980’s farm crisis was born out of the early 1970’s grain boom. Demand for nearly all grains took off in the early ‘70s as several international crops failed and geopolitical conditions made U.S. grain much more valuable.

By 1973, real farm income had reached a record high of $92.1 billion (nationally), nearly double what it was just three years earlier. Exports of U.S. agriculture products grew dramatically in the 1970s as rising incomes and liquidity in developing nations created strong demand.

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Budget Office Releases Farm Bill Projections

The Congressional Budget Office has released projections on expected spending of farm programs for the current budget year, plus ten years, which will serve as a guide for the writing of the 2018 Farm Bill.

The 107-page 2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, released on June 29, calls for $144.9 billion in funding. An estimated $20 billion is for discretionary spending, which is $876 million below the last fiscal year.

The bill calls for $4.6 billion more than President Trump’s budget, sent from the White House earlier this year, but is $8.5 billion less than the 2017 fiscal year enacted level.

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Ag Group Says Conservation Funding Should Be Top Farm Bill Priority

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says as lawmakers craft the new farm bill the funding priorities should be crop insurance number one followed by snap and the third being conservation. Minnesota Land Stewardship Project’s Policy Program Organizer Ben Anderson says conservation should be the top priority and crop insurance needs refining

He says conservation programs needs to be prioritized and properly funded.

Anderson says it’s critical farmers take an active role in making their views known for what they want in the next farm bill and his group is there to assist them in that process.

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Mexico Is No Longer No. 1 U.S. Corn-Buyer After Trade Tensions

Mexico is no longer the biggest buyer of corn from the U.S., a sign that trade tensions are pushing American grain toward other markets while its southern neighbor lines up new suppliers.

Sales to Mexico through May were $1.04 billion, down 6.7 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a monthly update. That contrasts with the 32 percent increase for the overall value of U.S. corn exports in the period, during which the average dollar value of the commodity was little changed. Japan boosted its purchases 53 percent to $1.19 billion to become the largest importer of American corn.

Mexico initiated talks with other major corn exporters this year after it was criticized by President Donald Trump, who said the country has taken advantage of its northern neighbor through the North American Free Trade Agreement, taking away jobs and investment. The dispute helped to send the Mexican peso to a record low against the dollar in January.

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Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis says Congress Will Complete a New Farm Bill on Time

Congressman Davis believes new farm policy will be completed on time.


National Young Farmer Coalition Members Show Support for Farm Bill

Millennial farmer-members of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), recently met with their legislative representatives in Washington, DC, to advocate for support in the upcoming farm bill.

“The 2018 Farm Bill is make or break for millennials who want to farm,” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of NYFC. “Unless we tackle affordable land, student debt, and health care now, few of these young farmers and ranchers will make agriculture a lifelong career. With two-thirds of our farmland ready to transition, the next Farm Bill must be devoted to young farmers who stand ready to work the land and feed our nation.”

Travelling from states such as Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, the NYFC farmers met with elected officials serving on the Senate and House committees focused on agriculture, budget appropriations, education, environment, and the workforce. These legislators included Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Steve Daines (R-MT), David Perdue (R-GA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). The list of Representatives included Austin Scott (R-GA), Scott Tipton (R-CO); Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), and Tom O’Halleran, (D-AZ).

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Trump Administration Maintains Corn, Biodiesel Mandates for 2018

WASHINGTON, July 5, 2017 – In a win for corn ethanol producers, EPA is proposing to require refiners to use another 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol next year while maintaining the 2018 biodiesel target set by the Obama administration.

Ethanol producers had lobbied the new administration not to lower the corn ethanol mandate, which the Obama administration had raised to 15 billion gallons for the first time for 2017. The biodiesel industry was looking for an increase in the 2018 mandate for their product but was unsuccessful in persuading the agency to do so.

However, the Trump administration’s first set of renewable volume obligations, which represent the president’s first major actions on biofuel policy, would slightly reduce the total amount of advanced biofuels that would have to be used in 2018 to 4.24 billion gallons, down from 4.28 billion gallons required for 2017. The reduction reflects the new administration’s lower forecast for production of cellulosic biofuel, a next-generation product that can be made from corn cobs, wood chips and other sources of plant cellulose.

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USDA Drops U.S. Soybean Crop Rating

DES MOINES, Iowa — With the U.S. soybean condition rating dropping and the corn crop’s grade only slightly higher than a week ago, the concern about this year’s growing season continues.


As of Sunday, 68% of the U.S. corn crop had been rated good/excellent, slightly above the 67% rating a week ago but well under a rating last year at this time of 75%, according to the USDA Crop Progress Report Wednesday.

More Crop Ratings 

Bayer CropScience to Adopt SlantRange Drone Technology

SlantRange, a US drone sensor manufacturer and imagery analytics provider using computer vision for agriculture, has won a contract with Bayer CropScience to provide intelligence about the German agribusiness’s crop breeding and research programs in the US.

SlantRange will contract drone pilots to fly over Bayer’s facilities in the US and collect data about various pilot programs using its 3p multispectral sensor. The startup will then run that data through its software program SlantView to provide Bayer with quantitative metrics about the status, health, and yield potential of crops.

Built around Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Flight platform for drones, the sensor uses spectral imaging and computer vision techniques to look at the spatial patterns of growth in crops, weeds, dead vegetation, and bare soil, and to isolate the crop plants from the weeds and the background. It looks specifically at the color of the plant, how it’s growing and what patterns it’s following, focusing on green vegetation and subtle changes in color to detect changes early enough before it’s a problem. These metrics go beyond Normalized Differentiation Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is the commonly-used graphical indicator to show crop health through colors — bright green for areas with most vegetation to red for the least healthy areas. Many drone imagery companies now say NDVI maps do not give enough information about the state of crop health.

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Newly Accredited Farm Managers

Congratulations to our newly accredited members!  Those awarded the AFM designation are:

Name Company State
Jeffrey Hillberg,AFM AM Property Services, LLC CA
Vincent Ross Albert,AFM Soy Capital Ag Services IL
Alex Billman,AFM Farmland Management Services WI
Michael Bretl,AFM Farmland Management Services WI
Andrew Bridges,AFM Hancock Farmland Services, Inc. GA
Donald Colter, Jr,AFM Hancock Farmland Services, Inc. ID
Jeff Hopkins,AFM Farmland Management Services WI
Stephen Kritscher,AFM Kritscher & Associates CA
Jason Lestina,AFM Land Pro LLC IL
Kevin Palla,AFM Palla and Company / Cushman and Wakefield CA
Karl Pippenger,AFM Farmland Management Services WI
Kyle Walker,AFM Peoples Company IA

Call for Applicants

The Appraisal Foundation Seeks Candidates for the Appraiser Qualifications Board and the Appraisal Standards Board

The Appraisal Foundation has begun its annual search for qualified candidates to serve on the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) and the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB).

Background and Qualifications:

The Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) is responsible for establishing the minimum education, experience, and examination qualification criteria for real estate appraisers. Also, the AQB sets the minimum requirements for real estate appraisers to 
maintain their state credential. The qualification criteria are the minimum criteria that real property appraisers must meet to become state licensed or certified. The AQB also sets the minimum requirements for personal property appraisers, and 
adherence to the personal property criteria is mandatory for Foundation Sponsors who confer personal property designations. Familiarity with appraiser qualifications is a prerequisite of service on the AQB, and a minimum of ten years of appraisal 
experience is required.

The Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) is charged with developing, interpreting, and amending the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Familiarity with USPAP is a prerequisite of service on the ASB, and a minimum of ten years of 
appraisal experience is required.

The AQB and ASB have up to four face-to-face meetings per year. In-person meetings typically consist of 1½-days of work sessions and a ½-day public meeting. In months when the Boards do not meet in-person, they conduct web or teleconference meetings. 
Individuals serving on the Boards are compensated for their time and are reimbursed for travel expenses. Those individuals selected for a position on the AQB or ASB will serve initial terms of one to three years commencing January 1, 2018.

The Boards Nominating Committee of the Board of Trustees is interested in business leaders from a variety of disciplines and background for positions on these Boards.

Application Deadline is August 21, 2017

Apply Now