An Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist says farm land rental rates look to be either holding steady or showing some decline. Melissa O’Rourke says landowners and farmers are now negotiating terms for the upcoming crop year and she often hears of cases where rates were too low because a tenant and landlord had entered a long-term lease agreement.
“I had one, I mean I about fell off my chair, when they told me that the producer had been paying 69 dollars-an-acre in cash rent. Another one who came in and said they had been paying 125 an acre in cash rent. A family situation where they were paying 100 dollars an acre cash rent….you know those kinds of cash rents were not keeping up at all with what the expected level should be,” O’Rourke says. She says it’s more important this year to look at the conditions when determining the rent.
“This next year we’re looking at much closer margins, we don’t have the commodity prices we have had in recent years, and for 2014 and maybe a few years looking ahead we’re looking at a much, much tighter situation,”O’Rourke says. “And so, everybody has to sit down, have good communication.” O’Rourke suggest you do some online research to help you with setting rents.
She recommends you go to the Iowa State University Ag Decision maker and look at their research on estimated crop costs and projected budgets. “We’re giving you an idea of what does it cost a producer to put a crop in, and then you can think about what’s a reasonable cash rent based on some projected commodity prices out there,” O’Rourke says. O’Rourke says they are already hearing that farm land rental rates in Illinois will decline slightly in the coming year. She says that’s one indication of what the rates might do in Iowa.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Federal Reserve says the value of agricultural land dropped a percentage point in the last quarter of 2013 and a total of 2 percent for the year. The drop suggests the surge in farmland prices over the past few years may be coming to an end, depressed by lower commodity prices that have reduced farmer income.
Iowa State economics professor Chad Hart told The Des Moines Register that “we’ll likely see lower farm values tied to those lower farm incomes that we’re going to experience in the next year to year and a half.” An Iowa State University survey suggested that land values might have peaked in some parts of the state last year, with prices dropping in northwestern Iowa.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it has taken enforcement action on a Crawford County business. The DNR ordered Farmland Foods to pay a $10,000 penalty for past wastewater violations. The administrative consent order reports Farmland Foods has consistently violated the terms of the industrial treatment agreement since September 2010. The violation was primarily exceeding the nitrogen, biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids.
Denison Municipal Utilities is also mentioned in the order as they issued notices of noncompliance and assessed surcharges against Farmland for the violations of the treatment agreement. To date, Farmland Foods told the DNR they have spent more than $3.7 million on corrective action projects and maintenance since 2010. The processing plant continues to give DMU progress reports bimonthly according to the order.
The Cass County Corn Growers and Cass County Extension Office are hosting an informational meeting in conjunction with representatives of the Iowa Department of Transportation. Javen Smith, President of Cass County Corn Growers says “We welcome area farmers and interested people to hear updates on rules and regulations specifically for agricultural vehicles and equipment.” The meeting will take place on Feb. 24, 2014 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Cass County Community Center, 805 West 10th St., Atlantic, Iowa. Donuts and coffee will be served.
Smith says “A DOT transportation officer will speak. We hope that all people who are interested will come and learn more about these important vehicle issues before the spring planting rush begins.” The public is welcome to attend this event that is sponsored by the Cass County Corn Growers, the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Cass County. No pre-registration is required.
Due to lower prices for corn and soybeans and less money coming from Uncle Sam, a report from the U-S Department of Agriculture predicts a gloomy financial year ahead for farmers. It shows farm income will fall in 2014 as much as 27-percent when compared to last year. U-S-D-A chief economist Joe Glauber says net cash income for farmers is expected to plummet.
Glauber says, “Crop receipts for 2014, we’re projecting those at about $189-billion, that’s down almost 27-billion from 2013, the lowest level since 2010.” For Iowa farmers, if the forecast is correct, it would be the third straight year of declining farm incomes, following lower grain prices last year and the drought in 2012. Glauber says there are a few positive elements in the new forecast, mainly for livestock producers.
“Livestock receipts are up, marginally,” he says. “They’re up at $183.4-billion. It’s the first time in a long while we’ve seen livestock and crop receipts around the same magnitude. Expenses are actually down. We’re forecasting those at $310-billion. That’s down almost 5-billion from last year and that’s largely lower feed costs.” He says part of the reason for the drop in overall farm income is due to changes in the Farm Bill. Farmers won’t receive direct payments any more, while safety net payment guidelines in the new Farm Bill won’t be made, if needed, until 2015.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is hosting public meetings over the Iowa Communications Network on February 26th, from 6 to 9 p.m., to listen to the public’s thoughts on the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall. The nearest meeting locally will be held at the Creston High School. Another meeting will be held in Council Bluffs, but the location has yet to be determined. The meetings are part of the process for making rules in state government.
Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the wildlife bureau says “Any rule changes must be discussed with Iowa’s citizens who might be impacted by the changes before the rule changes are proposed. The process helps ensure that rule changes serve the public’s wishes and do not impact Iowa’s economy.”
At each meeting DNR staff will facilitate a discussion about what went well last fall, what didn’t, and what changes hunters and trappers would like to see for this fall. The discussions along with the data that the wildlife bureau collects on harvest and population numbers will be used to develop recommendations for any rule changes this fall. Any changes must be approved by the Natural Resource Commission and then go back to the public for further comment before taking effect next fall.
A complete list of the ICN meeting locations are available online at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting
Iowa’s new Travel Guide is due out this month. It contains 175 pages of destinations, maps, and ideas for things to do and see across the state. Iowa Tourism office spokesperson Jessica O’Riley says a new section this year attempts to inspire travel with categories like outdoor adventures, wineries and breweries, restaurants, or, living like a local.
Although many vacationers have gone digital, printed copies of the travel guide are still available. “Pre-Internet days, we were printing probably 500,000 travel guides,” O’Riley said. “Now, with the use of our website increasing, were down to 125,000 (printed copies). That’s probably about where we’ll stay because we still see a demand for those from people who want a hard copy in their hands as they’re traveling the state.”
Travelers across Iowa determined the cover design of the 2014 Iowa Travel Guide, as sightseers provided the pictures and Facebook fans voted on the final photo montage. The new Travel Guide will be available next week at Iowa’s Welcome Centers or you can order one online at traveliowa.com.
The Cass, Crawford, and Shelby/Audubon County Conservation Boards has CANCELLED the guided tour out to Kearney, Nebraska March 20-21ST, due to lack of signups. The corresponding informational program on February 15th 1-PM at the Atlantic Public Library is also cancelled.
If you have any questions please call 712-769-2372.