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Monday, September 15, 2014

USDA Updates Cash Rents by County

 

In recent weeks, two sources released cash rent information for Illinois. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released county average cash rents for 2014. The Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers released 2014 and expected 2015 cash rents for professionally managed farmland. Expected 2015 rents point to decreasing cash rent levels on professionally managed farmland. Whether or not other cash rents follow professionally managed cash rents down is an open question.

Average Cash Rents in Illinois

The National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) - an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture - released 2014 average rents per county on September 5, 2014. A number of counties do not have cash rents reported, likely because statistically reliable rents could not be obtained with survey responses.

As can be seen in Figure 1, there is a considerable range in cash rents across Illinois. Four counties had average cash rents over $300 per acre: Logan ($308 per acre), Piatt ($303 per acre), Sangamon ($302 per acre), and Ogle ($300 per acre). Except for Ogle County, these high-rent counties are located in central Illinois. The five counties with the lowest cash rents are Johnson ($80 per acre), Williamson County ($92 per acre), Perry ($106 per acre), Saline ($107 per acre), and Franklin ($108 per acre). These counties with the lowest cash rents are located in southern Illinois. Generally, average cash rent levels are related to productivity, with counties having more productive farmland have higher cash rents than those counties with less productive farmland (farmdoc daily, September 10, 2013).

figure1.jpg

Overall, 2014 average cash rents were higher in 2014 than 2013. According to NASS, the average rent in Illinois increased from $224 per acre in 2013 to $234 per acre in 2014, an increase of 5%. This continued a string of years of large increases. Since 2006, average state rents in Illinois have increased from $132 per acre in 2006 to $234 per acre in 2014, an increase over this eight year period of 77%.

Professional Cash Rents Levels

The Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraiser released results of its annual mid-year survey. This survey asked for 2014 and expected 2015 cash rents on professionally managed farmland. These rents, along with 2013 cash rents from a previous survey, are shown in Table 1. Average rent levels are shown for four classes of farmland productivity:

Excellent - expected corn yields are over 190 bushels per acre
Good - expected corn yields are between 170 and 190 bushels per acre,
Average - expected corn yields are between 150 and 170 bushels per acre, and
Fair - expected corn yields are below 150 bushels per acre.
table1.jpg

Average cash rents decreased between 2013 and 2014. For excellent quality farmland, cash rents decreased from $396 per acre to $374 per acre in 2014, a decrease of $14 per acre.

Decreases for professionally managed farmland stands in contrast to average cash rents, which increased from $224 per acre in 2013 to $234 per acre in 2014. Farm managers follow agricultural markets, likely much more closely than land owners without management. As a result, farm managers likely set rents closer to those suggested by market conditions. Cash rents on professionally managed farmland increased faster than average cash rents between 2006 and 2013, when returns rose as a result of higher prices. Now that prices have decreased from levels experienced during 2009 through 2013, farm managers are lowering cash rents. On farmland, not managed there may be considerably more lagged relationship between changes in returns and changes in rent levels.

On professionally managed farmland, cash rents likely will continue to decline into 2015. For all quality classes, Society members indicated that rents would be lower in 2015. For excellent quality farmland, for example, cash rents are projected to decrease from $374 per acre in 2014 to $338 per acre in 2014, a decrease of $36 per acre (see Table 1). If the decrease occurs, cash rents would decrease by about 10%.

There is a considerable range in cash rents for similar productivity farmland within a small geographical area, with some rents above the average by $100 and other rents below the average by $100. Below average cash rents could continue to increase to "catch up" with average levels. At the same time, above average cash rents could decrease, as indicated by results from the Illinois Society. These two forces could counter each other, leading to stable or maybe even increasing average cash rent levels.

Projections are for much lower returns in 2014 and 2015 return (farmdoc daily, July 8, 2014). Even with decreases in cash rents projected by the Illinois Society, farmer returns would be projected to decrease because returns have decreased more than cash rents.

Summary

Rents on professionally managed farmland could decrease in 2015. Other above average cash rents could decrease as well. However, below average cash rents may remain stable or increase. Overall, rent decreases likely will not cover decreases in lower returns projected for 2014 and 2015.

Setting Silage Chop for Best Digestion

Corn silage can make up to as much as thirty to forty percent of a dairy cow’s diet. So, it is really important to get it right. That starts in the field. See more on some University of Illinois work on harvesting silage.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Conserving Soil & Protecting Water - it's kinda what we do...


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Farm Program Decision & WILLAg Outlook Panels Scheduled

Book your WILLAg event today for this fall or winter. We'll be glad to work with you to set up a WILLAg Panel of analysts to discuss the commodity markets, arrange for University of Illinois campus based agricultural specialists in economics, crops, or livestock, or simply to come speak to your group or organization. Contact Todd Gleason for complete details.

Todd E. Gleason, Farm Broadcaster
College of ACES / Univesity of Illinois Extension
tgleason@illinois.edu or (217) 333-9697

Click on an event for complete details...

 

August Corn Estimates

Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour results are plotted here against the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistic Service corn yield projections and the Pro Farmer Newsletter estimates. USDA NASS estimates are as of August 1, 2014 and the Pro Farmer crop tour yields were taken the week beginning Monday August 18. The Pro Farmer estimates were made August 22, 2014.
The final Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour estimates tallied corn and soybean yields across seven Midwestern states stretching through the primary corn growing counties in the United States. The tour is watched closely by those in the grain and oilseed trade. However, it should be noted USDA gathers much more objective and survey based information about the size of U.S. crops. 
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2014 Midwest Pro Farmer Tour Results
Corn        Soybean      State
182.11     1342.42       Ohio
185.03     1220.79       Indiana
196.96     1299.17       Illinois
178.75     1173.59       Iowa
163.77     1103.26       Nebraska
170.76     1031.54       Minnesota
152.71     1057.80       South Dakota

Sunday, August 17, 2014

ARC-CO and PLC Payment Indicator Using August WASDE U.S. Yield and Price

by Carl Zulauf, The Ohio State University & Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois
The 2014 farm bill gives Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm owners the option to choose their crop program for the 2014 through 2018 crop years. A factor, perhaps key factor that will influence this decision is the payment by the program choices for the 2014 crop year. This article uses the just released U.S. yield and price estimates in the August 2014 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) to calculate an indicator of potential payments by the Agriculture Revenue Coverage - county program (ARC-CO) and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. The indicator estimates are for the 2014 crop year for barley, corn, oats, long grain rice, medium (and short) grain rice, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat.  These are indicator estimates because they use U.S. yield not county yield or farm payment yield, as ARC-CO and PLC use, respectively.  AR-CO payments, for example, will vary across counties, with some counties having no payments due to high yields and some counties having large payments due to low yields.  Thus, this article is not estimating payments that an individual FSA farm owner would receive.  Nevertheless, the indicator estimates using U.S. yields should help frame questions and perspectives for FSA farm owners regarding program choices.
Calculation of Estimated Program Payments
ARC-CO makes payments when county revenue for the crop year is less than 86% of the county's benchmark revenue.  ARC-CO pays when actual revenue is between 76% and 86% of benchmark revenue.  PLC makes payments when the U.S. crop year average price is less than the crop's reference price.  The reference price is

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Four Items of Interest for the Week of August 10, 2014

U of I Agronomy Day Thursday

A note for the weekend with four items from Todd Gleason ACES / Extension / WILLAg.
  1. Check out WILLAg's Commodity Week! I tried an experimental format and would like to know what you think. Panelist included Matt Bennett, Jacquie Voeks, & Mike Zuzolo. Shoot me an email with your thoughts - tgleason@illinois.edu.
  2. Watch your email for WILLAg's Crop Production & WASDE Newsletter special from Dave Dickey. The reports are due out from USDA at 11am central Tuesday.
  3. Thursday is Agronomy Day on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana-Champaign. Todd will emcee the day on the south farms just east of the State Farm Center (the Assembly Hall) on St. Mary's road. See details a bit further down.
  4. Thursday night kicks off the fall WILLAg Outlook Panel schedule in Shelbyville. The details are slow coming in on that one, but check out this webpage Monday for the finalized event.
Todd Gleason
(217) 333-9697
twitter @commodityweek

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Thursday August 14, 2014 - 7am-Noon

Explore the latest breakthroughs in agriculture and technology with researchers and Extension specialists from the University of Illinois this Thursday at the University of Illinois south farms research plots. The day starts at 7am just to the east of the State Farm Center (Assembly Hall) on St. Mary's Road. Each tour lasts about an hour, so please come early if you plan to take all four tours. Field tours depart from the St. Mary's location, making stops at

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Would You Eat GMO Sweetcorn


Saturday, August 2, 2014

USDA says ARC/PLC Sign Up Winter 2015

Friday the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency made a series of announcements related to the new farm programs' signup period. Farmers will make final irrevocable decisions between the ARC & PLC programs sometime after January 1, 2015.

timeline posted to USDA FSA website August 1, 2014
Letters are in the mail this month notifying farm operators of current base acres and yields, along with 2009-2012 planting histories. The letter asks these numbers be confirmed or updated as the first part of the sign up process. 

Online tools are under development at the University of Illinois to aid producers throughout the nation. Those tools may be ready by the official end of summer (September 22, 2014), but have not yet been released.

The following note was posted the USDA FSA website August 1, 2014;

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2014 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced today that farmers should start receiving notices updating them on their current base acres, yields and 2009-2012 planting history. The written updates are an important part of preparing agricultural producers for the new safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“We’re sending these reports to make sure that farmers and ranchers have key information as they make critical decisions about programs that impact their livelihood,” said Garcia. “It’s important that producers take a few minutes to cross check the information they receive with their own farm records. If the information is correct, no further action is needed at this time. But if our letter is incomplete or incorrect, producers need to contact their local FSA county office as soon as possible.”

Verifying the accuracy of data on a farm’s acreage history is an important step for producers enrolling in the upcoming Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. Later this summer, farmers and ranchers will have an opportunity to update their crop yield information and reallocate base acres.

“We’re working hard to prepare and educate farmers on the new programs created by the 2014 Farm Bill,” added Garcia. “I encourage producers to bring their USDA notice to any scheduled appointments with the local FSA county office. This will help ensure they have the information they need with them to discuss the available program options.”

By mid-winter all producers on a farm will be required to make a one-time, unanimous and irrevocable election between price protection and county revenue protection or individual revenue protection for 2014-2018 crop years. Producers can expect to sign contracts for ARC or PLC for the 2014 and 2015 crop years in early 2015.

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (includes short grain rice and temperate japonica rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed, and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It is True – 20% of the Farms Produce Most of the Value

The 2012 Census of Agriculture hold many unique facts. Researchers at the University of Illinois have been digging through the numbers to find some plumbs. Todd Gleason reports it seems an old adage is borne out by the figures.

There were about 75 thousand farms in Illinois when the 2012 Census of Agriculture was taken by the United Stated Department of Agriculture. The census, by two different measures – acreage operated & value of production – suggests the majority of Illinois farms are small by either categorization. However, there are two interesting facts that flow with these categorizations. The smaller the farm the more likely it is to produce livestock of less total value, and the larger the farm the more likely it is to produce crops – mostly grains and oilseeds - of much greater value.

The Census of Agriculture defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the reference year. The Census classifies each farm's production specialization based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). A "Livestock" farm is

Storing the 2014 Corn Crop

URBANA, IL. – The majority of annually produced crops such as corn obviously have to be stored. According to a University of Illinois agricultural economist, for corn producers, the question at harvest time will be who will store the portion of the crop which has not yet been sold.



“The portion of the crop that has not been sold can be sold at harvest for someone else to store, or the producer can store the crop on the farm or in commercial facilities,” said Darrel Good. “For the portion of the crop stored by the producer, the second question is whether the stored crop should be priced for later delivery or held unpriced. That decision is influenced by the magnitude of the carry in the corn market, the cost of storage, and expectations about the change in corn prices after harvest.”

Good explained that for corn that is stored and priced for later delivery, the price for later delivery needs to

Will Crop Insurance Make Payments in 2014?



by Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois

In Illinois, crop insurance payments on corn likely will be lower in 2014 than in 2012 and 2013. Crop insurance payments in 2014 likely will not be large for soybeans. For both corn and soybeans, harvest prices will be lower than projected prices. However, above average yields likely will counter price decreases, leading to low crop insurance payments. Somewhat ironically, crop insurance payments likely will be lower in 2014 than in 2012 and 2013. At the same time, revenue and returns will be much lower in 2014 than in 2012 and 2013.

Product Choices of Farmers

In this article, focus is placed on revenue insurance products at high coverage levels, as most farmers purchase these products. The four revenue products available in

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fish Farm Challenge

The National 4-H Foundation and Monsanto have put together an educational series for kids at summer camp. Learn how the Fish Farm Challenge is helping boys and girls understand world hunger, world population, science, and engineering.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

EPA Administrator McCarthy Speech to Agriculture

SPEECH EXCERPTS from U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's July 10, 2014 speech on the Clean Water Act proposal that United States agricultural interest fear will broaden the 'navigable waters' definition leading to greater governmental regulation of farm ditches, etc.
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Today, I’m here to talk about our Clean Water Act proposal, which was called for by the Supreme Court and by numerous state organizations, as well as numerous agriculture stakeholder groups. The aim of this proposal is clear: to clear up legal confusion and protect waters that are vital to our health, using sound science so that EPA can get its job done. It is crucial that we keep farmers and the ag industry as a whole doing what they do best: producing the food, fuel, and fiber that provide for our American way of life. The kinds of water bodies we’ll protect provide drinking water to 1 in 3 Americans.
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We agree that people have a right to healthy land and clean water, so we have to make sure people understand that the practices we put in place are reasonable and consistently applied. That’s how we make sure everyone is playing by the same rules, and that everyone can fully work their farms and ranches with confidence and certainty. All of us rely on science and accurate facts. Farmers need to know what to plant and when to plant it, and EPA needs to know how to protect our precious water resources for everyone to enjoy. So it’s great to be here to talk facts and roll up our sleeves to work together to benefit producers and public health.
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Yesterday, we heard very clearly some of the concerns about our proposed rule. Let me clear up some of that: We heard fears that EPA is regulating groundwater. This is not true; groundwater regulations do and will fall under the purview of the states. EPA is not regulating all activities in floodplains, or every puddle, dry wash, and erosional feature. In fact, we’re doing just the opposite. If cattle cross a wet field – let them. That’s a normal farming practice, and all normal farming practices are still exempt. The bottom line is – if you didn’t need a permit before this proposed rule, you won’t need one when it’s finalized.
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So let’s talk about the interpretive rule and the 56 conservation practices that are good for production and good for water quality. That rule seems to have generated lots of confusion. So, why did we want to list out those 56 practices? Those 56 are an attempt to clear the path for slam dunk conservation practices. We did not narrow exemptions; those 56 are a subset to the existing exemptions for normal farming, ranching, and silviculture. No one should have to think twice about taking advantage of these conservation practices.

Some mistakenly think that this means additional federal standards with which to comply, but that’s wrong. Conservation practice standards are not federal regulatory standards. They just provide a roadmap for producers to make sure they’re squeezing all they can out of their practice.

New exemptions are “self-implementing,” which means no one needs to notify or get approval from EPA or the Corps. There’s no need to double check with anyone at any time. I’m sure farmers agree that the best discussion on jurisdictional determinations is one that never needs to happen. We added 56 exemptions because we want to boost conservation without boosting bureaucracy. Is the interpretive rule the best way to do that? Let’s figure that out together. I am about outcomes, not process. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What if this is an 173.6 bpa year?

This week University of Illinois ag economist Scott Irwin and Darrel Good have posted an article to the farmdocdaily website. It poises the question of just how big a really big United States corn yield could become. The answer, based on past history, is 173.6 bushels to the acre. 

That's the average bpa deviation of the previous 6 largest deviations from trend yield since 1960. Those are shown in the included graph. The largest percentage deviation in the trend came in 1972 at 15.2 percent. 

While the crop conditions reported by USDA each Monday support the potential for such a record setting national average yield for corn, the two caution this year does not following the normal pattern of the other six. The normal pattern is for near or just above normal rainfall and lower than average temperatures in the three I states; Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. However, the number one corn producing state of those three (and the nation), Iowa, had nearly twice the June rain. 

"There is no historical precedent in the last five decades for an extremely high corn yield relative to trend (1972, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1994, 2004, and 2009) when Illinois, Indiana, or Iowa had such an extreme amount of precipitation during June" write the two ILLINOIS agricultural number crunchers. They add, "the same conclusion also holds when other major corn-producing states are included in the analysis". 

It doesn't mean such an exception won't occur, but rather that it has not happened before. History points to record yields with cooler, wetter weather runs through August. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Risky Business Study with Cargill's Greg Page

A group of business people and political leaders have released a project called Risky Business. University of Illinois Extension's Todd Gleason has more on the study and how it might be used in the Midwest to assess and mitigate the financial risk associated with climate change with Cargill's Chairman of the Board Greg Page.

Click on the arrow below to listen to the interview. You may visit www.riskybusiness.org for more complete details of the study.