Farmland Values on the Upswing
Low interest rates and record income per acre have driven farmland values higher during the last decade. The increase has caused some concern of a repeat of the farm crisis of the 1980s. University of Missouri Extension agricultural economist Ron Plain says there are some similarities between the recent run-up and that of the 1970s.
“On average, farm land values go up about 6% per year. Twice we have deviated from that trend. Back in the 1970s we got way above trend and it looks like that is what is happening again. Last year we were over $500 per acre above trend.”
Plain says that crop values have probably peaked and declining prices for corn, soybean and wheat should be expected going forward. That will reduce income per acre and cause people to be a little less aggressive in chasing farmland…
“If you combine falling crop prices with rising interest rates, we can see land price peaks set and a bit of decline in prices.”
Plain says increased cattle prices will probably push pasture values up in the next few years.
New Federal Govenment Livestock Program
The federal government has started a new livestock identification program to help agriculture officials quickly track livestock in cases of disease.
The program replaces an earlier, voluntary one that failed because of widespread opposition among farmers and ranchers who described it as a costly hassle that didn't help control disease.
Slow Corn Planting Across the Nation
National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson says slow planting progress this early in the season isn’t cause for alarm. The cool, wet spring has delayed planting across much of the country – with USDA reporting just two-percent of total corn acres planted by April 14th. That’s five full percentage points behind the five-year average.
North Carolina Crop Progress Report
In the latest crop progress report, North Carolina reported five days suitable for field work for the week ended April 14th, compared to less than four the previous week. Statewide soil moisture levels were rated at 3% short, 76% adequate and 21% surplus. Average temperatures for the week were well above normal ranging from 56 to 70 degrees. This allowed some of the fields to dry out and farmers get back into the fields.
River Water Can't Meet High Demand
A new report says drought and demand are draining the nation's rivers of water. In the case of the Colorado River — listed as the most endangered in the report — the river is drained of every drop before it reaches the sea. American Rivers president Bob Irvin says the Colorado is a vital resource for the western U.S.
“Demand for water from the Colorado exceeds the supply. It’s a river that provides drinking water to 36 million Americans across 7 states. It irrigates 4 million acres of land providing 15% of the nation’s agricultural products.”
That same report listed the Catawba River in North and South Carolina as the 5th most endangered.