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December' 2011

Looking Ahead To 2012

2012 is setting up to be another interesting year in the agriculture industry, following a fairly profitable year in 2011 for most crop and livestock producers in the upper Midwest., with the exception of some erratic weather problems in some areas during the year. Following are some items that are likely to be on the forefront in the agriculture industry for 2012 : [ read more ... ]

2011 Ag Year In Review

As we reach the end of the year, it is a good time to reflect on what happened agriculturally in the region in 2011. Following are some highlights regarding crop production, grain prices, crop input costs, and livestock profits for 2011. [ read more ... ]

New Farm Bill Stalled

In mid-November it appeared that we may be heading for a quick resolution toward adopting a new Farm Bill. U.S. Senate Ag Committee Chair, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), and U.S. House Ag Committee Chair, Representative Frank Lucas (R-Oklahoma), drafted potential new Farm Bill language to be included in a proposed Congressional Super  Committee agreement to reduce the Federal Budget deficit by $1.2 trillion. The Super Committee did not reach agreement, so there was never an opportunity to have the new Farm Bill proposal included in any final agreement. [ read more ... ]

Flexible Cash Rental Leases

The continued strength in corn and soybean commodity prices in the past few months, and the resulting projected increase in crop income per acre, has caused many landlords to consider significant increases in cash rental rates on rented farm land for 2012. This comes after substantial increases in many rental rates from 2008-2011. Many crop producers are concerned that the favorable crop prices may not last long term, and that the gross income per acre in future years may not be high enough to justify the higher cash rental rates that are being proposed for the 2012, or potential future rental rate increases. In addition, crop input costs for seed, fertilizer, chemicals, fuel, and crop drying are likely to be higher in 2012, as compared to the 2011 crop year. An alternative to the proposed high cash rental rates for 2012, or potentially even higher rental rates in the future, may be for producers and landlords to consider a “flexible cash lease” rental agreement, which allows the final cash rental rate to vary as crop yields and market prices vary, or as gross revenue per acre exceeds established targets. [ read more ... ]