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Join Me at This Year’s Monopoly Fundraiser in West Des Moines

This year’s Monopoly Game Tournament is scheduled for April 30, and you’re invited to play in support of a good cause at the Embassy Club West Des Moines.

The 2015 tournament – sponsored by Peoples Company, UNI Business and NAI Optimum – will be flush with opportunities to network with UNI Real Estate and Finance students, alumni and other employers.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the UNI Center for Real Estate Education, including program operating expenses, student development activities and continuation of the school’s state-of-the art curriculum.

The tournament runs from 4:30 to 8 p.m., with a preliminary round and a final round each lasting one hour, as five dealmakers per table try to accumulate more property, wealth and Monopoly cash than their fellow players.

You can register to play for $75. Table sponsorships are available for $500. Sponsorship includes recognition at the table being sponsored. In addition to the appetizers, each participant and sponsor will be provided with two drink tickets redeemable at the cash bar.

My challenge for you is to monopolize on an opportunity to support real estate education in Iowa, have fun testing your skills, and enjoy some friendly competition in this ever-popular American board game.

Contact Becky Rozenboom at (515) 222-1347 with any questions – or to register today. We look forward to sitting down with you on Thursday, April 30, at the Embassy Club in West Des Moines.

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March 2015: Iowa RLI Land Trends, Land Values Survey

IOWA, March 31, 2015 – The Iowa Chapter of REALTORS® Land Institute is pleased to announce the results of our March 2015 Land Trends and Values Survey. Our REALTORS® Land Institute Chapter is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS® and is organized for REALTORS® who specialize in farm and land sales, management, development and appraisal. Participants in the survey are specialists in farmland, and are asked for their opinions about the current status of the Iowa farmland market.

Participants were asked to estimate the average value of farmland as of March 1, 2015. These estimates are for bare, unimproved land with a sale price on a cash basis. Pasture and timberland values were also requested as supplemental information.

The results of these surveys show a statewide average decrease of cropland values of -7.6% for the September 2014 to March 2015 period. Combining this decrease with the -3.4% decrease reported in September 2014 indicates a statewide average decrease of -11.0% for the year from March 1, 2014 to March 1, 2015.

The nine Iowa crop reporting districts all showed a decrease in value. The districts varied from a -4.6% in SW district to an 11.0% decrease in NE district since September 2014.

Factors contributing to current farmland values include: lower commodity prices, limited amount of land on market. Other factors include: lack of stable alternative investments, cash on hand, and increasing interest rates.

The Iowa REALTORS® Land Institute farmland value survey has been conducted in March and September since 1978. This survey plus the RLI Farm and Ranch Multiple Listing Service are activities of REALTORS® specializing in agricultural land brokerage on a daily basis.

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Land Investment Monthly – March 2015

The Land Investment Monthly is a round-up of articles and headlines published by the farm press, business media and financial publications with insights into buying, selling or investing in farmland, recreational ground or development ground. Follow Steve Bruere @SBruere on Twitter and find Peoples Company on Facebook for the latest land listings, auction results, upcoming events and real estate news. To subscribe to my monthly updates via email, send a message to Steve@PeoplesCompany.com with “Land Investment Monthly” in the subject line.

Best Choice
CNBC reported in March that farmland is the best choice for a long-term real estate investment. The $1.5 million Black Sea Agriculture fund, which could grow to $10 million within two years, purchases prime ag land and earns an income by leasing it back to local farmers. CNBC explores the population growth and increased food consumption that is driving demands for produce high-quality protein in developing nations. The publication looks at how owners of quality farmland are expected to benefit from these trends, alongside increasing interest demonstrated by institutional investors. “More people need to get into farming,” said commodity investor and international Quantum Fund co-founder Jim Rogers. Otherwise, we won’t have any food.”
Read more.

On the Pulse
Tracking the pulse of the land market requires a definition of what that means in terms of both the quality and location of a particular farm. Peoples Company Land Agent Matt Adams runs down a scenario involving two land auctions, and a case study that requires no crystal ball to see the disparity. His article sums up the non-quantifiable characteristics of farmland that can make a difference in terms of performance – a great, average, or poor sale of a parcel of land.
Read more.

Wealth Effect
The use of technology to track assets in real time while considering the social impact of diverse investment decisions was the topic of interest in a new Barron’s article about the preferences of the world’s richest people. “What’s the impact of my investment, not just the return?” That’s how Jeff Kauffman, head of Chicago-based Northern Trust Global Family Office, puts it. The worth of his average customer stands at nearly $800 million.
Read more.

Pay Dirt
Direct investing in U.S. farmland has averaged annual returns of close to 17 percent over the past decade. So what’s the story behind this consistently high rate of return for those putting their money in dirt? The United Nations has estimated that world food production will have to increase by 60 percent just to keep up with the demand. Arable land suitable for farming comprises only 10 percent of the world’s ag real estate. The Chinese population alone consumes around 200 million tons of food per year. Business Insider, repurposing LandFund Partner’s comprehensive article on the fundamentals of supply and demand, reported on the consistently high investment returns that will likely continue for purveyors of U.S. farm ground.
Read more.

Memory Lane
John Hutchcroft has ridden out the highs and the lows of the farmland and commodities markets back to 1980s. A new blog posts reflects on how the Peoples Company Land Agent’s family adjusted their business-thought process to survive the downturn, and live through the 80s stall. From right-financing business debt to the use of off-farm income to weather a storm, Hutchcroft summarizes both his personal experience and lessons learned.
Read more.

Bone Dry
Bone-dry conditions in California have led Crain Communications to publish a report encouraging farmland investors to establish a strategy for managing the risk and potential harm of historic droughts. Crain reports that investors both with an ownership stake and without an ownership stake in farmland are expected to keep a close eye on the nation’s drought-related headlines while considering how the supply of water could affect their portfolios.
Read more.

Viet Farms
Vietnam’s richest tycoons are expanding with an investment in the agriculture sector as private investors in the Southeast Asia nation channel hundreds of millions of dollars into cattle breeding, as well as growing corn and sugarcane. Despite barriers to entry that include finding large enough swaths of contiguous land on which to produce, farming is less capital intensive, poses fewer risks, and consistently brings profits compared to alternative real estate properties. Thanh Nien News reports on current market conditions in Vietnam, where the primary exports are coffee, pepper and woodwork items.
Read more.

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Iowa Farmland – Tracking the ‘Pulse’

If one were to try and take the actual “pulse” of the land market right now, an accurate count would be dependent on first defining what that means in light of both the quality of available farms, as well as their location.

Iowa FarmlandIt seems those working to take this “pulse” may want to invest in a crystal ball instead of a heart rate monitor as that’s what would likely be required to see where land prices are and be able to consistently estimate a sales price for a parcel of land currently on the market or an upcoming auction.

There are several variables affecting the farmland market right now. Some are bearish; some bullish. At the same time, considering a “teeter-totter” effect, there are strong arguments that the bearish factors would outweigh the bullish right now.

The quantifiable characteristics of farmland include its CSR, proven yield data, drainage, and soil types. The understanding of these characteristics, and how they relate to both short and long-term goals for or use of land, allow for greater consistency in comparing for shopping for a farm.

The non-quantifiable characteristics of farmland are location, available 1031 exchange money, gauging of investor interest and, of course, overall desirability by the local landowners. These can make a difference in terms of performance in either a great, average, or poor sale of a parcel of land.

One example highlighting the difference between these characteristics was the recent sale of a highly productive 70-acre tract of Iowa farmland near the Boone-Story county line. The land, with a Corn Suitability Rating (CSR) of 82.3, sold at a Peoples Company Land Auction.

“We hope the Fire Marshall doesn’t drive by,” someone joked for fear that the auction may be shut down as more than 100 investors, farmers, bankers, real estate professionals and onlookers had managed to squeeze their way into the community center.

Land Agent Matt Adams said no fire broke out, and the risk of being reprimanded by the Fire Marshall was avoided. The auction concluded with a satisfactory sold price of $10,900 per acre. “I always get a tad anxious before our auctions because of the uncertainty of how the bidding will go,” Adams said. “We were convinced and had consulted with the seller of the farm to expect a possible sales price between $8,750 and $9,500 per acre.”

Another recent auction in Story County near Zearing, Iowa, featured a total of 360 acres for sale and with a respectable CSR in the low 70s. In this example, the auction rang up as a “no sale.” Though these farms are each located in the same county and both have productive soil types, the farm near Slater would be classified as an “A-quality” farm, while the farm near Zearing would be considered a “B-quality” farm.  The differences between one being an “A” quality farm and the other being a “B” quality farm could be determined by looking at a farm’s soil types, drainage, and the location; particularly whether it is an area that attracts farmer and investor interest.

The point is that the value of an “A-quality” farm in an “A-quality” area is expected to remain strong with only a slight discount – if any – from the prices they had commanded in the past few years. On the other hand, the value of a “B-quality” farm in an “A-quality” area will suffer and will have less interest from buyers. There are several examples of land sales that show the deviation between farms that may look similar on paper, yet result in very different outcomes.

Many conversations taking place right now in agricultural real estate tend to gravitate toward what land values are doing, where they are going, and the factors that affect them. A spreadsheet isn’t required to conclude that farm profitability will be less in the short term than what it has been during the past several years.

Even with a restorative extension of Section 179 bonus depreciation back to December 31, 2014 – potentially benefiting those who had made capital investments last year – there are fewer dollars flowing into today’s purchases of new equipment, machine shops and buildings, and grain bins.

Unfortunately, the drop in grain farming and forecasted markets has the potential to make a few examples out of farming operations that didn’t have as strong of a balance sheet as others.

It’s hard to believe that – approximately one year ago – debt-to-asset ratios were at or close to an all-time low. Now, with commodity prices dropping, it would be expected that some of that equity gained would be given back.

The ability to purchase the lion’s share of the farms still belongs by and large to the farmers. Though many feel that will continue – especially given that nearly 80 percent of the land in Iowa is owned free and clear without a mortgage – there are also institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals who will continue to play a larger role in the acquisition of farmland.

These buyers have always had an appetite for farmland, but have been more-often-than-not been outbid by the farmer the last few years. The benefit of more investors entering the market is that they can serve as a “checks-and-balance” with the majority requiring a consistent rate of return. The investor-buyer is also more apt to purchase more with their heads and less with their hearts.

That means the investor will rely on the farm or the farm tenant to provide a certain rate of return.

This variation and uncertainty in land values is one of the more difficult tasks – and also one of the greater opportunities – for land brokerage professionals to differentiate themselves. Being able to capitalize on those “A-quality” areas and execute on alternative options to get results in “B-quality” areas a reason why landowners should seek the highest-quality real estate agent.

“When a client is asking you to provide them with a value and marketing plan for their property, they are going to use the information we give them to make large financial decisions, and it adds a level of sincerity,” Adams said. “The Peoples Company team has always felt as though we can deliver maximum results in any given market, but even more so in a less-aggressive land market.

“In the past few years, it appeared as if anybody with a pulse could have taken advantage of a hot land market to sell farmland. Today, a much more aggressive marketing style and creative approaches, such as sale-leasebacks and IRA purchases, are required to get things sold.”

If you are considering the acquisition, liquidation, or management of your farm or land; contact Matt Adams with Peoples Company for a confidential consultation. Learn more about the aforementioned aggressive marketing strategy and creative approaches to helping you accomplish your farm and land ownership goals.

Posted in Headlines, In The News, Land Auctions, Land Investing, Land Management, Land Sales, Land Values | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

1980s Agriculture – Lessons Learned, Remembered, Shared

Agriculture marks a significant milestone in 2015. Farmers and investors have ridden the train together to new plateaus in both the grain and livestock industries. Interest rates have remained at historical lows. For the first time in years, the general consensus points toward lower grain prices, hence lower land prices.

John Hutchcroft

My family and I went through a downturn 35 years ago. I am a product of the 1980s’ Farm Crisis. I went in on the farm operation in 1976, right out of high school, then on to Iowa State University during the winters of 1976 and 1977.

Ultimately, I went back to the farm for good.

Even at the time, getting bigger was the key to getting more efficient. In fact, it still is. We increased the dairy herd, rented seven more farms, back-grounded feeder cattle, and had a sizable custom farming business. Farming seemed like the place to be. What could go wrong?

Inputs were inline, but inflation kicked in, interest rates rose to 18 percent, and farm commodities tanked. Luckily I had a business mentor who shared the advice to help me survive during that time, and his advice has stayed and will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Our family had to readjust our business thought process; how we spent and how we lived during the 80s stall.

That experience and advice has helped to shape me, and to shape future business decisions.

How I view what could happen with cash flow and land values in the upcoming three years.
Recommended Ag Business Strategies:

1. Make sure your long-term debts are financed right for your business. Lock in your interest rates! Three-to-five-year balloon payments can take you out in a sideways market.

2. Make sure your operation isn’t overpowered on machinery. Trade down to cheaper horsepower, or lease or hire a custom farm operator to perform aspects of production for you. Try to bring down that metal-payment in case you have a short crop and / or disappointing prices. Don’t base these decisions on what you think your neighbors think. The grass isn’t always greener in their yard. They probably are having the same problems that you are. Make solid decisions that will help your family long term.

3. Don’t be afraid to pay some income tax. Buying a depreciating item to stay ahead of the IRS can backfire by adding to your short-term and intermediate-term debt load. However, I am a proponent of purchasing real estate when purchased right.

4. Be conservative and question your motives on capital expenditures. Ask yourself “Can I operate next year without this?”

5. Look ahead three, five, or 10 years on your business plan.

6. Off-farm income helps you weather the storm.

7. Don’t be afraid to make changes in your operation that will benefit your family long-term. Look beyond the mainstream of how your operation can handle the downturns. I tell my sons “Never get married to anything that doesn’t have a pulse.”

The next three years may be a learning curve for this generation of farmers. You may have to sell off something that you think you are attached to, but is replaceable. I wonder what will be written in the agricultural history books 10 years from now? We have more cash in the market than in the 80s. We do handle more money today on inputs and rolling stock, but will the low interest rates stay in place?

Long term, I would still rather own land and look for opportunities in a sideways market. Even if land values corrects themselves by 25 percent, you can still see it and drive on it unlike going to the mailbox and seeing the value of paper investments going away.

Good luck!

John Hutchcroft has been with People’s Company for 10 years, and has been a licensed real estate agent in Iowa since 1992. John farmed actively with his family for 34 years with dairy, beef, hogs, and grain west of Indianola, Iowa. He has rented out the land the last five years to pursue his real estate career full time.

Posted in Agribusiness, Land Investing, Land Management | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farm CPA Neiffer on Iowa ARC-Co Payments

Paul Neiffer, CPA, takes a close look at Warren and Dallas counties in light of yield histories and the recent “coffee talk” surrounding ARC-Co payments. He covers off on why your neighbor may have received one and you may have not. Neiffer, a partner with CliftonLarsonAllen in Yakima, Washington, is a regular speaker at national conferences and contributor at agweb.com. He was raised on a farm in central Washington, and has been heavily involved with the agriculture industry his entire life. Check out the excerpt below and click here to visit www.farmcpatoday.com for the rest of the story.

Paul Nieffer, Farm CPA

South Central Iowa has the lowest yields compared to any other section of Iowa in most years. However, this year, they had record yields and thus, they are likely not to get any ARC-CO payment since their increased yield offset the reduction in corn prices.

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Land Investment Monthly – February 2015

The Land Investment Monthly is a round-up of articles and headlines published by the farm press, business media and financial publications with insights into buying, selling or investing in farmland, recreational ground or development ground. Follow Steve Bruere @SBruere on Twitter and find Peoples Company on Facebook for the latest land listings, auction results, upcoming events and real estate news. To subscribe to my monthly updates via email, send a message to Steve@PeoplesCompany.com with “Land Investment Monthly” in the subject line.

All Business
Des Moines Register Business Reporter Donnelle Eller presents a report covering diverse views shared from the main stage of the 2015 Land Investment Expo with Dennis Gartman’s outlook on oil, Jim Knuth’s take on ag real estate values, and Donald Trump’s thoughts on investing in Iowa farmland.
Read more.

Land Expo Q&A
A play-by-play of Land Investment Expo moderator Ken Root’s sit-down Q&A with Donald Trump at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel in January 2015. Jeannine Otto, AgriNews Field Editor, reports on the billionaire real estate investor, developer and builder, author and celebrity.
Read more.

Dealing Dirt
Jeffrey Obrecht, Peoples Company’s “Dirt Dealer,” poses a question and challenges land professionals to consider the power of practicality along with honest, no-obligation consultations in modern times. Land auction or private treaty? “For some of us, it means getting the rust out and trying to remember how we used to sell farms,” he said.
Read more.

Raw Deal
The Real Estate Radio Guys, Robert Helm and Russell Gray, engage me and 2015 Land Expo speaker Dennis Gartman for a “Dirt to Dollars” article and interview that presents a view of agricultural real estate as a long-term investment that cash flows. Scroll to the bottom of the article and press play to “Listen Now.”
Read more.

Common Ground
Institutional Investor reports on a growing hunger for real assets and income-producing agricultural properties, such as farmland and commodities, among concerns over inflation. The article covers the recent activities of three land funds – Equilibrium Capital, ACM Permanent Crop Fund and Washington State Investment Board – with 60 percent of respondents to a BlackRock survey reportedly planning to allocate at least one type of real asset over the next 18 months.
Read more.

Ag Credit
Agriculture.com reports on an increase in borrowing, primarily for farm operating expenses, following a slowdown in capital expenditures and amid a decline in grain prices. Multimedia Editor Jeff Caldwell’s article suggests that the ag lending industry is on solid ground. Survey respondents in all Federal Reserve Districts, including Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Kansas City, had indicated the majority of producers were keeping up on their bills, and only a slight uptick in collateral requirements was reported. The Kansas City Fed’s Nathan Kauffman said profit margins in the farm sector could play a major role in determining whether “agricultural credit conditions improve or worsen in the coming year.”
Read more.

Socially Responsible Land Investing

Sustainable Momentum
Yield-boosting genetics and production technologies will be required to keep up with global demands for corn and soybeans as more farmland is annexed into urban areas. The EPA estimates that 29 million acres of U.S. farmland were lost between 2000 and 2012. The Motley Fools covers Monsanto, which is developing new platforms that will allow for fewer inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, at the same time increasing efficiency and helping to encouraging higher yields in more sustainable environments. “Sure enough, it also ensures that individual investors will continue to see market-beating returns,” reports Maxx Chatsko. “It’s a win-win-win.”
Read more.

Self-Directed IRAs
The tangible feel of hard assets are driving buyers to consider the benefit of using IRAs for real estateinvestments. Self-directed IRAs, allowing for an investment in real estate such as farmland, is permissible by law given that a custodian is in place to hold the assets for the IRA owner. Click below to read more in article published by U.S. News and World Report. Click here to view a Peoples Company YouTube webinar presentation of “Land Investment Opportunities in Your Self-Directed IRA.”
Read more.

Almond Water
The production of almonds in the California’s western Fresno County has doubled since 2005, and statewide the market value of almond reached $4.8 billion in 2012. Matt Black’s first-person account of this “white-hot” global commodity reflects his astonishment with the nut – which requires greater quantities of water to produce than corn or soybeans – through the lens of California’s worst drought in decades.
Read more.

Friendly Skies
New and ag friendly rules proposed for the commercial use of drone technology could lead to greater adoption and increases in productivity for farm producers, land appraisers and real estate professionals. The Des Moines Register, with attribution to Peoples Company drone operator Alan McNeil, takes a fresh look at FAA’s proposal and opportunities to drive greater efficiency and innovation in Iowa’s ag, real estate and tech fields.
Read more.

Interesting Land
Gene Lucht of Iowa Farmer Today digs in with his coverage of the 2015 Land Expo, including the comments of Lafayette College economist Edmund Siefried, who said those interested in land may want to consider a purchase now as interest rates could rise in the next year or two. Questions surrounding oil, land values and appreciation are each explored in this comprehensive report.
Read more.

Posted in Agribusiness, Headlines, In The News, Land Appraisal, Land Investing, Land Management, Land Values | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peoples Company Land Appraisers Join ASFMRA

Members of the Peoples Company appraisal and brokerage team, including Rick Shafer, Brad Hayes, Shelby Spratte and Landon Maynes, have joined the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA). The group joins current ASFMRA members and Peoples Company associates Jeffrey T. Obrecht and Randy Luze.

Peoples Company values ASFMRA’s commitment to ensuring that its members adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional ethics. The society offers intensives courses, classroom training and an abundance of educational resources aimed at inspiring land professionals who provide valuation, management, and consultation services on rural and agricultural assets.

Peoples Company’s commitment to empowering land decision-makers in collaborative learning and networking environments goes hand-in-hand with the relationship-driven brand that our agents and staff are working to build via membership in organizations such as the ASFMRA.

Please join us in congratulating Brad and Rick, who have qualified for the ASFMRA mentoring program, along with Shelby, Landon and each agricultural real estate professional whose objective and competent performance stands out in the real estate appraisal and farm management space.

Posted in Agribusiness, Headlines, In The News, Land Appraisal, Land Sales, Land Values | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to Deal Dirt: Land Auction or Private Treaty?

For the past five to six years, the decision on how to liquidate the farm was relatively easy. Look in the papers and on the websites. The Des Moines Register was flooded with land auctions and had few listings. Majority of the farms were going to auction. For many real estate companies, 70 to 80 percent of the properties were being sold at auction with the other small percentage listed private treaty.

Jeffrey Obrecht Land AuctionMost sellers came to the conversation about selling the farm, with one thing on their mind. Auction. They all heard of the unbelievable prices that auctions were attaining and wanted a piece of the action. They hoped their farm would be the one that sold at sensational prices and make history.

The thrill was there and, many times, the drama was also. During 2013, at the former real estate company where I was an independent contractor, I performed 169 auctions in a 12-month period of time. It was a sensational time with hopes of the next auction being better than the last. Many times, it was better, as premiums were being paid.

The story was that the farm may only come up once in your lifetime. Many buyers had the cash to put down a nice down payment, with the help of $7 per bushel corn, along with a line of credit from a lender.

Well folks, as a famous quote says, “The times they are a changing.” This is not easy for a well-seasoned veteran of the past five years of more than 500 auctions. As a professional representing the seller’s best interests, we need to take a hard look at what we are recommending to the sellers as the best way of marketing their property.

We, at Peoples Company, are taking a hard look at what is best for our customers, and the most practical way to market their properties. In a strong market, an auction is the best way to market a farm. When the market takes a turn, private treaty is the best alternative to get the job done. For some of us, it means getting the rust out and trying to remember how we used to sell farms.

We have heard of a raft of No Sale auctions in the past several weeks. Yes, our market has retreated, but are we as professionals making the right call for our sellers? Some of the A+ premium farms can still be taken to auction with a satisfactory result. A somewhat higher percentage should be listed and not auctioned. It has been too easy the past 5 to 6 years to sell these farms at auction with the unbelievable market that we have had.

No Sales, most of time, are caused by the inability of the agent to counsel the owners as to what the farm is actually worth. I have heard agents indicate that the customer wants a certain figure for the farm because it is a Century Farm; we have a lot of memories on that farm; we are building a new home; or we need this money to do this or that.

None of the previous items relate to real value of the property.

As real estate professionals, we are to counsel our clients regarding values and the best way to market their property and not relating and promising a figure that is unattainable. Let’s look at the auction vs. private treaty in a different light.

At an auction, the actual price that we may attain is a moving target. Lots of speculation as to value, with many guesses to see where the ping pong ball will land on the valuation wheel. Several people drop the ball on the wheel of fortune and hope that they can win. A listing gives you a little more stability, as the asking price is a nailed down target and easier to see. If we have done our job counseling our clients and arrived at a price that is in the market for this type of farm, this target is easier to hit, as it does not move. Maybe kind of a simple example, but tell me where the least stress is for you and your customer.

Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Or you can just remind him of how we used to sell farms. Change is not always easy, but in our world today, the people that recognize when to make that change are the people that will be in business next year. We are not burying our head in the sand or waiting for someone else to make the move. As you read this blog, our salespeople are looking at the changes that need to be made to be successful in this highly competitive industry. Change is sometimes hard, but necessary. If you try five new things and fail on four out of five, you are still farther ahead of the agent that tries nothing.

As T. Boone Pickens indicated at the 2014 Land Expo, “A fool with a plan is better than an genius with no plan.” We have a plan and we moving into 2015 exercising that plan to the fullest. You may have noticed that in the local papers or on the street, Peoples Company does not have as many auctions as we have had in the past.

At the same time, we are out executing on our plan to serve our customers in their best interests and to be the leader in the agricultural real estate field.

- Jeffrey T. Obrecht, The Dirt Dealer

Posted in Headlines, In The News, Land Auctions, Land Expo, Land Sales, Land Values | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Video: Interviews and Images of Farmers, Land Managers Round Out Root’s Thoughts on 2014 Africa Farmland Tour

Broadcaster Ken Root presents in this video compilation an overview of his fall 2014 trip to Africa where he – along with photographer Michael McClean and investment analyst Maurice Clark – explored the potential for agriculture and land investing in three countries.

The journey, underwritten by Peoples Company, included tours of local farms and the land and farm management practices that organizations such as Susan Payne’s EmVest are heavily invested in. The production begins by shining a light on agricultural holdings, grain storage facilities and a game farm with hunting and ecotourism opportunities in Mafeking. A peanut-processing plant utilizing a mix of is hand labor and modern technology is also highlighted.

In Mozambique, Root walks through the ins and outs of a tropical region with fertility and water providing ripe conditions for fruits and vegetables to be grown. Emvest, which owns a 2,500-acre farm in the region, has overcome challenges related to property irrigating the land and now grows rice, sugar cane and edible dry beans there. Good surface water and adequate rainfalls also provide the appropriate conditions for a cattle ranch operation in which hearty animals are grown to thrive in unique environments.

“Our final stop to look at farms took us to a county that is known more for wildlife and natural beauty than ag,” Root said. “Near the town of Livingstone in Zambia We travelled down paved roads to farms that looked like those in Kansas or Nebraska. In the dry season, only wheat was being harvested, but the results of this crop show good breeding, good soils and proper deliver of water.”

From talks of the “black cotton” soil in Africa to the fertile and flat land conducive to growing wheat, maize and ground nuts both for domestic consumption and exports to Europe, Root’s video summary of the U.S. team’s continental journey includes multiple interviews with local farmers and land managers.

The production wraps up with beautiful shots of Victoria Falls – one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Read more in this series of posts on Sub-Saharan Africa by Ken Root here.

Posted in Headlines, In The News, Land Investing, Land Management, Sub-Saharan Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment