Land Investment Monthly – May 2015

Published on May 25, 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 toSteve@PeoplesCompany.com with “Land Investment Monthly” in the subject line.

Hefty Range
A price tag of $713 million has been placed on the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. The 510,000-acre property, Waggoner Ranch, has been dubbed part of the “super asset class” with hundreds of homes and thousands of cattle spread over nearly 800 miles in Texas. “This “Statue of Liberty for Cowboys – larger than New York City and controlled by the same family for 160 years – has never been on the market.  It could become the most expensive piece of real estate in the world.
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Great Plains
Farmland values in the Great Plains states increased over the last year, even as corn and soybean prices experienced double-digit declines. The unexpected bump of 0.9 percent was in relationship to the Tenth Federal District, comprising portions of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming. Investing.com, citing a “limited amount of farmland available for sale,” reported that the majority of bankers surveyed expected farmland values to remain stable through the second quarter of 2015.
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When In Rome
The Week takes in an historical view of soil erosion with comparisons of Rome to an examination of U.S. farmland. A Cornell study found that soil in the United States disappears 10 times faster than it is naturally replenished – and with a financial cost that equals out to the loss of about $37 billion in productivity each year. The article about University of Washington geologist David Montgomery’s book, “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations,” points to the importance of soil protection and conservation practices with references to cover crops as one method of helping to secure food supplies in the future.
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Apple Land
A donation by Apple has cleared the way for the Conservation Fund to purchase nearly 36,000 acres of forestland in North Carolina and Maine. The California technology giant, with a focus on “sustainable sourcing efforts” for the pulp and paper supply required for its packaging, estimates that enough materials could be produced to offset nearly half of the “virgin fiber” used to box products such as the iPhone and iPad during Apple’s 2014 fiscal year. Apple also announced in May that it would work with the World Wildlife Fund to improve the management of 1 million acres of forestland in China.
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In Practice
Mollie Aronowitz of the Peoples Company Land Management team draws attention in her latest blog post to the complex issues of nutrient reduction and water quality. The article, with overtones of improving communication among landowners, farm operators and other stakeholders, highlights a University of Northern Iowa research project that will include the installation of prairie strips on a 70-acre farm in Tama County, Iowa.
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Dealing Dirt
The Dirt Dealer Jeffrey Obrecht in a recent blog post expounds on the most appropriate method of marketing agricultural real estate: Land auction or private treaty? The Peoples Company land agent and auctioneer considers how customer service and a seller’s best interests fit with the decision on how to liquidate a farm.
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White Paper
Peoples Company, in conjunction with Mike Duffy, Professor Emeritus at Iowa State University, has co-authored and published a comprehensive study on the importance of “Socially Responsible Farmland Investing.” The white paper, which presents a thought-provoking look at how farmland owners, farmers and society work together to feed the world and conserve the land, is now available to view or download with no obligation from the Peoples Company website.
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New View
​Agricultural real estate appraiser Jim Rothermich has joined Peoples Company as the newest addition to the organization’s team of land brokerage, land management and land investing services specialists. Rothermich, an​ ​active member of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers Appraisal,​ ​has worked for nearly three decades in the fields of agricultural economics, farm production, land appraisals and real estate sales.​
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