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Land Investment Monthly - January 2019

December 31, 2018 - Steve Bruere

Annual Survey Finds Farmland Values Down Slightly

The value of farmland in Iowa has dropped slightly this year, according to the Iowa State University Land Values Survey.

Wendong Zhang, an economics professor at ISU, collects information from realtors, lenders, appraisers and other people who monitor farm sales and transitions. He says the 0.8 percent decrease in farmland value compared to last year is partly still a correction from the record-high values of 2013. This is the fourth time in the past five years that land values have decreased.

“Given harvests and trade disputes have pushed the price of corn and, especially, soybeans lower, and the Federal Reserve is likely to continue increasing interest rates. Read More


How Hemp And The Farm Bill May Change Life As You Know It

The 2018 US Farm Bill has now legalized commercial production of hemp. But what is hemp, and why should you care?

What is hemp?

Imagine a sweater softer than anything you’ve ever felt before, and more durable than cotton.

Imagine a car built with something lighter than steel that could stand 10 times the impact without denting.

Imagine if you could save four acres of trees by making paper from a single acre of a rapid=growing plant, instead. Read More


What Exactly Is a Bushel? The Question Turns People Into Basket Cases

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China this year have caused gyrations in soybean prices, which recently climbed above $9 a bushel. They also have people buried in soybean math.

Prices of agriculture commodities have for decades been quoted in bushels at the Chicago Board of Trade, yet many traders and farmers have never actually come across soybeans in the quaint wooden basket that has existed for centuries.

“Most people haven’t seen a bushel basket – I never have,” said Anthony Stinton, a soybean meal trader in Greeley, Colo. Scrawled on a yellow sticky-note on his computer is a formula he punches into a calculator multiple times a day to convert metric tons of soybeans grown in Brazil into their American bushel equivalent. “It’s kind of an abstract amount,” Mr. Stinton said. Read More


Foodborne Illness Outbreaks in Spotlight as Technology Improves

Growing number of multistate outbreak investigations raise pressure on U.S. food companies, from farm to fork

Technological advancements are transforming how regulators respond to foodborne illnesses, helping to fuel a surge in outbreak investigations and increasing pressure on the Country’s biggest food companies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated and issued public advice regarding 24 multistate outbreaks in 2018, more than any other year since at least 2006, according to federal data. That’s triple the number completed last year, and nearly double those from 2016. Read More


China embarks on second round of soy buying post Trump – Xi truce

It was unclear how much China would buy. Last week, state-run companies booked more than 1.5 million tons of U.S. soybeans for shipment from January to March, the country’s first major U.S. soy purchases in six months.

One trader said Chinese state-owned companies bought 15 cargoes, or about 900,000 tons, […] for shipment from January to March, deals that would be worth more than $300 million.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Soybean Export Council confirmed the renewed buying, citing trade sources in China, but did not know the amount. Read More

Published in: Land Values