It’s no secret to anyone involved in area agriculture that land prices have skyrocketed the past few years.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the combination of high crop prices and terrific yields makes farmland more attractive and provides would-be buyers with the cash to pay more. Low interest rates — hard to get too excited about investing farming profits in CDs at 1 percent — make farmland seem like an even better deal.
A new survey finds looks at just how much land values have risen in the past year. You can read <a href=”http://www.agweek.com/event/article/id/18019/”><b>the story</b></a> on Agweek’s website or in the Feb. 28 print issue of Agweek.
It’s been said, with a great deal of truth, that the news media, are suckers for anniversaries, particularly when a round number — say 10, 20 or 50 — is involved.
But I’d be covering the International Crop Expo, held Wednesday, Feb. 16,Â and Thursday, Feb. 17, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D., even if this weren’t the event’s 10th anniversary.
The show attracted about 5.000 people last year, and at least that many are expected this year, at least if the weather cooperates.
Seminars on small grains, potatoes and soybeans/dry beans will be held.
One of the highlights is a presentation on future trends in agriculture by Lowell Catlett of New Mexico State University. He’s scheduled to speak at 1:30 p. Wednesday.
I’ll be writing about his presentation and the show itself in next week’s issue of Agweek.
It may look like just another number — a nice, round number, to be sure — butÂ a mere number nonetheless. This number, however, is a psychological landmark with important consequences.
The cash price for spring wheat has topped $10 per bushel at some area elevators. The price has roughly doubled since summer, when wheat hammered the Russian wheat crop.
Area farmers are quick to point out that a majority of the 2010 wheat crop has been sold already at prices far below $10. They also point out, correctly, that price reductions, known as discounts, are assessed on wheat with less-than-ideal quality, further reducing the price they receive.
All that said, topping $10 (or coming close to it) is a big deal. I’m talking with area wheat farmers, industry officials and grain elevator managers to get their thoughts and observations. Read more in the Feb. 14 issue of Agweek.
The cold, snowy winter is tough on everyone. Plenty of folks deserve our sympathy and appreciation.
That said, spare a kind thought for area cattle producers.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture pegs North Dakota’s average snow cover at 24.3 inches, nearly twice the 13.3 inches of a year ago. All the snow has plugged a lot of roads, with 44 percent of county and secondary roads closed.
Some ranchers, especially ones whose cattle don’t winter on the home place, have double trouble. They need first to get to their hay supplies, and then to get the hay to the cattle.Â It’s long, cold, dreary work.
I talked recently with a North Dakota cattleman who fought the big snow winter of 1996-97. As he describes it: “Some days we moved snow and then fed cattle. Some days we fed cattle and then moved snow. And some days we moved snow, then fed cattle and then moved more snow. It was a long winter.”
One day, ranchers will be telling similar stories about this winter.
So spare a kind thought for cattlemen. Better yet, buy a steak or two.