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Farmland Prices Soar, Making CRP Less Competitive

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October 24, 2012

Farmland Prices Soar, Making CRP Less Competitive

By Bob Marshall

A news story about the increasing cost of farmland caught my attention this morning, while contemplating the fate of conservation programs once election day is over. It isn't good news.

Every dollar increase in farmland prices makes CRP and other vital wildlife conservation easement programs less competitive, which means the public will have to pay more to convince farmers to take acres out of crop production.

Worse, this story pointed out farmland prices continue to soar even in the face of a disastrous drought, because financial speculators consider farm commodities a better value than the stock market: "Across the nation’s Corn Belt, even as the worst drought in more than 50 years has destroyed what was expected to be a record corn crop and reduced yields to their lowest level in 17 years, farmland prices have continued to rise. From Nebraska to Illinois, farmers seeking more land to plant and outside investors looking for a better long-term investment than stocks and bonds continue to buy farmland, taking advantage of low interest rates."

Indeed, some financial experts say the squeeze global warming will be putting on food production will make even marginally productive acres even more valuable in years to come.

This is happening at the same time many GOP members of Congress are pushing to slash funding for conservation programs. Of course, Congress doesn't reach a budget compromise after the election and reach the "fiscal cliff" of sequestration, the damage to conservation spending will be severe.

It's important for sportsmen to remember that--especially in the eastern half of the nation--private land management has an enormous impact on fish and wildlife production and, hence, hunting and fishing.

Comments (6)

Top Rated
All Comments
from jay wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

Funny how you don't mention that its the Obama administrations mandates for ethanol and biodiesel fuels that are causing more and more acres to be tilled to meet demand. Neither party gets an A rating for conservation, not sure why you constantly single out the GOP.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

My farm, with 53 acres in the wetland reserve, has been on the market since this spring and I have not received any interest at all. Of course its in NY the land of regulation, high taxes and high unemployment.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from twkizer wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

Field and Stream readers should be advised that one of the potentially greatest losses to conservation in this country's history is the fact that Conservation Compliance measures are not being considered necessary as part of the proposed new farm safety net: Federally Subsidized Crop Insurance. Simply put, "compliance" in this sense means that the recipient of any federally subsidized farm program must comply with sensical conservation practices (btw--the same that has been the case for direct payments). This is to ensure that the Federal Government isn't using your TAX DOLLARS to unintentionally promote the conversion of erodible fields, wetlands and forests. "Too complicated" is essentially being offered as a reason for not extending compliance--wow. What say we stop worrying about party affiliations and start paying attention to what your representatives, senators and local Farm Bureau guys are working on--then DEMAND conservation compliance be required.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from shermanator wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

I know ethanol is a big issue and it is no where near efficient but it isn't really the Obama admin that started the ethanol it started 5 6 7 8 years ago when the craz hit so we can't really blame him for the ethanol. But ethanol is one of the driving factors in the big increase in the price of corn. The increase in corn prices it the main reason for more land going under the blade. But ethanol is really only a small portion of what corn is used for most of our corn goes overseas to feed people and with the world population going up exponetially the world looks to us to feed them causing prices to increase.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from amoor983 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

twkizer is exactly right. Farmers have their tile spades sharpened and are chomping at the bit to start laying pipe and draining wetlands by the millions across the prairie potholes. Also at stake are probably several hundred thousand acres of very marginal upland prairie in the great plains on which taxpayers will be subsidizing failed crops if something isn't done to tie conservation compliance to federal crop insurance (the new farm subsidy program). Positive reinforement for desired action (crop insurance for productive land) and negative reinforement for undesired action (conservation compliance like swampbuster and sodbuster) are the simple philosophies that should be adhered to. If farmers want to drain wetlands and plow prairie that should be their decision, but the American people should not pay for their failed crops or subsidize poor stewardship.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from amoor983 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

The worst thing about ethanol is that it is subsidized twice. The corn growers recieve direct farm bill payments to grow the corn, and the ethanol companies receive subsidies to turn it into ethanol(through 2011). Ethanol was a great idea in the 90's when mountains of corn were rotting throughout the breadbasket. Things have changed. Reduce or eliminate the subsidies. Lower or eliminate government mandate for ethanol. Let supply and demand drive production. Either some savy pioneer will find a more efficient way to produce it, or ethanol will take a hiatus until farmers overproduce (again).

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from twkizer wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

Field and Stream readers should be advised that one of the potentially greatest losses to conservation in this country's history is the fact that Conservation Compliance measures are not being considered necessary as part of the proposed new farm safety net: Federally Subsidized Crop Insurance. Simply put, "compliance" in this sense means that the recipient of any federally subsidized farm program must comply with sensical conservation practices (btw--the same that has been the case for direct payments). This is to ensure that the Federal Government isn't using your TAX DOLLARS to unintentionally promote the conversion of erodible fields, wetlands and forests. "Too complicated" is essentially being offered as a reason for not extending compliance--wow. What say we stop worrying about party affiliations and start paying attention to what your representatives, senators and local Farm Bureau guys are working on--then DEMAND conservation compliance be required.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from shermanator wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

I know ethanol is a big issue and it is no where near efficient but it isn't really the Obama admin that started the ethanol it started 5 6 7 8 years ago when the craz hit so we can't really blame him for the ethanol. But ethanol is one of the driving factors in the big increase in the price of corn. The increase in corn prices it the main reason for more land going under the blade. But ethanol is really only a small portion of what corn is used for most of our corn goes overseas to feed people and with the world population going up exponetially the world looks to us to feed them causing prices to increase.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

Funny how you don't mention that its the Obama administrations mandates for ethanol and biodiesel fuels that are causing more and more acres to be tilled to meet demand. Neither party gets an A rating for conservation, not sure why you constantly single out the GOP.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from amoor983 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

twkizer is exactly right. Farmers have their tile spades sharpened and are chomping at the bit to start laying pipe and draining wetlands by the millions across the prairie potholes. Also at stake are probably several hundred thousand acres of very marginal upland prairie in the great plains on which taxpayers will be subsidizing failed crops if something isn't done to tie conservation compliance to federal crop insurance (the new farm subsidy program). Positive reinforement for desired action (crop insurance for productive land) and negative reinforement for undesired action (conservation compliance like swampbuster and sodbuster) are the simple philosophies that should be adhered to. If farmers want to drain wetlands and plow prairie that should be their decision, but the American people should not pay for their failed crops or subsidize poor stewardship.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from amoor983 wrote 1 year 21 weeks ago

The worst thing about ethanol is that it is subsidized twice. The corn growers recieve direct farm bill payments to grow the corn, and the ethanol companies receive subsidies to turn it into ethanol(through 2011). Ethanol was a great idea in the 90's when mountains of corn were rotting throughout the breadbasket. Things have changed. Reduce or eliminate the subsidies. Lower or eliminate government mandate for ethanol. Let supply and demand drive production. Either some savy pioneer will find a more efficient way to produce it, or ethanol will take a hiatus until farmers overproduce (again).

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

My farm, with 53 acres in the wetland reserve, has been on the market since this spring and I have not received any interest at all. Of course its in NY the land of regulation, high taxes and high unemployment.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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