Farmdoc launches COVID-19 webinar series
University of Illinois agricultural economists will host a webinar series discussing the impact of the coronavirus on agriculture in the Midwest. The webinar series kicked off on March 20.
The webinars will feature Farmdoc team members Scott Irwin, Todd Hubbs, Gary Schnitkey, Jonathan Coppess and Nick Paulson. Each speaker will address one key area of concern and, if possible, offer some solutions. Illinois Extension farm broadcaster Todd Gleason will moderate the series and facilitate the question-and-answer sessions.
The FarmdocDaily Live webinars will continue regularly each Tuesday and Friday at 11 a.m. The second program in the series, on March 24, will feature U of I infectious disease specialist Jim Lowe. He’ll discuss what disease mitigation lessons can be learned from the livestock sector and how these are being deployed. Other offerings in the series will address a wide range of topics, but the central themes will surround agricultural markets, planting decisions and agricultural policy.
The FarmdocDaily Live series is free. Registration is required to participate. Registered participants will be able to join the webinar via a computer, tablet, smartphone or landline phone. Learn more and register online at go.illinois.edu/fddlive.
ASA awards Soy Scholarship
Emma Kuhns of Mason, Ill., is the recipient of the 2020-21 Soy Scholarship award, sponsored by BASF and the American Soybean Association.
The scholarship is a $5,000 award presented to an exceptional high school senior who excels in both academics and leadership. It’s for those with plans to pursue a degree in an agriculture-related field.
Kuhns has been involved in FFA and 4-H for many years, currently serving as president of both her FFA chapter and 4-H club. She commits time to the Illinois Pork Producers Association and American Junior Hereford Association, and has been involved in various school organizations, including the student council and National Honor Society.
Kuhns will major in agricultural economics/pre-law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this fall and will be recognized at a regional soybean event.
“ASA is proud to partner with BASF and to invest in future agricultural leaders,” says ASA President Bill Gordon. “The Soy Scholarship helps to ensure the next generation of agricultural leaders has the training, education and skills needed to move the industry forward, and we look forward to Emma’s future contributions.”
Illinois farmland values hold steady
Illinois farmland values continue to remain at stable levels while other investment options have seen extreme swings, according to a report issued at a special Illinois Land Values Webinar. Sponsored by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, the webinar was held in lieu of the annual conference that was canceled to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“Farmland remains a stable, safe investment in volatile times such as we’ve seen so recently,” says David Klein, vice president with First Mid Ag Services in Bloomington, Ill. Klein serves as chair of the 2020 Illinois Farmland Values Survey and Conference.
“Our survey data show the farmland price trends in the state continue to exhibit a stable pattern, with little deviation from a year ago,” he says.
Klein teams up with University of Illinois ag economist Gary Schnitkey to poll observations from farmland appraisers and real estate brokers. The survey for their most recent report was conducted in December.
“2019 will be a year most farmers will never forget,” Klein says. “Crop planting challenges across the state left the most unplanted acres since the spring of 1974. Most farm incomes were protected by crop insurance proceeds and USDA market facilitation payments.”
He concludes that as Illinois landowners begin 2020, the average per-acre price for “excellent” farmland hasn’t changed from $10,500, though so-called “good” soil has fallen 1% to $8,600; “average” is down 3% to $6,700; and “fair” has dropped 2% to $5,200.
Northern Illinois land is priced at an average $9,750 to $10,500 per acre, a 3% decline from where it stood a year ago. Rents held steady at $270 to $320 per acre. Central Illinois values range from $10,500 to $11,000 per acre, as much as a 1% increase from last year. Rents are steady to slightly higher at $300 $350 per acre. In metro-east area St. Louis, value is $12,000 per acre, with steady $225 to $350 per acre rents.
“As we begin 2020, farmland values seem be holding firm as farmland owners and investors continue to seek the safety and security,” Klein concludes. “Individual micromarkets of strength and weakness do exist, and this can create opportunities for sellers and buyers. You will notice variations within regions and different local markets for similar quality land. Location continues to be an important variable.”