CHICAGO, May 15 (Reuters) – U.S. farmland prices soared to
record highs in the first quarter of 2012 fueled by strong crop
prices and buoyant farm income, with the pace of sales strongest
in the Plains but firm also in the Midwest Corn Belt, according
to two Federal Reserve bank surveys released on Tuesday.
The value of nonirrigated cropland in the Plains, which
stretches across big wheat, cattle and corn states, was up 25
percent from a year ago and irrigated farmland prices jumped 32
percent, the Kansas City Fed said.
CHICAGO, May 15 (Reuters) – The price of prime farmland in
the U.S. Midwest grain belt was up 19 percent in the first
quarter compared with a year earlier, boosted by higher
commodity prices and net farm incomes, the Federal Reserve Bank
of Chicago said on Tuesday.
District land values extended their rapid rise at the start
of the year but fell “short of the torrid pace of 2011,” with
prices for good agricultural land up 5 percent in the quarter
compared to the final three months of 2011, the Fed said in its
quarterly survey of 231 bankers in the district.
April 10 (Reuters) – U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill Inc
reported a rebound in earnings after its worst quarter
in a decade, led by record profits in its global food ingredient
businesses and stronger results in energy trading.
Minneapolis-based Cargill, one of the world’s largest
privately held corporations, reported $766 million in earnings
from continuing operations for the fiscal third quarter ended
Feb. 29, just ahead of $763 million a year earlier.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Many U.S. farmers are waiting for crop insurance coverage to kick in before getting too aggressive in planting corn early, resisting the temptation presented by record warm temperatures this spring, a top agronomist said on Wednesday.
“Monday’s numbers from USDA certainly showed ‘some’ early planting but the dam has not broken yet. The short-term weather forecast is favorable in terms of no expected heavy rains, but a cool off in temps may dampen some spirits,” Robert Nielsen, a state extension corn specialist with Purdue University in Indiana, told Thomson Reuters online ags forum. “Most have been impatiently waiting for the April 6 insurance date before getting too serious about planting corn,” he added. While Indiana farmers had seeded 1 percent of their corn as of Sunday, nationwide farmers had planted 3 percent, matching the earliest start on record since 1999. Some farmers took advantage of summer-like temperatures in March, brushing off crop insurance dates which do not kick in until the first or second week of April — betting on an early harvest so they can meet the world’s demand for corn amid a tight U.S. supply left from the 2011 harvest.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Agribusiness company Cargill Inc CARG.UL is expanding in the corn-based ethanol business despite a sluggish demand outlook for the renewable fuel, the head of the company’s corn milling group said on Thursday.
Alan Willits, president of Cargill Corn Milling, said the company is on track to spend $200 million retrofitting and expanding a corn processing facility in Fort Dodge, Iowa, that will employ 200 and open by the fourth quarter of 2013. “Biofuels have an important role to play as a fuel source in North America,” Willits said in an interview at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit.
CHICAGO, Feb 21 (Reuters) – The Farm Credit System, a
giant government-linked lender to U.S. farmers and rural
communities with $230 billion in assets, is confident it can
stay mostly exempt from oversight by U.S. banking regulators
despite bitter criticism by competing private banks, Farm Credit
“We are competitors. They’d be happy if the system didn’t
exist,” Kenneth Auer, president of the Farm Credit Council, the
system’s lobbying group, said in an interview. “We had our Dodd
Frank moment in the 1980s,” he added, citing a bailout by
Congress that revamped and tightened government oversight and
laid the foundation for the System’s current strength.
CHICAGO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – The record rise in
farmland prices for the U.S. Midwest Corn Belt slowed in the
fourth quarter, tempering the biggest annual gain since 1976,
the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said on Thursday in its
quarterly survey of agricultural bankers.
Farmland values rose 22 percent last year, but gained only 4
percent from the third to fourth quarter and may have been
“cooling some from the blistering pace,” the bank said in
summarizing its survey results of 205 bankers in Iowa, northern
Illinois and Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. In the third
quarter, land values were up 25 percent year-over-year.
CHICAGO, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Farmland prices in the
U.S. Plains states extended record-setting gains in the fourth
quarter of 2011, rising 25 percent from a year earlier as
cash-rich farmers competed for land, the Federal Reserve Bank of
Kansas City said on Wednesday.
In a quarterly survey that provides an important gauge of
the U.S. agricultural economy, the Fed also said credit
conditions improved as farmers paid down debt at the year-end,
comments that may help temper concerns of a land-price bubble.
CHICAGO, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Illinois, a key farm state
in the heart of the Corn Belt, is basking in its sixth warmest
winter in 117 years — good news for residents who have not had
to shovel snow but a red flag for some of the state’s most
productive businesses: farms.
Illinois and neighboring Iowa – also in the midst of a balmy
winter – produce about a third of all the corn and soybeans
grown in the United States, the world’s largest exporter of both
crops. Farmers in both states feel more comfortable when there
is a substantial snow cover to ensure adequate soil moisture
that can nurture crops through the region’s hot dry summers.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday awarded $40.2 million in grants to farmers, ranchers and farmer-controlled rural business ventures aimed at spurring locally produced food supplies and renewable energy ventures.
USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said 298 recipients in 44 states and Puerto Rico will receive business development assistance through the Value-Added Producer Grant program.