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Iowa Farmland Values Slide for Third Straight Year

Gains in Canadian farmland values may be slowing; in Iowa they are continuing to slide.

According to the results of an Iowa State University survey released this week, the average value of Iowa farmland has shown a decline for the third year in a row — the first three-year losing streak since the 1980s farm crisis. At US$7,183, the average per acre price of farmland in the state was down $449 or almost 6% from November, 2015 and is now 17.5% below the historic high of $8,716 reached in 2013.

“The golden era of phenomenal, yet abnormal growth in farm income and land values, as we saw from 2006 to 2013, is already behind us,” said Wendong Zhang, assistant professor of economics at Iowa State University, who led the annual survey. “The land market is going through an orderly adjustment while the U.S. agricultural sector, a competitive industry, is trying to adjust to the old normal of zero industry-wise net profits.” Read more

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Canadian agriculture is a trading powerhouse

In 2015, Canada was the world’s fifth largest exporter of agriculture commodities PDF (1.7MB), a status we’ve held for years. Being a leader in world markets gives Canada bragging rights, which is nice. But that leadership is also important to the long-term health of the industry.

Being a big-time trader gives us a competitive boost when disruptions occur in global trade (for instance, when trade disputes arise or when one supplier’s commodities become relatively more expensive for countries to import). This happened last year when U.S. wheat exports declined and Canada was able to pick up the slack. Read more

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Get the “Real Dirt on Farming”

If you missed the Globe and Mail insert in Saturday’s paper, you can view a copy online.

The Real Dirt on Farming booklet is designed to connect you with the food you eat, and introduce you to some of Canada’s farm families. This booklet provides basic facts on topics such as the difference between growing crops conventionally and organically, pesticide use, animal housing and animal welfare, environmental sustainability, technology used in farming as well as many other subjects that you have indicated are important to you. The goal of this book is to help you make informed decisions about the food you’re serving your family.

Speaking of dirt, get the dirt on field crops.

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Fall good time to buy fertilizer

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Farmers are better off buying fertilizer in fall or winter rather than waiting until spring 90 percent of the time, according to Alberta Agriculture.

The department has tracked urea, ammonia and phosphate prices for the past 10 years.

“There has only been one year, and that was in 2008, that spring prices were lower than fall-winter prices,” said Jennifer Stoby, an agricultural input market analyst with Alberta Agriculture.

She encouraged farmers to talk with their retailers this fall about their upcoming needs, especially for nitrogen fertilizers.

“With lower crop prices, guys have been hesitant to buy fertilizer and not really making any decisions,” said Stoby. “If they do wait until spring, there might be some problems actually even getting product.”

Growers who haven’t pre-bought product have faced supply shortages for the last few years, and it could be the same scenario next year.

“Retails aren’t bringing in nearly as much product just to have on hand the same as they have in the past,” said Stoby.

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North American Harvest Report

Too much of a good thing?

A publication of BMO Capital Markets Economic Research • Douglas Porter, CFA, Chief Economist

Seldom is there a dull moment in the agriculture business. Only two short years ago, crop prices in North America were flirting with all-time highs after several years of lacklustre growing conditions were capped by the worst U.S. drought in 25 years. Today, prices are mining new lows under the weight of a second huge harvest. But, while lower crop prices are good news for food processors, livestock producers, and consumers, they are also taking a bite out of farmers’ bottom lines.

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Agricultural surveys important tools for farming industry

By Garry Breitkreuz

Over the next few weeks, a number of farmers – some from this area (Yorkton, Saskatchewan) – will be asked to take part in surveys conducted by Statistics Canada. Based on past phone calls received in my office from constituents, I understand that these agricultural surveys can seem long and cumbersome, but they are also very important.

Results from agricultural surveys are used by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and other federal and provincial departments for economic research, to develop and administer agricultural policies, and for production and price analysis. Information is also used by other stakeholders in the agricultural industry.

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