Land Values Hold Strong into 2021

According to the latest Land Values Report from Farmers National Company, sale volumes were up 49 percent during October and November compared to the previous year. Northern Plains farmers are currently buying 90 percent of top-quality farmland coming up for sale. Prices for lower quality cropland are flat. A regional report cites government payments, crop insurance, low interested rates and rising grain prices were all factors in strengthening land values in the last quarter of 2020. Investor interest and farmer demand will continue to drive the land market in 2021.

Dry Conditions Continue to be Monitored in the Northern Plains

As winter begins, there’s a lack of moisture across the Northern Plains. The soil moisture will need a recharge going into spring. “It looks like most soils are frozen in North Dakota, so there’s probably not much of a chance to get a soil recharge right now, but it’s always good to get snow on the landscape,” said Dennis Todey, director, USDA Midwest Climate Hub.
There’s been minimal snowfall so far. In the near term, there doesn’t look like there’s much of a change. “We’re also looking at what La Nina may bring and what that means in the winter. The long-range outlook does hint at the pattern getting more active eventually.” Todey said there is still time for soil moisture to recharge.
View the latest drought maps.

Another Blizzard Hits the Northern Plains

Farmers and ranchers are digging out after a weekend blizzard swept across a large chunk of the U.S. The weather system responsible for this blizzard extended from the Texas Panhandle and Delta northward to the Canadian border. World Weather Incorporated says snowfall totals from a foot to two feet were seen from north-central South Dakota through east-central and southeastern North Dakota to northern Minnesota. The highest totals came at Ellendale and Jamestown, North Dakota with 26 inches. High wind gusts reaching 50 and 60 mph were also apart of the storm system, with Sand Lake, South Dakota clocking a 65 mph gust. Some parts of North Dakota received an entire winter’s worth of snowfall by end of December.

A Stretch of Warm Weather in Store

A string of warmer weather is in store for the Dakotas and Minnesota. That’s according to World Weather Incorporated Senior Agricultural Meteorologist Drew Lerner. The last of the bitterly cold occurred mid-week and the warmer temperatures should stick around for a couple of weeks.
“This weekend and into next week, we’ll see 30 and maybe even some 40 degree temperatures when the warmest air gets over the region,” says Lerner. “But, when we get warm ups like this in the middle of winter, there’s usually a storm on the horizon. There is potential for some precipitation the middle part of the Christmas week. That could bring rain, freezing rain and snow.”
In January, Lerner is concerned the Northern Plains could go back into the deep freeze. Trend models in the recent weeks suggest an impressive cold surge sometime in the beginning of the new month. Listen to the full report.

Ag Groups Push for “Appropriate Disaster Assistance

A letter has been sent to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue seeking “the fullest appropriate disaster assistance” under the WHIP+ program and other USDA programs. This letter was signed by groups representing farmers in the Northern Tier states, including soybeans, wheat, barley, sunflowers, canola, dry beans, pulse crops and the National Farmers Union. Extreme moisture has resulted in quality losses, such as low falling numbers, sprout damage and mold. The WHIP+ regulations now exclude quality losses for everything but wine grapes. The farm groups said that puts grain producers in the Northern Plains at serious disadvantage.

Read the Letter