The Buzz

Biotech adoption soars, land prices soar, and good bye to one of the all-time great educators.

Farmers are growing biotech crops at a rapidly increasing rate, according to a recent article from the International Service for the Acquisistion of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), a global entity designed to alleviate hunger and poverty throughout the world.

  • During 2011, farmers planted more than 160 million hectares (nearly 400 million acres) of biotech crops in 29 countries – a 94-fold increase since 1996. Biotech crops, the agency concludes, are the fastest-adopted crop technology in recent history…
  • Brazil, the ISAAA concludes, is the “engine” for biotech adoption. Author and ISAAA founder Clive James says Brazil’s fast-track approval system has created streams of technology to support growth. These include: ready adoption of proprietary biotech crops from the private sector; public/private sector partnerships and the capacity to develop “home-grown” biotech crops. “This approach,” James writes, “is highly effective for Brazil and a key lesson for other countries across the world.”…
  • Here in the good ol’ USA, absentee and older landowners are finding that now is a good time to sell their land due to high demand for the resource, according to the latest Agricultural Credit Conditions survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. In the survey of more than 250 bankers in the Tenth District, bankers comment that, “Absentee landowners are taking advantage of high land prices and selling family land,” and that “With current prices, many older landowners are cashing out.” …
  • Non-irrigated farmland in Nebraska and Kansas brought the largest annual value gains in the last year – 37.8% and 24.1%, respectively, – the fed reports. Throughout the District, bankers report higher farm income in the fourth quarter compared to last year, which is prompting many landowners to increase cash rental rates for farmland…
  • Farm credit conditions also continue to improve, as farmers continue to pay down debt and decline to renew loans…
  • In keeping with the farmland theme, we consulted Midwest Land Specialists, Newton, to get the results of an auction of 230 acres of high-quality Harvey County dryland on Jan. 24.  Tract one, 150 acres of level, top-quality cropland located about 7 miles southeast of Hesston, brought $3,675 per acre. It had 130 acres in wheat, with the seller retaining the wheat crop. The balance was open, with the buyer obtaining possession upon closing. Tract two, 79 acres about 10 miles southwest of Hesston, featured 60 acres in wheat; the balance was open, with the buyer obtaining possession upon closing. It also was level, high-quality cropland that brought $3,525 per acre…
  • Auctioneer Vern Koch said 39 bidders were at the sale and each tract had six or seven active bidders. Koch says this is some of the better land in Harvey County…
  • A big ol’ Buzz Salute to John Floros, who in August will become Dean of Kansas State University’s College of Agriculture and Director of K-State Research and Extension. Floros, a food scientist and academic leader, comes to Manhattan from Penn State University, where he is a professor and head of the department of food science. He was educated at the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece and the University of Georgia, spent several years in private industry and served on the faculty of Purdue University…
  • Kudos, too, to Gary Pierzynski, who has served as interim Dean and Director for the past few years. He will return to his role as Department Head of Agronomy….
  • It might seem a little strange to those of us who have used Krause equipment over the years, but the Hutchinson-based company – which was bought by Kuhn last year – will launch a new color scheme. The company now known as Kuhn Krause will paint implements built at its Reno County facility “Kuhn Red,” helping it establish a more consistent color strategy…
  • Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the life of longtime educator Don Good, who died Wednesday at age 90. For years, Dr. Good was the livestock judging coach, an instructor and eventually, head of the Department of Animal Science at Kansas State University…
  • This writer did not have him as a teacher, but instead, a neighbor in Manhattan. Don and his lovely wife, Jane, lived in a ranch house surrounded by open area, northwest of the football stadium. In 2000, the open area became developed, and my new wife and I were lucky enough to buy a house in a cul-de-sac just three doors down…
  • They were the wise owls of this little neighborhood, and I was wise to keep my mouth closed and my ears open whenever I happened to run into Don, which was always a treat. He was devoted to Jane, who had health challenges. As a newlywed, it was good to hear him say, as he tended to her needs – “When I signed up for this, I did it for the long haul.”…
  • He was full of wisdom. A veteran of World War II, a collegiate athlete at Ohio State University and trend-setting animal scientist, Dr. Good molded the lives of many young men and women. He leaves a legacy in his children, grandchildren and thousands of students. Services are Saturday in Manhattan.
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