The Buzz

No land bubble this time, Texas A&M boosts wheat research and Mr. Stoskopf goes to Washington.

Land prices. It seems like we’re talking about them each week here in The Buzz, and with good reason. Farmland values in Kansas are making national news. The Thursday edition of USA Today newspaper focuses on how land purchases these days differ than those of the late 70s – and how the results could be much different. In the 80s, remember, land prices plummeted, as farmers borrowed a tremendous amount of money to buy land and equipment, and interest rates soared…

  • Now, many farmers are paying cash for land. According to the report: “High prices of corn, wheat and other commodities, low interest rates, investors seeking better returns than can be found in the stock market or bank CDs, and bullish predictions of demand for food in Asia and elsewhere have produced record net farm income. As a result, cash is coming to the land about as rapidly as corn, wheat and soybeans are leaving it.”…
  • The article features Colby farmer Lon Frahm, who says more farmers are buying land, in order to increase production and efficiency – not to make money speculating… 
  • So that brings us to this week’s Land Sale. Looking at the Sale Bill, we anticipated the auction of 365 acres of Kansas River Bottom land would bring top dollar. The auction was Feb. 22 in Wamego; the land, just south of the Kansas River south of Belvue. The acreage was divided into three tracts: 160 acres (Tract 1); 148 acres (with 122 usable in Tract 2); and 57 acres (Tract 3). Auctioneer Steve Murray says the land had challenges: Tract 1 did not have irrigation, there was KCPL right-of-way and power lines and it was sandy. It did not sale at auction. Tract 2 had just 122 acres of good, usable cropland. It brought $590,000 ($4,836 per usable acre). Tract 3 was on a hilltop, and had 15 acres of cropland and 30 in brome. It brought $150,000 ($2,631 per acre)…
  • Auctioneer Murray says the sale met the buyer’s expectations, although he expected a little stiffer competition…
  • Anyone wanna bet that after that land sale, the Wamego pub was filled with farmers? A few of them may have even talked shop over a Boulevard beer…  
  • Despite its close proximity to the Wheat State, Boulevard Brewing Company does not use Hard Red Winter wheat for its Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer. However, if one is inclined to quaff a beer, we heartily recommend this offering from the Kansas City company. Particularly now that it has been named the “Best Wheat Beer” in the U.S., according to the February issue of Men’s Journal magazine
  • Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat, distributed in 23 states, is highlighted as one of the three craft wheat beers to seek out in the nation. The article attributes the beer’s flavor to, “…its Belgian brewmaster’s unfiltered wheat. It has a bright, citrusy kick that most American hefeweizens lack.”…
  • Earlier this week, the Texas AgriLife Research (developers of the TAM series of wheat varieties, among others) announced it will join forces with Bayer CropScience to advance wheat research between the two entities. In an announcement Feb. 20, entities from both parties say being able to pinpoint molecular mechanisms within a wheat plant to help researchers select for drought tolerance, and attributes affecting tortillas or other flat breads could be targeted for collaboration…
  • The agreement is symbolic of the increasing collaboration between private and public wheat research firms. Two years ago, Monsanto and K-State developed a collaborative agreement; last year, it was Bayer CropScience and the University of Nebraska, among others…
  • Finally, Dean Stoskopf, a wheat producer from Hoisington, will testify in front of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee next Tuesday for the second farm bill hearing of the year. This one will focus on Conservation, and includes the administrator of USDA’s FSA and the chief of NRCS, plus Carl Mattson, a farmer from Chester, Montana. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. Washington, D.C. time and will be streamed live at: http://ag.senate.gov
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