November 27, 2014

FCS of America CEO on Farmland Trends

With crop prices approaching multiyear lows, some folks believe the sprint higher in farmland values may have run its course.  Corn and soybean prices have been volatile and choppy following a tailspin to their lowest levels in five years on expectations for record yields and  hefty global supplies.  While commodity prices have an impact on farmland values, they’re not the only factor.  Many experts agree that whatever happens with interest rates in the near future will also help determine the likely path of farmland values.

We recently caught up with Doug Stark, President and CEO of Farm Credit Services of America, on the sidelines of Trade Talk in Kansas City…

Doug Stark






Doug Stark


Interest rates have been held in check for the past few years by a slumping overall economy.  With the national economy beginning to show signs of recovery, some pundits think a short-term rate hike is likely sometime next year.  Higher interest rates typically mean lower demand for farmland.  Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve Banks in Chicago and Kansas City reported that farmland values declined in those districts in the third quarter from the prior period, continuing a slowdown driven by back-to-back years of large U.S. corn and soybean crops and declining crop prices.


Fresh Faces for USFRA

The United Soybean Board recently congratulated soy checkoff farmer-leader Nancy Kavazanjian on her election as chairperson of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.

Kavazanjian, a soybean farmer from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, is in her fourth year as a USB farmer-director.

“Nancy is a dedicated farmer-director and a great asset to our industry,” says USB Chairman Jim Call, a soybean farmer from Madison, Minnesota. “She’ll continue to be a leader in telling ag’s story.”

Previously, Kavazanjian served as vice chairperson of USFRA, which consists of more than 80 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture. The organization works to engage in dialogue with consumers who have questions about how today’s food is grown and raised.

At the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention earlier this month, the Alliance announced the winners of its second class of the Faces of Farming and Ranching program.

Erin Brenneman (Iowa), Darrell Glaser (Texas), Jay Hill (New Mexico), Thomas Titus (Illnois) and Carla Wardin (Michigan) were all named program winners.


They will share their personal stories and experiences through consumer-facing public appearances, events, media interviews and social media.

“I could not be more impressed with this year’s new Faces of Farming and Ranching,” said Nancy Kavazanjian. “The first Faces of Farming and Ranching had a positive impact on consumers across the country, and we are sure this new class also will see success as they connect with consumers and share their stories about how food gets from their farm or ranch to our plates. So many outstanding farmers and ranchers stepped forward and offered to be a consumer Face for USFRA. We are overwhelmed with amount of individuals who are willing to be a representative of the nation’s agricultural community.”


Bobcat Pioneers in HOF

Seven members of the Melroe family of North Dakota have been inducted into the Association of Equipment Manufacturers Hall of Fame for 2014. Those honored include Edward Gideon (E.G.) Melroe, founder of Melroe Manufacturing Company of Gwinner (now Bobcat Company); his four sons: Les, Cliff, Roger and Irv Melroe; son-in-law Gene Dahl and nephew Sylvan Melroe. The award was presented at the AEM annual meeting Nov. 14.

Sylvan Melroe of Fargo, the company’s first advertising manager, who helped add the Bobcat brand to the loader, is the only living honoree, but many Melroe and Dahl family members reside in North Dakota and Western Minnesota.

The AEM Hall of Fame was established in 1993 to recognize, celebrate and preserve the history of outstanding leaders who invented, managed, built and led the off-road equipment industry.

Bobcat Company held a ceremony in Gwinner in July, marking the millionth-loader production milestone.