A fluctuating market for corn has many farmers, speculators and land experts paying close attention to the events of the coming months. Where are crop prices headed? How does that impact your land value? Here’s one perspective from KATHLEEN M. HOWLEY who recently published an article on the subject in the pages of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
— Din Tai Fung, a restaurant in Shanghai’s Xintiandi district, is famous for its steamed pork dumplings. The pigs that keep those dumplings on the table are fattened with corn — much of it imported from the United States.
American farmers have prospered during a three-year boom in corn and cropland prices. As values have soared since 2011, farmers bought more acres and upgraded their harvesters to produce a record corn crop of almost 14 billion bushels in 2013.
Nothing better shows the fertile times than investment in farm equipment. Sales of self-propelled combines, including an $850,000 John Deere model with iPod system, navigational equipment and heated seats and an attachment that harvests the corn, jumped 40 percent in November.
Now, as corn prices start to decline, bankers and agricultural economists are predicting a slowdown in farmland prices that could turn into a bust.
“I can see the fear in farmers’ eyes when they think of all the moving pieces around the world gutting the value of next year’s crop,” said David Kohl, an agricultural economist and president of consulting firm AgriVisions, who last week spoke at several farming conferences in northern Nebraska. “Most of them know the boom in corn prices and farmland prices is coming to a screeching halt.” Full story