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New land, grain & iron outlooks
Questions surrounding the future of farm land and grain market prices were just a couple of the big stories farmers are talking about this week.
U.S. farm land prices could be headed lower in the coming year as outside investors turn away from the market on declining returns, one report shows this week. An Australia-based investment group says outside investment will become more difficult, especially compared to land prices in other nations.
So, is there a bubble building in the land market? Farmers are split on the topic. "After pricing my fertilizer for next year, I agree that not only are land prices becoming excessive and perhaps headed for a retraction," says one farmer in Farm Business Talk. "The returns are not as rosy as 2 years ago where I had my best year ever."
What about grain prices in the coming year? One long-term outlook this week shows the grains will likely trend slightly lower, but remain in positive territory in 2012 based largely on tight world stocks and a return to fundamentals instead of outside factors.
Farm incomes have been surging the last year, though, and as a result, so too are farmers' machinery investments, according to new information releaed this week. It could be because farmers are replacing older equipment or taking advantage of tax incentives to do so. What do you think?
In the coming year, though, the growth of farm machinery purchases is probably going to decline slightly, according to another report this week. Tractor sales look to stay in the black, while one industry group expects combine sales to dip below 2011 in the coming year.
Speaking of machinery, what are some of your favorite iron innovations? See what new tools and systems have made a big difference for other farmers and weigh in with the innovations you've gotten the most out of on your farm!
In the next few months, the U.S. Postal Service is going to raise its rates. Some say the most dramatic effects of those pricing changes could come in rural America. It's a topic that's gotten a lot of attention among farmers this week.
That's just one concern among rural residents -- namely the younger ones -- who are struggling with declining populations in their small communities. There's a growing age gap in many small towns, with a smaller percentage of rural residents in the 20-44 age group than in more populated areas.
But, not all rural residents are taking that trend lying down. Many are taking steps to improve their communities. But, there remain a lot of challenges unique to small towns that can get in the way of building up a small town in a declining population area.
A story of a recent technology philanthropist and his quest to "cure aging" has farmers chatting the "wild ideas" out there that could provide a similar miraculous change to the agriculture industry. Now, imagine a "wild dream" like curing aging for agriculture. What do you think it would be?
So, what are you doing for Christmas this year? Planning a big getaway, like to a beach or bowl game, or just hanging around home with family? Most say they're sticking close to home and enjoying a quiet holiday. What have you got in mind this year?
Speaking of Christmas, are you all ready? Have all of your shopping done for the farmer or farmers on your Christmas list? If not, check out this year's Christmast gift-giving guide for farmers. Or, get a few ideas to drop a few hints of your own!
Are you a big-time country music fan? Check out our first episode of FarmStyle with Ashlie Kolb. This time, Ashlie hits the red carpet at the recent CMA awards and rubs shoulders with some of today's biggest country music stars. Check it out!
New outlooks for farm land values, grain markets and farm machinery are some of the biggest stories in ag this week.