2018 National Land Conference Headlines and Highlights05 Apr 2018, Posted by agricultural commodity, grain markets, Realtors Land Institute in
2018 National Land Conference Headlines and Highlights
Each year the Realtors Land Institute puts on the National Land Conference for its 1200 members, 500 of whom have attained the Accredited Land Consultant designation. Designations are the “alphabet soup” for Realtors—ALC, SIOR, and CCIM are the three that I have personally found valuable in my 30+ year career. While the education to attain these was top notch, it is the ability to meet and do business with Realtors from different geographies who aspire to the highest levels of professionalism and ethics in our business that really creates the lasting value. Enough about designations—the real purpose of this article is to let you know about the national conference in Nashville.
Yes, Nashville—the home of country music and honkytonks.
This was my first time to visit, and it did not disappoint. A tour of the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame brought back memories of riding the tractor for hours and listening to The Oak Ridge Boys, Loretta Lynn, Waylan, Willie, and on and on. And, of course, the live music downtown in the honkytonks was fabulous—Dierks Bentley’s “Whiskey Row” was our personal favorite–I would go back in a heartbeat! But, the real reason I was there was for the conference, and it was a winner as well.
As you might imagine, the national land conference addresses a broad range of topics including hunting land, forestry, transitional land to be developed, foreign investors, conservation easements, and a discussion of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Of all the topics presented to us, the discussion of the Farm Bill was perhaps the most enlightening. Don Parrish from the American Farm Bureau was the presenter, and his entire program can be found on my website under the “Resources” tab or by clicking here. The last time the farm bill was written back in 2008, we had higher grain prices, lower supplies, and high farm income. Crop insurance and price supports were not deemed as critical, but how times have changed! Fast forward to today, and we have enough world grain supplies to wonder if we will ever see a significant rebound in grain prices that are, in many cases, less than half of what they were 10 years ago. All the while, the necessary input costs for seed, fertilizer, and equipment, have not seen the same price decline, and that puts a terrific squeeze on farm income. This all will be reflected in the discussions on the farm bill with “safety nets” for those who produce the food supply for our country and a good portion of the world. This will be a heated discussion in Congress, particularly with the backdrop of the possibility of trade wars with China, one of our largest importers of soybeans.
Our last speaker of the conference was Mark Dotzour, a semi-retired economist from Texas A&M. He’s not your typical economist—he’s actually fun and interesting to listen to, mainly because he presents his information in a very frank and honest manner. You can find his presentation on my Resources Page by clicking here, although it won’t be quite like hearing it firsthand. He believes we are in a fairly low-risk, short-term period for land prices, with inflation and interest rates being the primary threats to that scenario. Much of his discussion centered around the price and supply of oil, US unemployment and who is going to fill all the jobs required to deal with an expected national infrastructure mandate. If you ever see Mark’s name on a program you are attending, make sure you don’t miss that one. I guarantee you will learn something new.