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Schmidt: Tree care workshop

By Staff | Apr 18, 2014

Don’t forget to RSVP for the 2nd Annual Tree Care Workshop being held next Thursday, April 24, 2014 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. We will be starting at the Rugby Armory classroom (use the south side entrance) and conclude at the SCD Arboretum for some hands-on learning! Topics being covered include: Tree Disease Identification, Tree Planting and Care, and Tree Pruning. In addition to ND State Foresters Joel Nichols and Lezlee Johnson, local members of the Pierce County Soil Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and NDSU Extension Service will also be available to answer questions.

The 2nd Annual Spring Tree Care Workshop is free and open to the public. To help us plan, please RSVP by Monday, April 21 by calling the Pierce County SCD at 776-2207 or the Pierce County Extension office at 776-6234 ext. 5. N.D.

Land values cool

The hot farm land market showed significant cooling during 2013, according to Andrew Swenson, North Dakota State University Extension Service farm management specialist. His estimate is derived from the published results of a January 2014 county survey commissioned by the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands.

Land values showed about an 8 percent increase from the previous survey, compared with a 42 percent increase during 2012. Swenson says, “It is quite possible that land values peaked in the last few months of 2013, when the financial impact of lower crop prices became more evident, especially in the Red River Valley, where two major crops, corn and sugar beets, had negative returns, on average.”

Land values in the northern Red River Valley region showed a 4 percent decline (to $3,283) from January 2013 to January 2014 after a 56 percent increase the previous year. All other regions had positive year-to-year results, with the lowest being 3 percent (to $4,319) in the southern Red River Valley counties and (to $2,058) in the northeastern region.

According to Swenson, “Unless crop prices have a significant rally, it is likely that next year’s survey will confirm that the historic 11-year run in land values, averaging an annual increase of 15 percent, is over.”

The reality of crop price declines was abrupt. In 2013, net farm income dropped more than 80 percent in the Red River Valley and approximately 50 percent in the rest of the state, according to results from those enrolled in the Farm Business Management Education program.

“In addition, 2014 projected crop budgets were sobering,” Swenson says. “Producers and their bankers are more cautious about jumping on the land escalator. However, if interest rates remain low and cash prices stabilize above $4 per bushel for corn, $11 for soybeans and $6.50 for wheat, it is possible that land values may have a soft landing.”

The largest increase in cropland values (January 2013 to January 2014) was about 28 percent (to $1,278) in the southwestern region, nearly 15 percent (to $1,738) in the north-central region and 13 percent (to $1,523) in the south-central region. Three regions, east-central (to $2,490), southeastern (to $3,183) and northwestern (to $950), had increases of 8 to 10 percent.

The survey indicated that land rents, as typical, did not change as much in percentage as land values. On average, cropland rents increased about 4 percent (January 2013 to January 2014).

Surprisingly, the largest increase was 8 percent (to $124.20) in the southern Red River Valley. The average rent increased about 7 percent (to $60.10) in the south-central and (to $38.50) southwestern regions. Rents increased 4 to 5 percent (to $49.90) in the north-central, (to $56.70) in the northeastern and (to $96.80) in the southeastern regions. Crop land rent only increased by 2 percent (to $66.90) in the east-central region and had slight declines (to $34.70) in the northwestern region and (to $89) the northern Red River Valley.

Swenson cautions that the above values and rents are averages for large multicounty regions. Prices can vary considerably within a region because of soil types, drainage and location.

Producers and landowners can access the most current County Land Rents and Values at the following website: land.nd.gov/surface/rentsurvey.aspx .

2014 Camp opportunities

The North Dakota 4-H Program has offered camping as educational experience for decades. Programs are designed to develop skills for safe and healthful living, enhance personal development and provide constructive uses of leisure time. The North Dakota 4-H Program is committed to providing a safe environment where children can make new friends and develop new skills.

The camp provides safe opportunities for youth to master new skills and gain independence. Facilities include a main lodge for dining and group activities and three sleeping cabins, each having its own bathroom and shower facilities. The camp has beautiful walking trails along the Missouri River and lots of open spaces to enjoy.

Staff members are trained in outdoor skills, science, agriculture, human development and working with youth to ensure a high-quality experience for campers. All staff members are also trained and certified in first aid and CPR. Your campers will be busy. In addition to the planned education program, recreational opportunities are included for each camp. Campers will enjoy many activities, including our walking trails, mud pit and archery. Campers especially like the Dutch oven cooking, evening campfires, waterslide and dance.

4-H membership is NOT required for participation. Scholarships are available for income eligible families. To see the list of camps and camp descriptions and registration information go to ndsu.edu/4h . P.S. I will be co-chairing the 4-H Adventure II Camp again this year June 15-19 and it would be great to see some Pierce county youth faces there!

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