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Schrader: Farmland prices expected to remain 'resilient' in 2019

"Farmland prices remain resilient despite downward pressures," R.D. Schrader told farmers and landowners at Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company's annual "Farmer's Economy Update" briefings in Venice, Florida and Fort Wayne.

Schrader pointed to mixed cropland prices on tillable land in 2018, noting that downward pressures include reduced incomes, higher interest rates, a strong dollar and the prospect of tariffs on farm goods.

"Given current and short term projected farm incomes, I would expect farmland values to continue to drift slightly lower. Of course, new variables, such as a good trade agreement with China, could be positive. The biggest factor will be supply and demand. Financially induced sales could also put more land on the market," he said.

Kevin Mills, a CPA and principal of K-COE ISOM, an accounting and consulting firm that specializes in food and agriculture, said the tax reform passed in 2018 presents significant new opportunities for farmers, but they'll need to plan carefully to get the most benefit.

"There are numerous opportunities for farmers and landowners, including a 20% deduction on 'qualified business income' from a partnership, S Corporation or sole proprietorship. But the changes are extensive and sometimes complicated. Landowners need sound advice from accountants who have studied the changes carefully," said Mills.

The Florida luncheon drew 86 people from six states. The one in Fort Wayne attracted 91, primarily from Indiana and Ohio. K-COE ISOM co-sponsored the Fort Wayne program.

Steve Slonaker, farm manager/appraiser/broker, outlined scenarios for corn that could result in prices ranging from $3.50 to $5 per bushel. But while optimistic about corn prices, he noted that the picture remains cloudy until after planting.

Cash rents, he said, are largely unchanged, reflecting "a combination of last year's experience and operator expectations for the 2019 crop."

Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company, based in Columbia City, Indiana, is a leading auctioneer of farmland, real estate, equipment and other assets throughout the United States and is a five-time USA Today/National Auctioneers Association Auction of the Year winner.

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