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Schrader's annual Farmers Update sessions focus on planning, value

Farmland values continue to hold their own despite volatile commodity prices, and farm families must plan and communicate openly to ensure a smooth succession of the business.

Those were two key messages heard by farmland owners at Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company’s annual Farmers Update sessions in Venice, Florida, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“In 10 years of holding these briefings, farmers have come to expect and look forward each year,” said R.D. Schrader, whose company partnered this year with K-Coe Isom, which provides business planning and estate planning for farm families, as well as accounting services.

Schrader presented a wide array of data on farmland values as related to interest rates, commodity prices, farm debt and other fundamental financial data. He emphasized the stability of land prices, even additional strength in some pockets over the winter months.

“Farmland values have held up surprisingly well, even when crop prices have been unsteady. This is a critical message during this period of extreme gyrations in the prices of stocks, bonds and other alternatives,” said Schrader.

Land owners also heard from two K-Coe Isom succession planning specialists -- Jeanne Bernick, who spoke in Venice, Florida, and Kayla Jenkins, who addressed the session in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Both addressed the importance of farm families developing financial and succession plans to ensure a fair and smooth transition from one generation to the next.

Schrader farm management specialist Steve Slonaker focused on farm profitability and underscored the importance of succession planning.

“Operators had a better year in 2019 than some had anticipated due to higher yields and MFP payments. Looking ahead to 2020, we expect lower fertilizer and diesel prices to lower costs, so we anticipate a similar profit margin. Of course, the Coronavirus pandemic complicates the picture. However, farmers are by nature optimistic and resilient, and we hope operators are able to produce crops without interruption. They’ll be focused on growing their crops, trusting that the market will be more settled by harvest time,” said Slonaker.

Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company, based in Columbia City, Indiana, is a leading auctioneer of farmland, other agricultural assets and real estate throughout the United States

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