Statewide: November 26, 2010 Archive
Posted at 10:55 AM on November 26, 2010
by Mark Steil
Filed under: Farms
Farmers like to tell anyone outside of agriculture that there's a lot more to the business than just the price of grain. Those grain prices have been relatively profitable the past few years but that doesn't mean agriculture has become a no-worry enterprise. Because along with grain prices, the cost of farming is also rising.
When grain prices go up, it's noticed by everyone in the business. Farmers certainly, but also by the people who supply farmers with what they need to grow a crop. That includes fertilizer, seed and tractor companies....and also landlords. They know high grain prices means farmers are seeing more revenue, and they generally want a piece of that income.
A good example is the price of renting land.
David Bau is with University of Minnesota Extension. He says land rental rates have increased steadily the last few years. For 2009, rental prices increased almost 9 percent. That means for the best farmland in the state rental rates are $150 an acre or more.
A typical southern Minnesota corn/soybean farmer plants about 1000 acres of crops. If that farmer happens to rent all the land, that rental bill alone is $150,000.
Bau says while all the numbers aren't in yet for this year, it's likely that rents rose sharply again, at least 7 percent in some parts of the state. And with grain prices now generally above year ago levels, Bau says rents will rise again next year.
Those rental rates are one of the most important cost factors for Minnesota farmers. Bau says contrary to what many people may believe, most farmers rent the majority of their cropland.
He says a rule of thumb is that a typical farmer owns anywhere from a quarter to a third of the land they plant each spring, the rest is rented. So as rental rates go up, their cost of business continues to increase. Those higher bills take some of the luster off surging grain prices.
Posted at 8:23 PM on November 26, 2010
by Tom Robertson
Filed under: Arrowhead, Central Minnesota, Environment, Government, Northwest Minnesota, Southeast Minnesota, Southwest Minnesota, Sports & Recreation, Twin Cities
You'll soon have a chance to weigh in on the DNR's draft plan to guide state and regional parks and trails Legacy Amendment funding for the next quarter century. The plan will be available for review and public comment starting early next month.
The plan is mandated by the Legislature and is designed to establish a 25-year vision for the parks and trails effort in Minnesota, especially as it pertains to funding generated by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment passed by voters in 2008.
The amendment created a three-eighths percent sales tax increase for natural resources and the arts. Of the money generated, 14.25 percent goes toward state parks and trails projects.
Minnesota residents are asked to comment on recommendations on how parks and trails connect people with the outdoors and how the state takes care of existing recreational resources.
The DNR also wants feedback on their proposed strategy for land acquisition and on developing new parks and trails to meet future needs.
You can comment on the plan online, or attend one of several workshops around the state:
-- Thursday, Dec. 2, 7-9 p.m., Country Inn and Suites, 1900 Premier Dr., Mankato
-- Monday, Dec. 6, 7-9 p.m., Holiday Inn -- downtown waterfront, 200 W. First St., Duluth
-- Tuesday, Dec. 7, 7-9 p.m., Hampton Inn and Suites, 1019 Paul Bunyan Dr. S., Bemidji
-- Wednesday, Dec. 8, 7-9 p.m., University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center, 1890 Buford Ave., St. Paul.