Cover crops have been gaining a reemerging acceptance over the last decade, with very few producers disagreeing about the potential soil health benefits of adding cover crops to their farming operation. However, with low commodity prices producers are trying to reduce expenses on inputs, especially on inputs with a varying or unknown return.
Sporadic rainfall early in 2017 focused attention on insurance for pasture and forages for livestock feed. The primary product, Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage (PRF) insurance, is offered nationwide. In South Dakota the coverage is based on a Rainfall Index (PRF-RI) with indemnity payments tied to a lack of rainfall in a given area.
As South Dakota producers affected by severe drought have either made non-traditional livestock sales or plan to sell a larger than normal number of breeding animals in 2017, this article provides information and examples about two different tax treatments producers should be talking to their tax advisor or consultant about.
According to results from a farm real estate survey conducted by agricultural economists at South Dakota State University, cash rates-of-return for all uses of agricultural land in the state declined slightly during the 1990’s and declined substantially from 2001 to the present.
There is considerable variation in land values within each Region and for each non-irrigated agricultural land use. For example, 2017 cropland values in the East-Central region vary from an average of $4,186 (in the Sanborn, Davison, Hanson and Kingsbury cluster) per-acre for low-productivity cropland to $9,025 (Minnehaha-Moody cluster) per-acre for high-productivity cropland.
Average cash rental rates per-acre reflect regional differences in productivity and carrying capacity of pasture and rangeland tracts, with fluctuations in the commodity markets and potential profits, affecting cash rental rates.
According to the 2017 SDSU Farm Real Estate Market Survey average cropland value for the state is $3,903, down 4.7% from 2016. Cropland values saw continued pressure due to low margins for cropland production. Pasture land was steady to slightly down with a decrease of 0.6% and with state average value of $1,215.
This year marked a year of changes for the SDSU land value survey. The survey was condensed down to incorporate alfalfa hay into crop land and pasture/rangeland now incorporates all grass acres including tame pasture. These changes were made to better reflect the current land use in the state.
Drought conditions across a growing number of South Dakota counties have many livestock producers facing forage shortages. The Agriculture Act of 2014, most commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill, includes programs designed to assist livestock producers facing extended drought conditions.
As drought conditions continue, counties within the hardest hit areas have an opportunity to apply for emergency funding for farmers and ranchers requiring assistance with water relief and water conservation measures through the USDA Farm Service Agency.