Florida’s Agricultural Industry Going Strong

Things are looking up for Florida agricultural according to a recent study conducted by the UF’s Food and Resource Economics Department. Combining agricultural, natural resources, and associated food industries, the state brought in an impressive $104 billion in 2011 according to this economic study. Since then, Florida’s agricultural impact has only continued to increase and strengthen.

Which industries are responsible for this positive impact?

Agricultural industries including crop, livestock, forestry, and fisheries production; agricultural product and service providers; food product manufacturing; forest product manufacturing; food distribution; mining; and nature-based recreation are all responsible for Florida’s agricultural turn around.

What’s more, this economic contribution from Florida’s agricultural industries is greatly fueling the job sector. Approximately 2 million full-time and part-time employees in the agricultural sector were accounted for in 2011. This number accounted for 20% of all jobs in Florida state. From 2010 to 2011, the number of employment opportunities in the Florida state agricultural industry increased by 4.4% – a promising increase.

This study paints an overall promising picture of what’s currently going on in Florida’s agricultural and economic climate. All signs point to an effective recovery from the 2008 recession (a very low point) and the continuation of agricultural growth and strength.

Now that Florida’s agricultural industries are once again stable and expanding strong, it follows that now is a good economic climate to tap into the industry, especially the industries that are really generating a positive impact (see above).

If you are interested in purchasing or re-financing agricultural land in Florida, contact AgAmerica Lending  for information on our variety of farm loans and agricultural financing options. We want to support your Florida-based agricultural operation and facilitate its continued growth and success. Info@AgAmerica.com or 844-516-8176.

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Peanut Disease Management: White Mold Solutions

Recently, trace amounts of white mold were confirmed in an Extension Peanut Fungicide trial conducted in Santa Rosa County, Florida.

White Mold Description and Details

White mold is a fungal pathogen and a soilborne disease. It appears as a small BB-like, mustard-sized seed that germinates and infects the peanut crop. Hits of white mold are almost unpreventable, especially in warm, wet years such as these. These hits should be heavily monitored and managed to prevent future spreading. Fortunately, white mold is very easy to detect. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to completely wipe out.

White Mold Treatment Strategies and Solutions

To prevent the spread of white mold, it is paramount that peanut growers enact a solid fungicide program early on in the peanut planting process.

Even so, no fungicide that is used for peanuts can totally wipe out the white mold from a field. Even with the enactment of a sound treatment plan, the fungicide will only kill about 70% of the fungus. To really minimize the risk and manage a current white mold break out, requires the practice of good crop rotation and the use of more resistant, newer peanut varieties.

If you find that white mold is becoming a huge problem, it’s important to deduce the root cause of it. Check if your sprayer is properly calibrated. Make sure the application rate of the fungicide is appropriate. Timing is everything. Perhaps consider shortening the interval time between fungicide applications. Consider applying the fungicide at night or in the early morning hours to allow better penetration. There are many proven techniques that you can implement to better reduce the risk of white mold spreading and ruining your peanut crop.

AgAmerica Lending provides farm loans for peanut producers. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss agricultural financing options for your peanut farm. Stabilize, protect, and support your peanut production with assistance from AgAmerica Lending. Info@AgAmerica.com or 844-516-8176.

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A Solid Ag Loan Option When Interest Rates Rise

Recently, the Federal Reserved (Fed) raised interest rates.

Why?

Higher interest rates are implemented to reduce the speed of economic growth by making borrowing more difficult. In other words, in the Fed’s opinion, the economy was growing “too fast” so they upped the interest rates to brake this rapid growth. Once they assess that this rapid growth has been sufficiently handled, a lowering of interest rates will be implemented to restore steady economic growth.

Until then, these increased interest rates strongly impact variable rate agricultural loans. When interest rates increase, it naturally follows that agricultural landowners are less likely to apply for farm loans, ranch loans, citrus loans, etc. However, agricultural landowners are not without options during periods of elevated interest rates.

Fixed Rate Ag Loans

Fixed rate ag loans are loans where the interest rate does not rise and fall during the fixed rate period of the loan, allowing the borrower to accurately forecast forthcoming payments. Variable rate loans, on the other hand, are directly impacted by interest rates (also called discount rates) and are thus, not easy to predict.

During periods when interest rates are elevated, ag lending companies typically provide a discount to borrowers to fix their interest rate over time, as rates are more likely to fall during the fixed rate period. Conversely, during periods where interest rates are lower, fixed rate agricultural loans are generally higher than variable rates because interest rates are strongly expected to rise during the fixed rate period.

Therefore, in the current economic climate, it definitely makes sense to consider a fixed rate agricultural loan when assessing your farmland financing options.

To learn more about fixed rate agricultural loans and financing agricultural land, please contact us at AgAmerica Lending Info@AgAmerica.com or 844-516-8176.

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5 Reasons to Invest in Timberland

Timberland as an asset has become a very lucrative means of profit for many, especially in Southwest regions of the U.S. such as Florida. Timberland holders have a great opportunity to create profit.

Why?

  1. Timberland appreciates in value, just for the fact that its land, but the added value of the timber increases the price per square foot.
  2. Timberland is a continuously appreciating asset that proves to be profitable despite national economic activity.
  3. Timberland can also be leased to sportsmen enthusiasts as hunting property. Hunting leases are a rare commodity and can be negotiated for a profitable cash flow.
  4. Timberland provides profit through its timber value; timber can be cut and sold to sawmills and different companies to produce a number of forest products, such as lumber, plywood, pulp, and paper products.
  5. The risks associated with timberland are minimal (mostly physical risks due to lack of control over the environment i.e. fires, natural disasters, pest, disease outbreaks, etc.)

 

There is no doubt that timberland is a valuable asset. However, before you invest in timberland, it’s important to be aware of the factors affecting forestland valuation. Despite its abundance, timberland has proven to be a complex asset to valuate on a short-term scale. Many underwriters have a difficult time analyzing income taxes and finding an annual value of timberland that accurately depicts the landowner’s true financial status.

The key to understanding and underwriting forestland assets is to understand the strategic way forest landowners and their management teams approach the preparation of their income taxes. The most important factors include: the way in which the property was obtained, the purpose and actual use of the property, and the way in which expenses and income are perceived. This planning strategy is complex and at times can make it difficult to recognize actual and real profits, losses, and expenses over a short period of time. There are tax considerations, cost considerations, and income considerations to determine before the true value of timberland can be assessed.

All these considerations must be reviewed before timberland loans can be approved.

If you have any questions or need additional information on timberland loans and financing, please contact us at info@AgAmerica.com.

Based on a whitepaper by Carolina Hernandez, a Land South analyst.

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Record Prices and Low Debt Ratios Spur Increase in Farm Loans

The news in farm lending these days has been nothing but rosy. Reuters reported recently that Ag loans are up 14 percent to almost $82 billion last year. That’s remarkable considering the historic drought that struck much of the country and speaks volumes to the good times we’re seeing in agriculture.

Last year, farmers saw cash income of $133 billion, according to the Department of Agriculture. Those projections were at near-record levels thanks to high commodity prices at market and an increase in a demand for food globally – all good things for those in agriculture.

Even with all that lending last year, balance sheets remain strong. Farm debt-to-asset ratios are expected to fall 40 points this year to just 10.2 percent. This would be a record for farm credit and supports the idea that these high profit margins will continue.

For anyone who might have gotten lost with all those statistics, here’s the boiled-down version: High agriculture profits without a lot of debt mean good times for farmers.

This also means it’s a good time for farm operations to grow. Times of high profits and low debt mean farms can take on new agriculture loans to add acreage or buy equipment. At AgAmerica Lending, we employ experts at helping farmers plan for expansion. We’ll help you develop a strategy and come up with Ag loan options to succeed at your goals.

For many farms, the best option is with AgAmerica loans, a program that competes with and often beats all other farm loan rates. For others, it’s a hard-money loan based on collateral. And some may choose an equity line where you can take out money as your operation grows.

Whichever you choose, you can take comfort in knowing now is the time to grow. With record profits and low debt ratios, there has never been a better time to be in agriculture.

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Here’s What Female Farmers Need to Know About Lending

There was a story in the USA Today recently that might come as a surprise to some in the world of farming. It said that the number of women farmers has increased dramatically in the past decade. This isn’t just wives or daughters of farmers but women who have decided to take on farm operations of their own.

In fact, women farmers have increased 19 percent since 2002, while the number of farmers overall grew by just 7 percent, according to the USDA. In places like Iowa, women now make up 20 percent of all farmers.

Some of these farmers took over the operation after they outlived their fathers or husbands, but more and more, women are choosing to enter farming on their own.

No matter how they enter the industry, women farmers should know what’s available to them in the form of agricultural loans that could help their operations grow.

First and foremost is the AgAmerica Conventional Real Estate Loans, which offer extremely low financing and are as competitive as anything in ag lending, including government farm loans. AgAmerica loans come with several options, including a 25-year fully amortized loan and a 10-year AgEquity Revolving Line of Credit.

Women farmers who are new to ag lending may also want to consider the Transitional Lending program from AgAmerica Lending. These loans are often called “hard money” loans and are based on collateral. These are ideal for, say, new ranch financing to buy grazing land, or as a citrus loan to buy new groves. They can also be used as a hobby farm loan for someone looking to buy a new four-wheeler for the grandkids or a new boat for the weekends.

It may also be important to women farmers who are new to ag lending to look for a banker who strives to make a personal connection with clients. Here at AgAmerica Lending, we approach every farm loan refinancing or new hard money loan or any other type of loan as a chance to develop a relationship with a client we hope to keep for life. Whether you’re a female or a male farmer, here at AgAmerica Lending, we’re going to give you that personal approach we hope will become a long-lasting relationship.

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U.S. Farm Exports Hit Record, Signaling Time for Upgrades

There’s good news this year: U.S. farm exports will rise to $142 billion, a new record. This should spell more profits in the hands of ranchers and farmers.

Upturns in the market are a perfect time to think about ways to become more productive, says John Ikerd, writing a paper titled “Financial Management on New Farms” for the University of Missouri.

“It’s fairly easy for a conventional farmer to borrow money for new ventures, such as expanding acreages of cropland or building a new confinement livestock facility,” Ikerd writes. “This is particularly true during time of profitable commodity prices.”

Every farmer knows a new combine or a new plat of land could make the operation more efficient. But there are also new pieces of technology that can improve everyday farming operations.

A good example are the GPS devices now being used by farmers to sow and fertilize. According to a Clemson University article in the Southeast Farm Press, benefits of these satellite-guided devices include “reduced skips and overlaps, the ability to operate in conditions of poor visibility, keeping implements in the same traffic patterns year-to-year (controlled traffic), extending hours of operation, allowing the use of low-skilled tractor drivers, increased yield, energy and time savings, increased application accuracy, and enhanced operation safety.”

The cost of these devices ranges from $6,000 to $25,000, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension. But that cost should quickly be offset by increased productivity and, hopefully, better yield from crops that are sown and fertilized more accurately.

Paying for this equipment isn’t difficult with the AgAmerica conventional real estate loans from AgAmerica Lending. When using Ag lending loans to buy or upgrade new farm equipment, consider that the low interest rates could be offset by the increased yields and productivity.

Once again, it’s good to be a farmer. And by upgrading with high-tech equipment, farmers and ranchers can be sure it will be for many years to come.

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