With the 2018 Farm Bill came substantial changes to the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). For fiscal year 2019 and each year afterward, up to $300 million is available. All proposals for Fiscal Year 2019 RCPP funding are due December 3, 2019.
The Upper Colorado River Commission System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP) will be put on hold after this year. The program has funded 45 fallowing efforts at an average cost of $205 / acre-foot of conserved consumptive use in the first three years. In 2018, ranchers and famers in the upper basin will receive $3.9 million in payments through the program.
Each year the USDA NASS releases cash rent amounts by land use for various states and regions across the country. In Idaho cash rents for all land types, irrigated cropland, non-irrigated cropland, and pasture, posted declines from 2016 to 2017. In Oregon and Washington, cropland rents increased year-over-year, but 2017 pasture rents decreased from the previous year.
Nationwide, farm real estate values average $3,080 per acre in 2017, up $70 an acre or 2.3 % from 2016. The Mountain region has the lowest farm real estate value at $1,130 per acre. The value of cropland in the same region increased 1.1% year-over-year to $1,780 and pasture land values rose 1.3% to $625 per acre in 2017.
According to the latest release from Northwest Farm Credit Services, agricultural real estate values in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, are stable and increasing through the first half of 2017. Despite weaker commodity prices and less than favorable weather patterns in parts of the northwest, the constrained supply of properties for sale has continued to stabilize land values.
Park County has experienced meaningful growth over the last 45 years. The estimated 2016 population for Park County was 16,114 people, up 3.1% from the 2010 census figure, which equates to an average of 0.50% a year. Projections show that Park County will have a population of 17,800 people by 2036, adding 1,000 people per decade or approximately the same growth rate as from 2010 to 2016.
Northwest Farm Credit Services releases a Market Snapshot of land values quarterly. Their latest issue details market trends through 2016. The decrease in number of sales in 2013 - 2015 reflects constraints in supply rather than weak demand.
Across the region, demand remains strong for working ranches and good-quality agricultural properties due to a strong demand for grass and a limited inventory of good-quality properties. As is typical in the market, properties with premier recreational features or locales with limited private ownership are in highest demand.
The deadlines for local conservation districts and landowners to apply for funds under the Water Quality Grant Program (WQGP) and the Rangeland Health Assessments Program (RHAP), both Wyoming Department of Agriculture funding programs, are coming up in early June. Both programs require projects to have a 30% match, which can be cash or in-kind, and can also be federal funds such as 319 grand funds.
In the historic Ellen Theater in downtown Bozeman, the visiting American Institute of Architecture team made their final presentation on their recommendations from the full draft report of the Bozeman R/UDAT study, a culmination of the Bozeman R/UDAT program, which engaged the community to plan the future of the distinctive and historic Northeast Neighborhood area.
As part of their recommendations, the group divided the study area into four distinct districts.
Across the entire United States, during the reference period (2015-2016), the dollar volume of land sales increased the most for timber land at 5% and residential land at 4%. Agricultural irrigated land sales fell by 1%, and non-irrigated land sales by dollar volume decreased by 2%, likely due to slump in commodity prices, according to the Land Market Survey released annually by the REALTORS® Land Institute and the National Association of REALTORS®.
National agriculture industry consulting and CPA firm K-Coe Isom recently announced a new program aimed to help ranchers generate revenue from conservation projects while simultaneously reducing the rancher’s inherent risk of testing and implementing such projects. Funded by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the program is specific to ranchers whose property is located in priority sage grouse habitat or crucial mule deer winter range or designated mule deer migration corridors within Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, or California.
We advocate that real estate and conservation work best in tandem, and that property can honor heritage and strengthen community. Thankfully, we are not alone in our conviction. Our home of southwest Montana has a number of landowners who steward their properties with a similar community-driven mindset. Arthur Blank, owner of Mountain Sky and new owner of neighboring West Creek Ranch, is one such landowner.
When looking at the "just land" sales per acre number, Clark categorizes 2016 as "stable, but softening" relative to the market over the last ten years. In 2007 the Montana land market had record high transactions at an average of $1909 / acre for just land, excludes the value attributed to buildings and leases. The farm and ranch market bottomed out in 2010 at $610/acre, which represents a 68% loss from the high. By 2014 the market came all the way back up to $1,465 / acre, a 140% gain over 2010. The figure in 2016 is only a 7% discount from 2014. In terms of price per acre 2014 through 2016 resembles 2004 through 2006. For reference, the price of land sold per acre excluding buildings and leases in 2005 was $1,361 / acre.
Every winter, The Land Report releases a Top 100 List of America's Largest Landowners. Earlier this month, the magazine unveiled the 2016 list. Though the top two remain unchanged, there are many new names on this year's list. Of the top 25 landowners by acreage, 20% are classified as "new to the list" meaning that in 2015 their land holdings did not qualify them for a spot in the top 100.