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USDA's data for 2012 shows increase in cash rent in most regional counties

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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released the results of its 2012 cash rent survey, which indicates that the average cash rental rate for non-irrigated cropland has increased over the last year in most local counties.


As required by the 2008 farm bill, and in response to numerous requests from the general public, USDA now releases county-level cash rent data annually. The 2012 data becomes the fifth consecutive year for which county-level data has been provided by USDA.

Beginning in 1997, USDA's National Agricultural Statistical Service had published cash rental rate data only at the state level.

The latest data includes non-irrigated cropland average rental rates for every county in the nation. In addition, rental rate data is available for counties that have significant acres of irrigated cropland and pastureland.

The data being provided by USDA on an annual basis has a multitude of uses. For example, the Farm Service Agency uses the cash rental rate data to help determine market-based rental rates for the Conservation Reserve Program.

Other state and federal governmental agencies, universities and research organizations use the data for economic analysis. In addition, the annual survey provides farmers and landowners with current information about rental rates in their county.

Data collection for the 2012 cash rent survey was conducted in June. All responses were passed through a computer edit to check for consistency within the report. Any suspect responses were either confirmed or corrected by USDA.

USDA forecasts 13 percent reduction in U.S. corn production

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest crop production report, corn production in the United States is expected to total 10.7 billion bushels this year, down less than 1 percent from the August report, but down 13 percent from 2011. This would be our nation's lowest production total since 2006.

Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, corn yields in the U.S. are expected to average 122.8 bushels per acre, down 0.6 of a bushel from the August estimate and 24.4 bushels below the 2011 average. This would be the lowest average yield since 1995.

USDA also forecast that soybean production in the U.S. would total 2.63 billion bushels, down 2 percent from the August forecast, but down 14 percent from 2011.

Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, soybean yields in the U.S. are expected to average 35.3 bushels per acre, down 0.8 of a bushel from the August estimate, but down 6.2 bushels from last year's average yield.

Minnesota corn production expected to increase by 7 percent

Minnesota corn production is expected to total 1.29 billion bushels this year, up 1 percent from the August forecast and up 7 percent from last year's 1.20 billion bushels. This year's production estimate would also be equal to Minnesota's highest production total set in 2010.

Based on crop conditions as of Sept. 1, corn yields in Minnesota are expected to average 156 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from last month and equal to last year's average of 156 bushels per acre.

The number of corn acres harvested for grain is expected to total 8.25 million acres, up 7 percent from last year. It would also be the largest number of corn acres harvested for grain in Minnesota history.

Minnesota soybean production is expected to total 263 million bushels, unchanged from last month's forecast, but down 3 percent from last year.

Based on crop conditions as of Sept. 1, Minnesota soybean yields are expected to average 38 bushels per acre, unchanged from last month's forecast, but down 0.5 of a bushel from 2011.

Minnesota's soybean acreage for harvest, at 6.92 million acres, is down 1 percent from last year.

Minnesota sugar beet production is forecast to total 12.8 million tons, unchanged from the August report, but up 43 percent from 2011. Sugar beet yields are expected to average 27 tons per acre, up 8 tons from last year's average yield of 19 tons per acre.

Minnesota farmers are expected to harvest 473,000 acres of sugar beets this year, up 1 percent from last year's 469,000 acres.

Livestock producers urged to keep good records

On Sept. 30, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's authority to administer several livestock disaster and livestock feed assistance programs ended.

It is not known if Congress will provide funding to assist producers that had higher than normal livestock mortality because of this summer's heat, or for the loss of feed supplies and pastures due to drought conditions.

In the event funding is provided, livestock producers are encouraged to keep thorough records of all livestock and feed losses, including expenses incurred to purchase supplemental feed supplies.

The Farm Service Agency recommends that livestock owners record and retain all pertinent information and documents related to losses caused by heat or drought conditions.

Examples would include documentation that can verify the number and type of livestock that died, and when they died. If additional feed supplies were purchased, retain all receipts and cancelled checks for such purchases and any related documentation that will verify the type of feed or hay that was purchased, how much was purchased and when it was purchased.

Wes Nelson is executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.