2020 – a year to remember, a year to forget, a year of trials, challenges and opportunities. While 20-20 describes perfect vision, 2020 was generally a difficult year for most. Maybe you find it hard to be thankful for this year, which completely understandable. Here’s my perspective . . . a little long but it makes my point why we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow.
Last evening Parkview Health sent out their last Daily Dose of the week and Curtis Smith (I want to give credit to the proper people) read the following:
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. . . .
Who read those words and when? Abraham Lincoln read those on October 3, 1863 at the beginning of his proclamation that the last Thursday of November is to be a Day of Thanksgiving. In the midst of the Civil War, times of strife, north vs. south, political unrest, concerns over treatment of minorities, etc. (sounds strangely similar) he found reasons to remain thankful and proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a day of celebration!
Last June Halderman held a virtual seminar on land values and rental trends in the midst of the COVID pandemic. I recall suggesting then that the year was only ½ over, even though it felt much longer, and who knew what the second half of the year would bring? Here in late November we can begin to look back with 20-20 vision at the year 2020 and I suggest there is much for which to be thankful.
- Crop yields were average to above average in most of our region.
- Congress, thru USDA, provided needed support payments in the form of MFP’s and CFAP’s to help offset trade and COVID price hits.
- Crop prices for almost all major crops increased significantly since August and are profitable for the 2020 production and if you choose to sell now, potentially profitable for the 2021 crop as well!!
- Net Farm Incomes in the US are up again this year.
- Farmland values remained steady all year and in the fourth quarter are showing signs of strength.
- Interest rates remain historically low (I refinanced my mortgage – did you?).
- The US housing market and residential construction in general is soaring! This creates some 1031 exchange opportunities (for the first time since the early to mid-2000’s).
- On-line auctions. They work well and bidders enjoy them. Last night’s auction concluded 15 minutes after the closing time and the sales price was 27% over the release price. These allow us to be more efficient, do more sales on the same day, conduct a sale safely and is very transparent to the buyers and sellers.
- The agriculture industry proves once again that we are essential and that in spite of a virus the US farmer perseveres. WFH (Work from Home) orders – agriculture’s been doing that forever as the original work from home business!
I pray for those suffering from the virus, those families who lost loved ones this year and those out of work. I pray for those industries (restaurants, hospitality, travel and entertainment) that rely on people getting together in large groups or close confines to survive. 2020 was tough on all of them! I pray for the front line health care workers who must be completely worn out, stressed out and so tired of donning PPE. I pray for educators who go from driving the bus, to teaching a class, to calling parents at night about new quarantines, to serving lunch - all in the same day. I am especially thankful for those folks as well and their commitment to serving. It’s been hard for so many!
2020 – a year to remember, a year to forget, a year of trials, challenges and opportunities. Let us be thankful tomorrow and the rest of the year for the blessings we do have and remain focused on the opportunities this year created.
Finally please know that I am thankful for each and every one of you! You bless our clients and our company every day.
Stay safe and healthy!
Howard Halderman, AFM