Saturday, February 24, 2007

Land rent auction shows ethanol impact in valley

InForum- Fargo ND

KINDRED, N.D. - The biggest news in Red River Valley agriculture this past week was a farmland cash rent auction for Orten B. Brodshaug of Horace, N.D., on Feb. 21 at the Fargo Holiday Inn.

The auction prices brought nearly double the cash rents that prevail in parts of the auction area - all in Cass County. The rents set a new and public benchmark for the region and a dramatic demonstration the effect the ethanol-driven corn market is having on land rents. It also may show the concurrent impact of sugar beet and soybean returns, with implications for land renters and landowners up and down the Red River Valley.

About 7,300 acres of Brodshaug's owned land came up for three-year bids.

Scott Steffes, president of Steffes Auctioneers Inc. of Fargo, confirmed that there were about 100 qualified bidders at the auction and about 275 people in attendance. The auction occurred over an hour and 40 minutes, in four rounds of bidding.

To qualify as bidder, a participant needed a $10,000 cashier's check and a letter from a lender. If they were the high bidder, they had to deposit 10 percent of that amount, with the balance due March 1.

Steffes confirmed that the low bid was $126 an acre and the highest was $174 an acre, with the median average between $150 and $160 an acre. On that basis, the average rent in the deal would be $1.1 million per year.

Some bidders who attended the auction, but declined to be named, said one successful bidder is a large sugar beet producer from the northern Red River Valley and rented more than 2,000 of the acres.

Brodshaug, 71, is retiring from operating farms and also owns land in the LaMoure area. He reportedly did not grow sugar beets on any of the land, so the Red River Valley land is especially valuable for that crop, which requires rotations with other crops to avoid pest and disease problems.

“We had a total of nine different renters,” Steffes said. Brodshaug didn't immediately return a phone call at his Kindred farm headquarters, where his staff said he was busy preparing for a March 6 farm equipment auction.

Steffes declined to say whether the land value is twice the 2006 rate, but acknowledged it's probably double the rates of two or three years ago. He noted that comparable land in a 2,800-acre deal averaged about $125 in late 2005. Auction-goers said the land in the western Cass County area saw the biggest change because of the improved income prospects for corn and soybeans.

Steffes said the auction system is a wonderful way to discover prices for “large, multi-tract landowners” and probably will become more common. Steffes said Brodshaug had participated as a bidder in a land rental auction about four years ago and liked the process.

One significant ag lender in the region, who asked not to be identified, said the sale will have impacts even on operators who have multiyear deals with landlords.

“I think people's perception would be that it was significantly higher than what people would have expected,” he said. “It'll send tremors. Cash rents cause more turmoil than land values, and cash flow impact.”

Typically, farmers own a fourth or a third of their land and rent the rest, so the impact from land rent increases has an immediate effect.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

African Art and Artifacts Collection will cross the block at Sunset Auction Company on April 21 in Miami

February 21, 2007

Miami, FL
April 21, 2007


Items from the largest quality African art collection in Southwest Florida will cross the block at Sunset Auction on April 21 in Miami.

Auction owner Bryan Kinsley held the first auction at Sunset in January 2003. Since then the auction house has offered twelve to eighteen general sales each year including a monthly antiques and collectibles sale as well as onsite estate sales and business liquidations. This will be among Sunset’s first tightly focused specialty sales and it is expected to attract local and international individual bidders as well as African culture museums and art dealers but Kinsley states there will be something for every interested collector. The inventory will consist of 225 – 250 pieces ranging from Antique and Museum Grade artifacts to very high quality Contemporary works. It will feature art from Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Fasso, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo and more.

Included in the inventory will be statues, carvings, mask, furniture, lamps, musical instruments, Zimbabwe stone statues, mud cloth wall hangings, doors, bronze, pottery and a hut post and ladder among others garnered from all over Africa, including items from the Yoruba, Baule, Bobo, Mossi and Ashanti tribes.

The Elk’s Lodge facility, located at 10301 Sunset Dr, Miami, has seating for around 200 but there will be no advance reservations for seats. There will be food available freshly prepared by the Elk’s Club and a full bar will be offered.

Kinsley will be accepting absentee bids prior to the opening of bidding at 12:00PM on April 21 and the auction will be carried live online in its entirety by Proxibid for online bidding. Preview of the auction inventory will be from 11:00AM to 12:00PM on the day of the sale until the opening bid and catalogs will be available. For more information call Bryan Kinsley at Sunset Auction at (305) 926-8864, email at or visit the website at for information and driving directions.


Baule – Baule female statue Assie Ossou, approximately 60in tall.

Guro – Guro mask with bird on a display of spears, 50in tall.

Bam – Bam Bara mask, 15in.

Tam Ba – Male Tam Ba statue, 60in tall.

Elephant – Guro small elephant mask, 15in.

Senufo – Senufo woman statuette, 19in tall.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Sale November 14/21, December 12, 2006
Naples, FL


Auctions Neapolitan of Naples, FL held a wide ranging three day sale in November and December that sparked international interest in quality jade and other Oriental items.

Neapolitan Auctions owner Kathleen Pica of Naples, FL was excited about the results from her recent three day sales event that saw bidders from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan competing with local bidders for items from the 1200 lot inventory she assembled for this auction. The sale was conducted online by and in person in the auction facility on 1st Avenue South in Naples.

Each of the three days of the sale had a significantly different tone. The first day, November 14, featured a number of lots from a significant collection of jade artifacts originally from China. Until recently the collection was privately housed in Naples. The second day, November 21, showcased a variety of antiques and silver from an estate in Port Charlotte and the final day, December 12, was “clean up” day according to Pica, picking up miscellaneous lots from a number of sources, providing bidders with lots of unique opportunities for holiday gifts. The opportunity to bid attracted 920 approved bidders registered for the online portion of the sale competing against 200 registered in person in the Gallery.

The top lot of the sale crossed the block on the first day of the sale. A Ching Dynasty (1644-1912) jade scepter created quite a stir in the online market and on the phone bidding lines. An online bidder from Taiwan battled it out with phone bidders from China, and California and other online bidders from China, Hong Kong and Japan. Pica noted, “Oriental buyers are especially favorable to the lighter colored jade pieces. They like the whites and light greens.” The 15¾in scepter in light green jade certainly fit the bill and included carvings depicting a man and his servant traveling. That was a good omen because the scepter will soon make its way to Taiwan going to the online bidder there for $13,915 including the buyer’s premium of fifteen percent. The original presale estimate was for $1,200/1,400.

Other significant jade lots included a light green carved jade brush wash, 5 by 4in, with a raised center medallion. Estimated at $150/$200, the elegant bowl garnered a winning bid of $4,025, again from an Oriental buyer. A 4in Chinese carved jade pants coupe with fitted wooden stand, light green with brown traces, estimated at $300/$400, cleaned up at $3,795 and a Chinese carved white jade belt buckle sold for $3047. Pica said, “The jade was good quality but nothing real special. The market is just ready for good quality jade work.”

The second day of the sale held its own with a Japanese two handled signed bronze urn. The 19¾in urn was elaborately decorated with large flowers, leaves and branches with details to the petals and stamin. The urn was mounted on a three dolphin base resting on a plateau with bird perched on a branch as a finial. Estimated at $600/$800, it sold to an online bidder for $2,760. A seldom seen Meissen porcelain harlequin figure, 9in tall sold over estimate online at $873.

The final day of the sale saw a vintage Japanese small sword, 26in long, with a leather wrapped handle and a stylized lotus leaf Tsuba, estimated at $300/$400 bring in a winner of $625.

Pica feels that the international contacts and the quality of merchandise she is attracting in Naples allows Auctions Neapolitan to effectively offer auction services that compete favorably with the larger houses on the East coast. Her next auction is scheduled for January. For more information visit the Gallery at 1100 1st Avenue South in Naples, contact Kathleen Pica at Auctions Neapolitan at (239) 262-7333 or visit the website at


Scepter – This Ching Dynasty scepter in light green jade was top lot of the sale at $13,915 from a bidder in Taiwan.

Harlequin – A rare 9in tall Meissen porcelain harlequin figurine sold for $873.

Libation cup – An archaic light green jade libation cup with stylized Chi dragons climbing up the sides sold well over the $400/$600 estimate at $2932.

Sword – A 26in long Japanese sword with ray skin and leather wrapped handle brought $625.

Urn – A two handled Japanese bronze urn, 19¾in tall, sold better than expected with $2760 at the hammer.

Water coupe – A carved Chinese pants water coupe carved in light green nephrite jade with brown traces in a fitted wooden stand sold for more than ten times the low estimate for $3795.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bud Light: Auctioneer Wedding

AgWired coverage

Here is a link to the podcast interview I did with AgWired 's Chuck Zimmerman. Chuck had a very busy tour at the Louisville Farm Show and I am glad he stopped in for a visit.

Auction signals end of family's farming

KATC Channel 3

LETTSWORTH, La. -- On a clear, sunny day in January, L.N. Jones got out of farming after 51 years of doing nothing else.

The occasion wasn't a retirement dinner, but a farm auction in Lettsworth.

Small equipment parts were neatly organized under a large wooden shed. Larger equipment _ such as tractors and combines _ sat out in rows on ground that would normally be planted in soybeans this spring.

"This is kind of an end of an era," said his wife Jane Jones.

Forty of L.N. Jones' years of farming were here; the rest as a young man in his home state of Missouri. He comes from a long line of farmers, and his two sons, Mike and Mark, tried farming until today's farm economics _ fairly flat commodity prices and soaring costs of production _ forced them to get other jobs.

"We farmed this ground for 40 years," said Jane Jones, who's 72. "It's hard to stop, to give it up."

"There are good years and bad years, but it's a very good life, a very rewarding life," she said.

If her husband, a lean, soft-spoken man, was feeling sad on auction day, he didn't show it. Some of the big tractors were ones he had driven for 20 years, but he said he didn't get sentimental about equipment.

"I don't have any use for it anymore. Whatever it gets (at auction), it's gone; I won't worry about it. I looked at it as machinery, just metal, a way to make a living. Let it go," said Jones.

His given name is Lynn Noflet Jones, but he goes by his initials. He grew up on a farm in Cooter, Mo., in what's called the "boot heel"-shaped section of the state.

Forty years ago, when it became hard for Jones to expand his own farm in Missouri because of a lack of available land, he and his family, along with his brother and sister's farming families, moved to Louisiana.

They had answered a real estate ad in the Memphis, Tenn., newspaper about land that was available for lease in Lettsworth, about 25 miles north of New Roads.

L.N. Jones and his brother, Jimmy Jones, together leased 1,500 acres, splitting the land between them, with their sister and her husband farming nearby. They were some of the first to introduce row crops in a part of the state where the land was then mostly in cattle.

"We had people come by when we started unloading the equipment; they'd stop and look. We brought it with us, the tractor and farm equipment we used in Missouri," Jones said.

"We tore up a lot of it, when we started on it. It wasn't built heavy enough. We had to go back to Missouri and Arkansas" and get heavier equipment, he remembers.

"It had just been cleared, was raw new ground," Jones said.

The Joneses raised soybeans, wheat and corn on their farm. They bought three acres of the land they leased to build their house on; it sits not far from La. 1 in Lettsworth.

Through the years, Jones also leased land from other property owners in the area. Much of the land had long been held by various families and wasn't for sale. But Jane Jones said she doesn't know if they would have bought it anyway.

It would have been another large debt in the risky world of farming.

At one point, Jones was farming 3,300 acres. In recent years, he dropped down on the acreage he farmed: "The heat in the summertime gets to you. I'm 74," Jones said.

Last year he farmed 950 acres, the greater portion of which was part of the original 1,500 acres he and his brother had leased 40 years ago.

Jones and his wife had pondered getting out of farming altogether, but hadn't made the final decision. Then this past spring, the original 1,500 acres was sold. The land will be going into sugar cane now under a new owner.

"Sometimes, God kind of makes your mind up for you," said Jane Jones.

On the Jan. 25 auction, the clear blue sky was a blessing after days of dreary gray skies and rain _ farm auctions are held no matter what the weather is like.

A crowd of area farmers and ranchers had gathered at the farm. One of their first stops was at the auctioneering company trailer for Keith Babb and Associates of Monroe.

The farmers and ranchers filled out a registration card and got a number. If they ended up making a winning bid on a piece of equipment, they'd come back later to the trailer to pay.

Keith Babb's wife, Carolyn, was at the trailer window. She seemed to know everyone who came by.

"That's one of the functions of an auction," she said. "The farmers can get together and visit."

The auction started under the shed, with the smaller pieces of equipment and parts first. Items such as heavy chains, large metal springs, nuts and bolts and gauge wheels for John Deere planters were carefully organized on wooden pallets.

Keith Babb conducted the auction from a specially designed camper bed on a pickup truck. As items were sold, the truck driver would move the truck slowly along to the next lots.

"This is a sad occasion in some ways," Babb told the crowd in a deep, rolling voice he worked in radio and TV before going into auctioneering in 1971.

The money from the auction, however, would be going toward the Jones' retirement, he said.

"They won't have to worry about the weather or prices," Babb said. "We wish them a very successful future in his retirement."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

National Farm Machinery Show Coverage

We were an an exhibitor at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville Kentucky this past week. Over 300,000 farmers attended from all across the United States and many countries around the world.

We were mentioned in several media items, and as they become available online we will post links to them .

Friday, February 09, 2007

Huge Farm Sale In South Dakota

Have a look at this short video of the Diamond Ring Farm sale in South Dakota. It was a huge sale, with nearly 2 million dollars of Cat Challenger tractors alone !

Find the selling prices with Machinery Pete