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Predicting spring planting season outlook, and discussing business startups

Group of farmers, investors and business owners converged on Music Man Square for Ag Ventures Alliance meeting

Posted: Mar. 21, 2019 10:08 PM
Updated: Mar. 21, 2019 10:24 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Imagine starting your own business from the group up.

Folks that started up their own agricultural based businesses, as well as farmers, members and investors from around the state of Iowa and across the country converged at Music Man Square for the Ag Ventures Alliance meeting.

Steven Brockshus started FarmlandFinder.com, and got the idea from attending a land auction when he was younger.

"I learned that this is one of the biggest purchasing decisions a landowner or farmer will make in their entire lives, but they had very little access to information to make that decision."

His site uses resources like satellite imagery, soil maps, crop history, historical production, and even sales prices of nearby properties. Since the site's launch, customer traffic has been growing, and they've expanded their service to 12 states in the Midwest, and looking to expand coast to coast. Brockshus says it's flat out fun.

"Identifying what problems we're solving, who else shares that same vision, whether that's for team members, whether that's for potential clients, other landowners, potential investors, but really crafting where we see the future's going."

Also in attendance was Jill Euken, who raises livestock, as well as grows corn and soybeans, along with her husband near Atlantic, Iowa. She and her husband are Alliance members, and have invested in some business ventures that the Alliance has helped support. The recent rainfall and flooding that has devastated western and southwestern Iowa fortunately haven't really affected them.

"In Cass and Pottawatamie County, we have the East and West Nishnabotna Rivers, and they flooded for about 24 hours, and of course, they drain into tributaries that go into the Missouri River."

Despite the amount of flooding, she doesn't see commodity prices being affected longterm.

"Our capacity to produce in the United States way outweighs the market in most instances. If you look at that flood range along the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers, in comparison to the whole production area in the US, it's very small."

While planting season is still at least a few weeks away, she does feel the moisture and saturated ground will have some effect, but she's hoping for improving conditions.

"We typically start planting about mid-April in southern Iowa where we are, and if we get 10 good days then, we can get corn in in a good time period."

The USDA released their Midwest Climate Outlook on Thursday, and say that over $1 billion in agriculture-related losses are possible in Nebraska due to the flooding alone. In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts the flooding we've seen will likely continue through May as more melting occurs upstream.

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