Hot Topics At The Great Plains Land Expo

Inside Dakota Ag

Talks on land values, land rents and mineral rights attract the most people.

Published on: November 22, 2013

The three breakout sessions at the recent Great Plains Land Expo in Fargo, N.D., that appeared to attract the most people were about land values, land rents and mineral rights.

Lynn Paulson, Bell State Bank, Fargo N.D., handled topic “Farmland Values From A Lender’s Perspective.”

He said he didn’t think there was a land bubble. And he didn’t that bubble people fear is out there was about to burst, despite the fact that the local cash corn price in some parts of North Dakota was down to $3.10 per bushel.

Farmers who have a lot of cash and no debt will still pay top dollar for the right piece of land, he said.

Instead of a bubble that is about to burst, the land market may be more like a farm tire with a slow leak in it, he said.

About 300 people attended the Great Plains Land Expo in Fargo.
About 300 people attended the Great Plains Land Expo in Fargo.

Paulson, who also farms himself near Maddock, N.D., says he’s concerned about the local ag economy next year. Implement dealers are bracing themselves for a slow year. Some farmers may not have set aside enough cash to get through them tough times. Young farmers don’t even know what tough times are. Some farmers -- both young and old -- may have gone overboard on family living in recent years.

Family living costs are like concrete, he said. Once they set up they are hard to change.

Landowner and Fargo attorney Roger Minch had some interesting things to say about rents.  His main message to landowners: Collect all of your rent Feb. 1.

He said the main benefit of a Feb. 1 due date is that if the tenant can’t pay, you’ll have time to find someone else to rent the land before spring planting.

Minch said he so prefers renting to someone who can pay upfront that it’s sometimes worth a $5-10/a discount.

David Hermanson, an attorney at Vogel Law, Fargo, N.D., had a talk titled “Bakken 101: What Every Landowner Should Know About Mineral Rights.” But he didn’t get to his prepared remarks. He was peppered with questions almost from the moment he turned on his microphone. Most of the questions were about how to claim dormant mineral rights, how to recover mineral rights if the company wasn’t drilling, how to reclaim the rights to minerals below the level where oil companies were currently drilling, how to negotiate easement leases for oil pipelines, and what to do if you owned mineral rights where a company was drilling but you hadn’t signed a lease.

“These are all very complicated issues,” he said.