Fertilizer Prices Climb; and Injunction for Largest Proposed Fertilizer Mine in Brazil Overturned

Source: Farmdoc, University of Illinois

DTN Farm Business Editor Katie Micik Dehlinger reported yesterday that, “The retail prices of all eight major fertilizers climbed higher in the second week of October, with anhydrousMAP and UAN32 posting the largest gains.

“DTN polls retail  fertilizer sellers each week to compile price estimates and considers a price change of 5% or more to be significant.

Anhydrous prices climbed 16% on average to $804 per ton. MAP and UAN32 each climbed by 7% to $794/ton and $418/ton, respectively.”

Dehlinger explained that, “The prices of the remaining five fertilizers were all higher than last month, but less significantly. DAP cost an average of $711/ton; potash$506/ton; urea$57510-34-0$613/ton; and UAN28$356/ton.”

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Agricultural easements can address farmland preservation and farm transition goals

Questions from farmers and farmland owners about agricultural easements are on the rise at the Farm Office.  Why is that?  From what we’re hearing, the questions are driven by concerns about the loss of farmland to development as well as desires to keep farmland in the family for future generations.  An agricultural easement is a unique tool that can help a farmland owner and farming operation meet goals to protect farmland from development or transition that land to the next generation.  Here are answers to some of the questions we’ve been hearing.

What is an agricultural easement? 

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Weekly Commodity Market Update

Brownfield’s Weekly Commodity update featuring former OSU Extension Ag Economist Ben Brown.

This Week’s Topics:

  • Market recap
  • Corn, soybean production estimates drop
  • Chinese soybean stock changes
  • Wheat exports
  • Record soybean crush
  • Reports to watch

Market recap (Changes on week as of Monday’s close):

  • December 2023 corn up $.02 at $4.90
  • December 2024 corn up $.01 at $5.17
  • November 2023 soybeans up $.22 at $12.86
  • November 2024 soybeans up $.05 at $12.55
  • December soybean oil up 2.97 cents at 55.90 cents/lb
  • December soybean meal up at $390.20/short ton
  • December 2023 wheat up $.05 at $5.77
  • July 2024 wheat down $.06 at $6.34
  • November WTI Crude Oil up $1.10 at $85.70/barrel

Weekly Highlights

  • US crude oil stocks excluding the strategic petroleum reserve increased 427 million gallons on the week while gasoline, distillate, and ethanol stocks all declined.
  • Ethanol production declined just slightly week over week- down 2 million gallons to 295. However, US gasoline consumption was up nearly 7% during the first week over October. With the increase in use and the moderate decline in production ethanol stocks declined 15 million gallons.
  • It was a neutral week for US ag export sales. Corn sales were roughly half what they were the week prior but slightly above all expectations while soybeans also cleared rather low expectations. Soft red winter wheat export sales continue to support the wheat complex on global price competitiveness.
  • USDA cut both US corn and soybeans national average yields in October by 0.8 and 0.5 bushels respectively. For both, the decrease in production was either partially or fully offset with declines in demand categories.
  • The most surprising number in Thursday Supply and Demand Report came from the global soybean balance sheet where a drop in Chinese beginning stocks and an increase in expected feed use helped create a bullish global ending stocks picture.
  • Open interest in Chicago corn and soybean futures and options positions increased week over week. Producer and merchants doubled their short position of corn contracts while slightly selling soybean contracts.
  • Managed money traders bought back 46.7 thousand positions of Chicago corn to shrink their net short- this was someway surprising after daily estimates had estimated they would increase their net short.
  • USDA Ag Export Inspections were bullish for soybeans while bearish for corn. At nearly 74 million bushels, soybean exports were the highest since early January.
  • The National Oilseed Processors Association reported their members crushed 165.5 million bushels of soybeans in September- setting a new record for the month of September. Soybean oil stocks fell to its lowest level since December 2014.
  • Harvest production in the US moved along this week- corn was up 11% to 45% and soybean harvest was up 19% to 43%.

Farm Office Live to be held on October 20 at 10:00 a.m.

The OSU Extension Farm Office Team is pleased to be offering a “Farm Office Live” Zoom webinar on Friday, October 20 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

This month’s webinar will feature the following topics:

  • Federal Farm Program Assistance Update
  • Legislative Update
  • A Look at Upcoming Farm Management Programs
  • Crop Input Outlook for 2024
  • Handing an Insurance Claim
  • Farm Bill Update

Featured Farm Office Team members include Bruce Clevenger, Jeff Lewis, David Marrison, Eric Richer, and Barry Ward.

To register for this program (or to access replays of previous programs):


More information about this program can be accessed at farmoffice.osu.edu

Ohio State University to Provide Resolution Services for Ohio Farms

Ohio has over 76,000 farms and 13 million acres of farmland.  In such a large and diverse industry, conflicts commonly arise that can lead to disputes, litigation, and appeals.  Ultimately, these conflicts can cause harmful effects that threaten the viability of Ohio agriculture.  To address these issues, a new program has been developed – Ohio Farm Resolution Services at The Ohio State University (OFRS).  The goal of OFRS is to cultivate solutions to the conflicts that impact Ohio’s farms and farm families.

OFRS will provide a three-pronged approach to assist farms and farm families in resolving problems and conflicts:

  1. Education resources.  The first approach will be to provide educational resources that may lead to a resolution.  Educational resources may be in the form of bulletins, publications, articles or individual discussions.  For example, OFRS may provide a law bulletin on farm leasing to a tenant and landowner involved in a lease dispute.  Some disputes can be resolved through education alone.
  2. Consultation and informal resolution services.  OSU Extension attorneys and farm management specialists will be available to meet with parties to assist with resolving their issues.  These services will be more informal and may include sitting at the kitchen table with a family struggling with transition planning or perhaps meeting in a pasture to discuss shared fence line concerns between neighboring farmers.
  3. Formal mediation.  Sometimes conflicts escalate to hard feelings and entrenched positions.  When this happens, formal mediation may be appropriate.  This process will involve the intervention of a trained mediator to assist the parties in negotiating jointly acceptable resolution of issues in conflict. The mediator meets with the parties at a neutral location, often shuttling between separate rooms, where the parties can discuss the dispute and explore a variety of solutions.  Formal mediation is often the last step before litigation.

Most consultation and mediation services will be conducted by OFRS’ primary consultants/mediators: Peggy Hall, David Marrison, Jeff Lewis and Robert Moore.  OFRS will also develop a pool of outside mediators who can assist with matters that require special or unique technical knowledge.  OFRS is committed to providing individuals who have both the knowledge and skill to help understand and resolve issues.

OFRS will be able to assist on a wide variety of matters.  The following are issues for which OFRS can provide assistance:

  • Family communication
  • Farm transition planning
  • Business entities
  • Business practices
  • Land use
  • Property issues/neighbor issues
  • Zoning
  • Farm leases
  • Energy leases
  • Farm labor issues
  • Farmland drainage
  • Crops/agronomy/soils disputes
  • USDA administrative appeals
  • ODA administrative appeals
  • Farm lender/creditor negotiations

OFRS is available to provide educational and consultation services now.  Mediation services will be available beginning in January 2024.  For more information or to refer someone to OFRS, contact Robert Moore at moore.301@osu.edu or 614-247-8260.  Information is also available at farmoffice.osu.edu/ofrs.

Is AI Ready to Draft Your Farm Lease?

By: Robert Moore, OSU Extension

In a previous post “Artificial Intelligence – What Is it and How to Use It”, I briefly discussed AI, how it works and some of its potential uses.  There is no doubt that AI will have profound effects on each of us and our society in general.  In this post, I am going to examine how AI works for a specific task related to agricultural law and measure its performance.

Surveys by Ohio State University indicate around 50% of farmland in Ohio is leased.  Therefore, farm leases are an important legal document for many Ohio farmers.  While some farm leases are still only verbal, many tenants and landowners recognize the benefits of a written lease and have at least a basic written lease in place.  Some leases are written by the tenant or landlord while other leases are written by attorneys.  The issue addressed in this article is: is AI ready to draft your farm lease?

The Process

To address the above question, ChatGPT and Google Bard, two of the more prominent AI interfaces, were each tasked with the following: “draft a cash farm lease”.  This command was broad and vague but would likely reflect what a tenant or landowner might request.  This exercise was performed on May 30, 2023 and each AI tool provided a cash farm lease.  The exercise was again performed on October 4, 2023 to assess if AI’s capabilities changed over time.

To measure the effectiveness of AI, the drafted leases were compared to the recommended lease terms provided in OSU Extension’s bulletin “What’s In your Farm Lease?  A Checklist of Farm Lease Provisions”.  This bulletin was written by Peggy Hall and provides 26 key terms that should be included in most farm leases.  Each draft lease was scored based on the number of terms that were included.

The Results

The following is the score for each draft, with the score reflecting the number of recommended terms from the lease bulletin that were included in the lease drafts:

ChatGPT, May 2023                   8

Google Bard, May 2023             10

Chat GPT, October 2023             9

Google Bard, October 2023        7

As the scores show, neither ChatGPT nor Google Bard included even one-half of the recommended terms and the best was 10 out of 26 or 38%. Two important items of note.  First, no drafts included terms to prevent the tenant from assigning the lease to someone else – an extremely important provision to include in farm leases. Second, no drafts addressed landowner or tenant signatures needing notarized.1

I would describe these drafts as “bare minimum” leases.  They are probably better than having no lease at all, but they could be much better and do not include several key terms.  Also, there was no significant improvement of performance over time.  In fact, the Google Bard score was lower in the later draft.  Asking ChatGPT or Google Bard to “draft a farm cash lease” is not going to provide a satisfactory lease.

Providing Input to AI to Improve Output

As I discussed in my prior AI post, one of the benefits of AI is the ability to chat with it.  That is, you can provide feedback to the AI to assist it in providing a better outcome.  So, that’s what I did.  After reviewing the first two rounds of lease drafts, I asked ChatGPT and Google Bard to draft a third cash farm lease and to specifically include the 26 recommended terms from the lease bulletin.  The resulting leases were better and scored as follows:

ChatGPT           16

Google Bard      20

As you can see, the scores increased significantly.  So, the feedback provided to AI was integrated into the resulting drafts and made the leases better.  This is one of the major advancements of AI. It allows someone like me that has little computer proficiency to provide untrained input that causes a significantly better result.

While the scores did increase, there were still some major issues with the drafts.  I was probably generous in the scoring and gave credit if an issue was addressed, even if somewhat incomplete.  For example, in its first two drafts, ChatGPT did not include a term addressing who receives FSA payments, the tenant or landowner.  ChatGPT did address this issue after being prompted but stated that the landowner would receive all FSA payments.  According to FSA rules, the tenant must receive at least some of the program payments and it is customary for the tenant to receive all FSA payments.  So, while ChatGPT included a term about FSA payments, the included term was not completely accurate or correct.

Google Bard also had similar issues.  In its first two drafts, it did not address what happens in the event of eminent domain takes a portion of the leased property.  A typical lease term would say that the tenant is compensated for any crop damage caused by eminent domain and the landowner would keep the acquisition proceeds.  Google Bard included a provision about eminent domain but stated the tenant would receive all eminent domain proceeds.  Allowing the tenant to keep eminent domain proceeds would be very unusual and not something a landowner should agree to.

I would assess these leases as “better but still not good”.  These drafts did include more of the recommended terms but included many of them in an insufficient or incomplete manner.  The third round of leases did show that AI can learn and improve with feedback but also that it has a long way to go.  The craft and nuance of drafting legal documents still seems to belong to the domain of people.


There are some well-known people, such as Elon Musk, who claim that we should have serious concerns about AI eventually taking over the world.  Their concerns may be valid, but as of now I don’t believe AI is going to take over farm lease drafting anytime soon.  An experienced attorney can do a much better job of drafting a farm lease than today’s AI.  For a tenant or landowner who are unwilling to hire an attorney or may not have the resources to pay an attorney, a farm lease drafted by AI may be better than nothing but that’s about it.  The best source of legal services remains to be attorneys and likely will be for the foreseeable future.  AI is not ready to replace your attorney – yet.

1Leases for more than three years must be notarized.

Weekly Commodity Market Update

Brownfield’s Weekly Commodity update featuring former OSU Extension Ag Economist Ben Brown.

This Week’s Topics:

  • Market recap
  • Crude oil price swings
  • USDA report preview
  • Corn ending stocks
  • U.S. export positioning
  • Reports to watch


Market recap (Changes on week as of Monday’s close):

  • December 2023 corn flat at $4.88
  • December 2024 corn down $.01 at $5.16
  • November 2023 soybeans down $.13 at $12.64
  • November 2024 soybeans down $.17 at $12.50
  • December soybean oil down 3.5 cents at 53.93 cents/lb
  • December soybean meal down flat at $374.60/short ton
  • December 2023 wheat up $.08 at $5.72
  • July 2024 wheat up $.09 at $6.40
  • November WTI Crude Oil down $2.64 at $84.60/barrelWeekly Highlights
  • It was announced last week that the Argentina Government will expected their “soy dollar” program through October 25
  • US Crude oil stocks minus the strategic petroleum reserve fell another 93 million gallons this week along with distillate stocks, while gasoline stocks were up 272 million gallons.
  • Ethanol production was flat at 297 million gallons produced on the week using an estimated 99.9 million bushels of corn.
  • It was a solid week for agricultural export sales last week with corn and soybeans at the top end of their respective expectations and highest weekly volumes since April and January, respectively.

Weakening Crop Prices and High Production Costs Weigh on Farmer Sentiment

Source: James Mintert and Michael Langemeier, Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture

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Agricultural producers’ sentiment declined for the second month in a row during September as the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer fell 9 points to a reading of 106. Producers expressed concern about both their current situation as well as future prospects for their farms. The Current Conditions and Futures Expectations Indices both declined 10 points in September leaving the Current Conditions Index at a reading of 98 while the Future Expectations Index stood at 109. Weakening prices for major crops and ongoing concerns about high production costs and interest rates weighed on producers’ minds this month. September’s declines left all three indices below year-ago levels. This month’s Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from September 11-15, 2023.

Figure 1. Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, October 2015-September 2023.
Figure 1. Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, October 2015-September 2023.
Figure 2. Indices of Current Conditions and Future Expectations, October 2015-September 2023.

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Weekly Commodity Market Update

Brownfield’s Weekly Commodity update featuring former OSU Extension Ag Economist Ben Brown.

This Week’s Topics:

  • Market recap
  • U.S. grain stocks adjustments
  • U.S. harvest
  • Corn and soybean storage
  • Reports to watch

Market recap (Changes on week as of Monday’s close):

  • December 2023 corn up $.07 at $4.88
  • December 2024 corn up $.08 at $5.17
  • November 2023 soybeans down $.20 at $12.77
  • November 2024 soybeans up $.06 at $12.67
  • December soybean oil flat at 57.43 cents/lb
  • December soybean meal down $15.50 at $374.30/short ton
  • December 2023 wheat down $.25 at $5.64
  • July 2024 wheat down $.12 at $6.31
  • November WTI Crude Oil down $2.38 at $87.24/barrel

Weekly Highlights

  • For the most recent week of data- US crude oil stocks were down (-91 mil. gals) while US gasoline (+43.1 mil. gal.), Distillate (16.7 mil. gal.) and ethanol (16.7 mil. gal.) were all up.
  • Ethanol production rebounded to 297 million gallons produced on the week using an estimated 99.9 million bushels of corn.
  • US Ag Export sales were up for most commodities week over week including corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, and all wheats. US wheat sales were bullish coming in above pre-report estimates.
  • It was the third consecutive week producers and merchants decreased their net short in Chicago futures and options positions by more than 40%- this week 49%. Producers and merchants also reduced the net long in soybeans for the fourth consecutive week.
  • Managed money traders of Chicago commodities were mixed. They were net buyers of wheats and net sellers of corn and soybeans.
  • Weekly ag export inspections were down week over week for corn and wheat, but up week over week for soybeans and grain sorghum. All were within pre-report trade expectations.
  • US Grain stocks on September 1 were all within trade expectations but toward the top end for soybeans and below the average trade guess for corn. Both corn and soybean stocks were down from September 1, 2022.
  • The quarterly Hogs and Pigs report showed that there were 74.3 million hogs and pigs in the US- up slightly from last September.
  • Soybeans crushed for crude oil in August was 169 million bushels- down from 183 million in July, 175 million last August and pre-report expectations of 171.6 million bushels.
  • Corn crushed in August totaled 490 million bushels- below July 2023 but up 1% from August 2022. Corn for fuel alcohol at 443 million bushels, was down 3% from July but up 3% from last August.
  • US corn harvest is now 23% complete with corn crop conditions showing some slight improvement as combines roll along. Weekly increases were pretty consistent across the country.
  • US soybean harvest is now 23% complete up 11% week over week. Conditions improved on the week after declining last week.
  • 40% of the Winter wheat crop has been planted so far- slightly ahead last years pace but behind the average pace.

Farm Insurance: Covering Your Assets

Farms are subject to more risks than ever before. Whether it is the liability exposure of driving equipment on roadways or the potential of property loss due to a barn roof collapse, every farm has multiple sources of risk. While farmers can reduce their risk exposure through good business practices and rigorous safety protocols, there is no way to entirely eliminate risks. For this reason, insurance policies that adequately protect against risks are a necessity for farm operations. Farmers likely understand the important role insurance plays in protecting farm assets. But how many actually read and understand their insurance policies? The failure to read policies is not a result of apathy but more likely due to the almost complex nature of an insurance policy. Reading and understanding an insurance policy is difficult for anyone other than those in the insurance industry. The objective of this publication is to help by providing farmers a basic understanding of insurance policies—from common coverages to policies in preparation for a thorough policy review with the insurance agent. Our information is based on general knowledge as applicable to most policies. Farmers should periodically review their insurance policy, including coverage limits, with their agent to be sure they are fully covered for potential risks.

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