As the U.S. Corn Belt continues to experience extremely hot temperatures and drought, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the expansion of emergency grazing on 3.8 million acres of conservation land. The expansion is intended to provide greater relief to U.S. livestock producers dealing with shortages of feed grains, hay and pastureland. More than half (50.3 percent) of all counties in the United States have been declared disaster areas in 2012, primarily due to drought.
Agriculture investment consultants, such as HighQuest Partners LLC, (http://www.highquestpartners.com) are closely watching the impact that the prolonged drought is likely to have on global corn and soybean carry outs, and the incentive it is creating for increased double cropping in countries such as Brazil.
"While U.S. farmers may be cautious about buying additional farmland, the drought in the United States may be bullish for farmland values in areas of the world not impacted. The reduced crop puts pressure on crop inventory carry out which increases prices," said Philippe de Laperouse, Director of HighQuest Partners' Global Food and Agribusiness Practice in St. Louis. "The drought has exacerbated the commodity supply for food, feed and fuel consumption markets in the U.S., coupled with government requirements for ethanol, and demand in China and other developing populations."
Laperouse said while Brazil continues to hold promise as a long-term opportunity for investors, large-scale investors have been held at bay because of the government's restrictive interpretation of the law for large-scale foreign investment in farmland.
The question is whether that will change in the future?