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Monday, December 14, 2015

A Mansion, a Shell Company and Resentment in Bel Air - The New York Times

A Mansion, a Shell Company and Resentment in Bel Air - The New York Times: The most notorious new house in Los Angeles hangs from a Bel Air hillside, high above the sprawl and smog, unfinished and unloved.

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Outraged neighbors call it “the Starship Enterprise,” and in truth it looks like nothing so much as an earthbound space station of curved glass and steel, draped in scaffolding and tarpaulin, roughly 30,000 square feet and nearly 70 feet high.

That height, about twice the legal limit, is among a litany of violations that have stalled construction at 901 Strada Vecchia for more than a year. Without the city’s permission, workers tore down the original house and leveled the hillside. Though the site is in an “earthquake-induced landslide area,” subsequent inspections found “unsecured open excavations” and other perils. Inspectors also uncovered a host of features, unapproved though befitting a house with an aspirational price tag of $100 million, among them underground bedrooms and an IMAX theater.

How much will Hong Kong home prices fall if US raises interest rates? – PropGoLuxury - Property News

How much will Hong Kong home prices fall if US raises interest rates? – PropGoLuxury - Property News: Hong Kong home prices will fall five per cent in three to six months within the Fed raising interest rates, say property agents.

Also, with new supply about to come on the market, developers will slash second-hand home prices to speed up sales, resulting in a downward trend next year, according to them.

“It is likely that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in this week’s meeting, which will have a negative impact on the Hong Kong housing sector,” said Sammy Po Siu-ming, chief executive of Midland Realty’s residential department.

Vermont Couple in Their 80s Lists Christmas Tree Farm for Sale: 'We Really Have It All'

Vermont Couple in Their 80s Lists Christmas Tree Farm for Sale: 'We Really Have It All': This 70-acre Vermont property doesn’t come only with a 200-year-old home, access to a curving river for boating, and a Christmas tree farm. It comes with the holiday memories of generations of customers.

Peter and Sandra Mollica have owned Christmas Trees of Vermont as an early-retirement venture for more than 35 years, but they’re now in their 80s, and running the farm with son Kim is getting to be a big job. Their $1.5 million listing offers a rare opportunity to dive right into a long-established business, one that attracts thousands of families from all over New England every year.

$2 Corn 'Within the Realm of Possibility' - Corn - News | Agweb.com

$2 Corn 'Within the Realm of Possibility' - Corn - News | Agweb.com: “There’s no rule to say corn couldn’t have a $2 in front of it,” Vaclavik tells “AgDay” host Clinton Griffiths. “That doesn’t mean I’m bearish the market, it doesn’t mean I’m projecting that. It just means that it’s certainly within the realm of possibility when you look at the macroeconomic environment, when you look at the demand. South America’s in good shape.

What Will Cure Low Grain Prices? - Corn - News | Agweb.com

What Will Cure Low Grain Prices? - Corn - News | Agweb.com: The 2015 corn and soybean crops were huge. Even bigger than market analysts feared they might have been when farmers started planting the crop last spring. What’s resulted is a flooded market driving down price. Could that change next year? Nobody can be certain, but editors from ProFarmer say a significant weather event could increase grain prices in 2016.

Small vegetable farms under pressure | Grafton Daily Examiner

Small vegetable farms under pressure | Grafton Daily Examiner: THE number of small Australian vegetable farms has reduced by quarter in the past year, says a new report.

Published by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences and commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia, the report was the result of an annual survey of the industry.

Survey results suggest that of the bottom 25 per cent of farms, 61 per cent have indicated increased farm input costs are the leading impediment to business viability.

"It is concerning that 13 per cent of farms within this category have said they may leave the industry within the next five years," said AUSVEG deputy CEO Andrew White.

"Smaller sized farms do not have the ability to be able to benefit from economies of scale in the same way that their larger competitors can. Cost and price pressures are causing a lot of small business growers to exit the market completely."

Alico, Inc. (ALCO) Announces Quarterly Earnings Results - Dakota Financial News

Alico, Inc. (ALCO) Announces Quarterly Earnings Results - Dakota Financial News: Alico, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALCO) posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday. The company reported ($0.25) earnings per share for the quarter, MarketBeat.Com reports. The company had revenue of $13 million for the quarter.

Separately, Sidoti upgraded shares of Alico from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 26th.

Time to rework cropland rental rates | Agweek

Time to rework cropland rental rates | Agweek: It would seem simple: Crop prices and farm profitability have plunged, so the rent that farmers pay for cropland will plunge, too, right?

The reality is more complicated. Yes, overall rental rates are declining, but generally not as fast or as far as some might expect, say farmers, real estate agents, farm business management instructors and extension service experts who talked with Agweek.

The Unintended Consequences Of Lower Oil | Seeking Alpha

The Unintended Consequences Of Lower Oil | Seeking Alpha: Lower oil prices could provide impetus for a severe condition of deflation around the globe. It is not only commodity producers that will suffer as prices of all raw materials fall further, those nations that depend on raw material sales and exports will continue to experience hardship. Australia, Canada, Brazil, Russia and other commodity producing countries will see the value of their currencies fall and their revenues decrease in a deflationary environment.

While lower oil will increase discretionary income for many individuals on a short-term basis, they are likely to lose more than they save in other places. The value of retirement accounts could drop precipitously and the safety of the world around them could suffer. There are unintended and unexpected ramifications from a continuation of a drop in the price of crude oil. Perhaps the most infamous oil trader that ever lived, Marc Rich, once said, "Oil is the blood that flows through the veins of the world". Today, that blood is sick and looks like its value is deteriorating. We should not underestimate the consequences in light of other issues that face the world at this time.

National Farmers Federation launches Digital Agriculture Service to crunch vast amounts of data and boost farm profit - ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

National Farmers Federation launches Digital Agriculture Service to crunch vast amounts of data and boost farm profit - ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): The National Farmers Federation says its digital innovation strategy will drive agriculture to double its value, to be worth $100 billion a year, by 2030.

The strategy, which was launched by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the weekend, includes a Digital Agriculture Service, established in collaboration with consultancy firm Accenture.

Accenture's Anthony Willmott said it would help crunch vast amounts of data gathered by robots and drones as well as weather and market information.

"Farmers will be able to say; 'option one is to harvest today and the business impact is x, option two is harvest in seven days time and the impact on my business will be y'.

"(They are) really practical de

COP21 deal mum on agriculture - POLITICO

COP21 deal mum on agriculture - POLITICO: However, agriculture isn’t explicitly mentioned in the agreement. The words “agriculture” “farm” or “soil do not appear in the 31-page text, and food comes up only in the context of the importance of global food security. The pact calls for “increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development in a manner that does not threaten food production.”

AcreValue website estimates farmland value

AcreValue website estimates farmland value: The ag software company Granular has created a free website designed to analyze the value and productive capacity of farmland.

Tamar Tashjian is general manager of AcreValue.

“It is meant to help farmers, investors, landowners, brokers, appraisers…really anyone in the industry, access information about farmland in a single site that’s convenient and easy to use.”

She says the program gathers data from public sources on soil, production history determined by satellite imagery, taxes and climate information.

“We actually analyze those terabytes and terabytes of data and run it through computer models to estimate the value of a given piece of farmland.”

Opinion: Honest numbers key to cash rent negotiations | Agweek

Opinion: Honest numbers key to cash rent negotiations | Agweek: With the setting of land rent becoming critical to maintaining profitability in the current price environment, it is important to understand the shape of farmland ownership and tenure.�

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a document, “Farmland Ownership and Tenure: Results from the 2014 Tenure Ownership and Transition of Agricultural Land Survey.”

Survey: Iowa farmland values down four percent in '15

Survey: Iowa farmland values down four percent in '15: Iowa State University’s annual survey of Iowa farmland values shows a nearly four percent decline over the past year.

ISU assistant professor of economics Wendong Zhang coordinated this year’s survey.

“It shows a 3.9 percent decline to the state average land values in 2015 to 7,633 dollars per acre,” says Zhang.

Iowa farmland values drop for second year in row | Local News - KCCI Home

Iowa farmland values drop for second year in row | Local News - KCCI Home: The 2015 Iowa Land Value Survey show the average Iowa farmland value estimated to be $7,633 per acre. �That's a per acre value declined of $310, or 3.9 percent, since last year's survey.

Dec. 15: Irrigation and Water Conservation Summit,

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- A governor’s task force is convening a summit Dec. 15 to explore and promote better ways to manage the state’s water resources.
The Governor’s Delta Sustainable Water Resources Task Force will host an Irrigation and Water Conservation Summit at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Capps Center.
Producers, landowners, consultants, natural resource professionals and other interested parties are invited to attend. Lunch will be provided.
Kay Whittington, director of the Office of Land and Water Resources at the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, will open the summit with a discussion of the volunteer metering program and task force progress. Jason Krutz, MSU Extension Service irrigation specialist, will present results from the 2015 MSU Row-Crop Irrigation Science and Extension Research program at lunch.
Participants will be able to attend four breakout sessions during the event. Topics include aquifer recharge, soil moisture sensors, irrigating sealing soils, efficient surface water use in the Delta, alternate wetting and drying in rice production, and a case study of Louisiana’s Red Bayou Surface Water Irrigation Project. Each session will be offered twice.
Speakers for the breakout sessions include producers and professionals from MSU, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Yazoo Management District Joint Water Management District, Delta Plastics, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Geological Survey and the Louisiana Natural Resources Conservation Service office.
The Governor’s Delta Sustainable Water Resources Task Force includes the Yazoo Mississippi Delta Joint Water Management District, Delta Council, Delta F.A.R.M., Mississippi Farm Bureau, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. It was formed to develop and implement actions to sustain water resources for agriculture, fisheries and wildlife in the Delta.

2016 Outlook: Machinery Market Ripe for Consolidation - News | Agweb.com

2016 Outlook: Machinery Market Ripe for Consolidation - News | Agweb.com: With a decline in manufacturing, more employee layoffs and surplus inventory on dealer lots, equipment companies are working in stride with the current environment. Rabobank analysts foresee equipment sales to be down through 2016 with stabilization likely in 2017, at the earliest. Although this economy is challenging, it presents opportunities for some in the machinery industry.

Wake Up Call Allendale Advisory Center

Wake Up Call Allendale Advisory Center: As the trading year comes to a close volume has a tendency to be reduced, however, this week there seems to be a lot of moving parts that could have an impact on the agricultural markets. Most of the impact will be coming from Washington. Congress will be leaving for holiday vacation on Friday and there are several bills on the docket that need a vote this week. The blender’s credit for bio diesel could have an economic impact on soyoil. The FOMC decision on interest rates should come on Wednesday. Trade is waiting for Argentina’s new president to put in effect the cut in export taxes. China is also allowing the Yuan to fluctuate causing Chinese buyers to lose purchasing power. Weather in South America is not a problem currently for growing crops but will be watched closely by the trade. Bottom line, expect choppy trade which could push markets out of current trading ranges.

Heavy rains in Mexico-U.S. Force vegetable prices higher | Vegetables content from Southwest Farm Press

Heavy rains in Mexico-U.S. Force vegetable prices higher | Vegetables content from Southwest Farm Press: While rains throughout the fall have helped end the drought in Texas and bring relief to a parched California, not all that glitters is gold.

Climatologists and agricultural analysts are crediting a robust El Ni�o with bringing large amounts of moisture to Mexico and the U.S. West and Southwest in recent weeks, but economists and produce industry officials are warning that while the benefits of good rains are far-reaching, the short-term result is that a warmer-than-usual fall and excessive rains since July have caused serious crop losses or yield reductions in produce regions of both countries.

The result across the produce and food industry and for farmers on both sides of the border is an expected down turn in revenue for this quarter.