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Texas Agriculture Archive

June 4, 2004

Texas land market termed 'on fire'
"I've never seen a market that's on fire like we had in 2003!"

Those are the words of Charles Gilliland, research economist with the Real Estate Center, Texas A & M University. Gilliland spoke at the recent Outlook for Texas Land Markets Conference in College Station.

"We had about 7,300 sales reported to us in 2003," he says. "That's up from 5,600 in 2002 and about 4,600 in 2001. And these are only the sales reported to us!"

The increased volume of sales also came at higher prices, says Gilliland. He notes per-acre sales prices rocketed upward by nearly 13 percent—a per-acre price of $1,100 in 2003 versus $974 in 2002. That's after a 1 percent boost statewide in 2002.

The dominant factor driving prices higher across the state is recreational buyers. Gilliland points to a survey, which shows 68 percent of buyers listed hunting and fishing as "very important" as to why they bought land in 2003. The number two reason—"other recreation"—was listed by 30 percent of the 2003 land buyers.

But Gilliland also noted a new group of buyers have entered the market as well.

"It's the Baby Boomers," he said. "They grew up in the country and are now turning into buyers looking to turn the land into a small farm or ranch. They're not looking for the hunting and fishing possibilities. They want to operate the farm or ranch. But the big thing is their off-farm income. They don't plan on depending on the farm for income. They plan on retiring there, instead."

All parts of the state shared in the price explosion except for the northwestern-most area of the Panhandle.
Source: LandOwner; Vol. 25, Issue 9; May 6, 2004

Senate approves bill to change ETI
The Senate has approved a bill to change how corporations' overseas earnings are taxed and eliminate the cause of escalating sanctions on U.S. exports by the European Union.

The World Trade Organization ruled that the exclusion of U.S. corporations' overseas income, so-called extra-territorial income (ETI), from tax liability is an illegal export subsidy, and gave the EU permission to impose retaliatory sanctions, or tariffs. The EU began imposing the tariffs on some U.S. farm exports and other goods in March.

The tariffs, which started at 5 percent of U.S. exports or about $300 million, increase 1 percent each month until the tax break is repealed. The WTO ruling allows the tariffs to reach $4 billion.
Source: AFBF; Farm Bureau News; Vol. 83, No. 10; May 17, 2004

Senate bill would speed up COOL
Two senators have introduced legislation that would implement country-of-origin labeling (COOL) of meat products by the end of September rather than in 2006 as approved by Congress.

The 2002 Farm Bill originally called for COOL to be in place by the end of September 2004. The bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) calls for a reform to the original deadline.
Source: AFBF; Executive Newswatch; May 24, 2004