Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference Turns 90

Longest-running ISU conference will discuss current and near-term ag economic outlook

April 14, 2017, 12:22 pm | Wendong Zhang

AMES, Iowa – The longest-running conference at Iowa State University is turning 90.

The 90th annual Soil Management and Land Valuation Conference will be held on Wednesday, May 17 at the Scheman Building on the Iowa State University campus. The conference is designed for anyone who has an interest in agricultural land, land management and land valuation.

Soil Management“We are three or four years into this current farm economic downturn and with a newly elected administration the farm economy is facing a lot of uncertainty,” said Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and extension economist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “This conference will provide insights into where the ag economy and in particular farmland markets are going.”

This year’s program will examine current issues in rural property management, appraisal, sale and purchase. The six issues with implications to soil management and land valuation that will be presented are:

  • The current situation and uncertainty in agricultural trade and the implications for the agricultural economy;
  • Current situations and future outlook for the agricultural financial conditions in the farm downturn;
  • Weather outlook and its impacts on agricultural production;
  • Panel discussion on the 90-year evolution of soil management and land valuation conference, especially historical focus and future directions;
  • Farm downturn, population change and the impact on rural communities; and
  • A legal update concerning the Des Moines Water Works, as well as mergers and anti-trust regulations.

“These topics represent many hot-button issues in the ag industry,” Zhang said. “We will examine what demand will look like in the future and how big an impact declining profit margins will have on producers and the industry as a whole. The objective is to try to provide insights into the current economic situation and the near-term outlook of the ag economy.”

Additionally, the Iowa Appraiser Examining Board has approved the conference for six hours of continuing education. The Iowa Real Estate Commission has also approved the conference for six hours of continuing education for renewal of a real estate and broker’s license.

New this year, conference participants can provide estimates of land value and commodity price forecasts through a short online survey, carrying on the tradition of asking ag professionals to gaze into a crystal ball. The survey is available online at

The conference begins at 8 a.m. on May 17 and will adjourn at 4 p.m. Online registration completed on or before May 3 will cost $100, and $110 after May 3.

The program is sponsored by the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

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