Agriculture land price expectations?

“We don’t include those in the published document. There’s just so much uncertainty over them. However, we do work on them.

“Yes, we do expect to see further increases in land values over the next couple of years. One thing folks are concerned about is how much prices have increased, particularly in some markets. If commodity prices stay as high as they are now forever, the run-up in land value makes a lot of sense.

“Others have warned that if there were to be a downturn unexpectedly in commodity prices, some of the higher land prices being paid today may not be justifiable in the future.”

On forecasts for the dairy industry…

“Dairy has been through several huge swings in recent years. There were relatively good conditions for many dairy farmers in 2007 and 2008.

“However, in 2009, several things went wrong at the same time. We had a hangover effect from the good returns in 2007 and 2008. That had led to pretty strong supply numbers.

“At the same time, international demand for U.S. dairy products crashed. In part that was due to the recession and better weather in places like Australia. 2009 was a dreadful year for most U.S. dairy farmers.

“In 2010, we saw prices push upwards a fair amount – although not to strong profitability. We’ve seen further increases in average milk prices in 2011. But we don’t think 2011 will be a year of good profitability for milk producers.”

Anything else?

“I’ll again point out that the current environment of policy uncertainty is a major question mark. That’s not just about the things we’ve touched on. A lot of people are focused on the 2012 farm bill debate – and that’s very important and real. Frankly, though, there may be important choices regarding our farm programs in the next few weeks.

“Debates are going on in the House and Senate about farm programs in budget discussions.”