Top industry experts will address agriculture policy, water management, energy issues and other factors affecting rural assets at the annual meeting of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) on October 26 – 31, 2015, at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio. 

“Lower commodity prices, fluctuating energy costs and uncertain farm income are just a few of the pressures on agriculture and rural assets,” says Merrill Swanson, ARA, chairman of the ASFMRA conference program committee. “Our carefully planned line-up of expert speakers will help members understand these and other issues so they can more successfully navigate the challenges and discover new opportunities.” 

Featuring the theme “AgroNomics Vision for 2016,” the conference is the largest gathering of rural property professional and ag industry experts. The four-day educational program promises to provide ASFMRA members and other attendees with a sharper perspective to realize profitability and success in today’s rural economy. 

Energy and water management

Swanson says that with uncertainty in the global oil market, members will want to hear experts in their respective fields provide updates on oil and natural gas exploration, renewable energy and water management. Some of the featured speakers include:

  • David Harless from Haliburton, who will speak on considerations in developing oil and gas assets on rural land
  • Detlef Hallermann, PhD., of Texas A&M University, who will provide an update on natural gas export trends
  • Mike Petter from Resource & Land Management, Inc., will explore renewable bioenergy land assets
  • Trimble Irrigation will present the main drivers of water efficiency and optimization to improve yields and reduce runoff.  

Farm managers and rural appraisers will also enjoy a wide range of presentations on current issues such as commercial wind development and assessing the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on rural and agricultural land.  Eric O’Keefe, editor of The Land Report, will discuss trends in rural land and Judon Fambrouch from Texas A&M University will talk about surface protection agreements in oil and gas leases. At the popular Rapid Fire Session, presenters will focus on a variety of topics, including rural land sale price trends and disruptive technologies.  

Policies and economics

ASFMRA will also be offering insightful management/consulting breakouts on the Environmental Protection Agency’s powers and major current trends in world agricultural markets that could suggest changes that will last into the coming decades. 

Barry Flinchbaugh, Professor Emeritus, Kansas State University, will deliver a David Letterman-style “Top Ten” list of issues facing agriculture in today’s current dysfunctional political environment.

“Understanding the ramifications of policies such as the Clean Water Act and the most recent Farm Bill are essential for our members’ future planning,” Swanson says. “We’re looking forward to hearing insights from Stephen Frerichs, ASFMRA’s legislative representative, who will bring the latest news from Capitol Hill and Washington.”

DuPont Pioneer will once again be sponsoring the Farm Management Ag Tour, which will include a visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) State Park, the Sauer-Beckmann Farm, the LBJ Ranch and the “Texas White House.” 

For the big picture, Swanson encourages members to “come to San Antonio for the educational program and stay for the Texas Hill Country hospitality.”

To learn more about the ASFMRA conference and to register, please visit