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Build a competitive advantage in a modernizing farmland market with Granular’s FMS and AcreValue

Three years ago, Mike and I set out to build farm management software (FMS) to help farms make better business decisions by making better use of their farm data. We realized early on that while farms were using Granular FMS to optimize their existing operations, they also wanted tools to help them grow their farms.
Helping Farms Grow Bigger with AcreValue
Our customer had to make a big land related decisions. These are just a few examples of the hard questions farms had to answer:

What rent should I pay for my existing land?
Do I have the right profit margin and management controls to expand?
If so, what ground can I add to my operation and at what price?
How do I market myself effectively to prospective new landlords and capital partners?

That’s why Granular acquired AcreValue and launched it as our second product in January 2016. Patterned after Zillow and similar tools in residential real estate, AcreValue aggregates real estate and agronomic data on every parcel of farmland in the U.S., offers valuation estimates and publishes comparable sales.
Farms commonly use AcreValue to foster relationships with their landowners. When they are looking to rent or purchase land, they come to the table with professional AcreValue reports on the value of the land, soil ratings, crop history, sales data and more. This puts them in a much stronger position to market themselves to a new landowner or a capital partner and have a successful negotiation.
Launching New and Powerful AcreValue Features
AcreValue has taken off in the last year, attracting not just farmers, but also landowners, brokers, appraisers and bankers. AcreValue’s 30K+ registered accounts visit the site over 100K times each month and usage has been doubling every six months.

Over the next few months we will be adding valuation estimates in more states, water rights data, custom mapping tools, and sale listings. We will also be launching a paid version of AcreValue, called AcreValue PRO, with powerful search tools that allow users to prospect for land nationwide using screening criteria like owner, valuation, size, soil quality and more. With both its FMS and AcreValue products, Granular is working to give its farm customers a competitive advantage in the modernizing land market.
Integrating AcreValue with Granular FMS
The farmland real estate market and the farming market are both professionalizing and consolidating. Both markets are becoming less local, less relationship-driven and more business-oriented. We believe that the relationship between landowner and farm operator is going to become more professional, more transparent and more data-driven over time.
Granular FMS already helps farms share production data with landlords, calculate share rent, and analyze rental rates relative to yield history. Using our relationships with large institutional land investors, Granular has brokered many introductions that have helped our FMS customers connect with institutional capital partners interested in their geographic area. But this is just the beginning.
In the coming months, we will launch advanced AcreValue features that are only available to farms using Granular FMS. These features will allow Granular farms to market themselves on a confidential and pre-qualified basis to landlords and get early notification on land coming up for sale.
We believe Granular FMS and AcreValue together give our customers the right tools to manage better (profit per acre) and bigger (more acres) farms.

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AcreValue Announces Launch of Comp Sales Across More Than 2,500 U.S. Counties

Newest feature makes it easier to research land sales and provides comprehensive view of farmland

 
SAN FRANCISCO – September 13, 2016 – AcreValue, the free online farmland valuation tool developed by Granular, announced the addition of Comp Sales to its platform, allowing users to see what land sold and at what price over the past 2.5 years in a particular area. Having comparable sales data makes it even easier to get a comprehensive view of the land market, and with this feature AcreValue becomes the first ever map-based tool to display actual agricultural land sales sourced from county public records.
With the availability of this information on the site, AcreValue enables users to stay up to date on land prices and sales activity, since they will no longer have to visit the county courthouse to access public records, rely on information published by brokers, or hear about recent sales via word of mouth.
“AcreValue has very quickly become the go-to place to access information about farmland, anywhere, anytime. Our registered user base has grown more than 700% this year. With Comp Sales, we’re able to give our users one more tool to help them make important land purchase and rent decisions, especially as we hit the time of the year when sales activity starts to pick up,” said Tamar Tashjian, General Manager of AcreValue.
Accessing this on AcreValue is simple and straightforward. Users interact with the map to get a quick view of the sale prices of land in a particular area. They can also generate detailed reports with more information about each individual sale, including price, the location and boundaries of sold parcels, and the names of the buying and selling parties. This data is now available alongside the information that users are already routinely access on AcreValue: soil productivity, soil and aerial maps, and 5-year land use history.
With land values having declined by almost 25% over the last 3 years in some areas of the country, having readily available information about actual market activity is critical to farmers, landowners, brokers and other industry professionals. AcreValue provides a source of truth, and eliminates the need to physically visit county offices or navigate through county multiple county or broker websites by having this information centralized, intuitively organized, and regularly updated.
As all other existing features on AcreValue, Comp Sales is free for all users.
Media Contact: Agustina Sacerdote agustinasacerdote@granular.ag (646) 610 0296

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If you rent the land you farm on, there’s a big chance your landlord has a relatively narrow understanding of what it takes to run a successful farm. With rent continuing to represent the largest expense on a farm’s budget, understanding farmland values with tools like AcreValue and getting a good grasp of field profitability can often represent the key to expansion.

According to a USDA study published late last year, we have recent confirmation to long-standing beliefs: farmland is largely a family asset passed down through generations. Some families transfer the farm and the land, others just hold on to the land and rent it out to farmers.

  • There are 911 million acres of agricultural land; 354 million (39%) of these are rented.
  • 64% of rented acres are passed down, 36% are acquired through a third party.
  • Corporations account for only 5% of landlords, but for 11% of rented acres.

The majority of landlords are removed from the day-to-day realities of running a farm or ranch. Of 2 million landlords, 87% are non-operators, and nearly half of these landlords have never farmed.

AgWeb_1.20.16_graph1 AgWeb_1.20.16_graph2

Fifty percent of all rented acres belong to the largest 7% of landowners, while the smallest 44% of landowners own only 6% of rented acres.

AgWeb_1.2-.16_graph3   AgWeb_1.20.16_graph4

So what does this mean in terms of effectively managing your rented acres?

1. Communicate. Nearly half of your landlords will have never farmed. They own a highly valuable asset that they’ve entrusted to you,, and might not have a good grasp of what it means to manage the asset effectively. Making your farm’s data available on a centralized and easy-to-access platform is a good way to start to educating your landlord about your practices and progress.

2. Network. If you’re looking to expand by renting more acres, get connected with the active professional investors in your area – they are more likely to be looking for new tenants than other farmers. The majority of land sales go to farmers who will operate the additional ground themselves, but investors still account for a significant portion of purchases (especially for large ones – if you want to grow your rented acres by 1,000 , this is the crowd to watch). In Iowa, according to the 2015 Iowa State Land Values Survey, 76% of farmland purchases went to farmers and 20% to investors.

3. Modernize.  Twenty eight percent of landlords are over the age of 75. This means that land is being passed down to a younger generation – one that’s more used to software, data and analysis than its predecessor. Generational transitions to younger landowners will require farmers to modernize not only their operation, but the way they build relationships. The ability to use tools such as cloud software to enable the quick and timely sharing of information and reporting will inevitably become an important competitive advantage in land negotiations and access to more acres.

Watch this video to hear what our network of professional investors look for in great tenants.

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Free service will improve efficiency and transparency in farmland market

SAN FRANCISCO — April 22, 2015 — Granular, a leading agriculture software and analytics company, today announced that it has acquired AcreValue, a farmland real estate evaluation business. The acquisition of AcreValue enhances Granular’s service offerings to the farmland market and gives farmers and potential investors valuable information into land values across the country.

The free service allows buyers, sellers, agents and other interested parties to browse AcreValue estimates using a map-based interface. Users will also be able to download reports on each field that includes valuable data on soil type, topography, crop history, basis trends and other important features, as well as produce estimates of the value of individual fields. These estimates have proven accurate to the level where they provide useful guidance to farmland buyers and sellers.
“Acquiring or leasing more acres at the right price is a top priority for members of Granular’s professional farm network,” said Sid Gorham, Granular’s CEO. “We believe that AcreValue will make the farmland resale and rental markets more convenient, transparent and efficient. This is an exciting new service the market has been waiting for and we will continue to invest in its expansion so it can benefit Granular subscribers and the agriculture industry more broadly.”
“The idea for AcreValue came out of my own family’s discussions about valuing our farmland in Iowa,” said Christopher Seifert, AcreValue’s CEO. “Granular’s vision of adding technology innovation to the farmland and agricultural market makes it a perfect acquiring partner for AcreValue. I’m excited to build out the service as part of the Granular team and to work with its base of industry-leading farmers. We hope AcreValue helps the farmland market like Zillow has the residential real estate market.”
As part of this acquisition, AcreValue’s cofounder and CEO, Christopher Seifert, has joined Granular and will head the agronomy data science team.
While AcreValue currently covers fields in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, Granular has aggressive goals to extend to the rest of the Corn Belt and the Delta region by the end of the year.
Additionally, the company will continue to improve the accuracy of the AcreValue models and add other features of interest to buyers and sellers. The company will also develop power-user capabilities that will only be available to customers using Granular’s farm management software.

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Learn how Granular helped a real farm discover that their variety choice was costing them $800 per acre

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  |  
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September 11, 2017

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