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Senior Contributor

Re: A 5% return on this makes for expensive rent

The bulk of the ground or just over 15000 acres was irrigated cropland.  The remaining 3000+ acres was pasture ground.  The only reason for the purchase of the pasture was it was an all or nothing deal.  Thus, it changes the amount paid for acre because the pasture ground wouldn't even be a tenth of the cost of irrigated cropland. 


The NRD's have the ability to assess what is called an occupation tax in order to pay for retirements.  Right now, the limit is set at 10 bucks an acre.  However, a new bill has either been introduced or will be shortly to raise that limit up to 20 bucks an acre.  Some don't think it will pass, but I have a feeling it will pass. 


I'm not sure one can assume this will help groundwater at all.  It was stated that no more water would be pumped than what has been pumped on crops, but it wasn't stated they wouldn't pump just as much.  Therefore, it could potentially have very little impact on groundwater levels by retirement versus planting crops. 


It potentially could have a very adverse affect on the local school district because they could potentially see over 200,000 disappear from their ledger.  However, one must also look at the other side of the coin.  Several people worked for Lincoln County Farms that had children.  The school district will probably also lose a lot of state aid because they're going to lose several students from their district as well. 


Several years ago, the NRD districts stated they didn't want to place a value on water.  With things of this nature occurring, they've done just that.  My guts tells me a lot of those making these decisions today will more than likely regret this decision within the next decade.  I've often found that it's always a lot easier to spend someone else's money than it is one's own.  Most of the members of these NRD's are farmers.  I wonder how many of them would have been willing to pony up the money they just spent per acre on this farm ground if given the opportunity?  One must keep in mind that a large chunk of this ground should never have been broke out to begin with.  It's very rolling blowsand.  Without irrigation, one wouldn't even consider farming this ground. 

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