2019 RLI APEX Awards


April 2, 2020 (Amarillo TX) – George Clift, ALC of Amarillo, TX, Greg Good, ALC of Perryton, TX, and Hadley Perkins of Amarillo, TX were recognized as a part of the 2019 APEX Producers Club by the Realtors® Land Institute at the RLI APEX Production Awards Program, sponsored by The Land Report. These agents were recognized by RLI CEO Aubrie Kobernus, as well as The Land Report’s Co-founders Eddie Lee Rider Jr. and Eric O’Keefe, at a special awards ceremony on Monday, March 30th, during RLI’s 2020 National Land Conference (NLC20).

“We are proud of these Clift Land Brokers associates, and all of our members that were recognized as part of our award programs for their accomplishments in 2019. They truly are the crème of the crop when it comes to land real estate professionals,” said Kobernus.

The RLI APEX Awards Program, sponsored by The Land Report, celebrated its third year with a record 105 applicants totaling a combined $2.65+ billion in qualifying transaction volume and 3,535 sides represented. All land professionals recognized as part of the RLI APEX Awards Program are active members of RLI. Those recognized in the 2019 APEX Producers Club surpassed $4M in qualifying production volume. For more information on the award winners, please make sure to get a copy of The Land Report, one of the industry’s leading magazines for landowners and land professionals, which will publicize the top winners in their upcoming Spring 2020 issue. All land real estate professionals are invited to join RLI and apply to the prestigious APEX Awards Program next year. Learn more at rliland.com


RLI LANDU Education Week

2018 LANDU - Greg GoodGreg Good (back row), CLB Sales Associate and Perryton Branch Office Manager, recently attended the Realtor Land Institute LANDU Education Week in Arlington, TX.

June 11, 2018 (Chicago) – The Realtors® Land Institute (RLI), an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors®, is proud to announce a record-setting number of land real estate professionals in attendance at their annual LANDU Education Week. Fifty attendees from fourteen states gathered in Arlington, TX, last week to gain top-notch expertise through RLI’s Land University (LANDU) Education Program. Twenty-one of those students completed all 6 courses being offered towards the elite Accredited Land Consultant (ALC) Designation. READ PRESS RELEASE

Never Buy Land Without an ALC

Never Buy Land Without an ALC…. 4 reasons from an article on Land.com written by Luke Worrell, ALC

This article outlines 4 of the reasons you should never buy land without an ALC (Accredited Land Consultant)…..Trust….Skill….Knowledge…Connections.

“When it comes to selling land, I am absolutely convinced that ALCs are the best in the business.  For starters, you can only become a designated ALC after you have proven yourself in the field.”

Read the entire article here.

George Clift Spearheads Donation Drive for Wildfire Relief

George Clift spearheaded a campaign to challenge all Texas Association of Realtors® members and REALTOR® Land Institute members to donate to the Wildfire Relief Fund. We sent out the following letter to all TAR Members. A similar letter went out to RLI members, also offering the Ashland Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund as a suggestion for donations.


The numbers are mind boggling….

-hundreds of thousands of acres of grassland burned
-thousands of square miles of devastation
-homes and barns destroyed
-wildlife gone
-tens of thousands of head of cattle burned to death
-ranchers’ lives lost trying to save their livestock
-so many lives changed forever

We are tough, here in the Texas Panhandle, but the week of March 6th was devastating to so many of our friends, neighbors, and clients. Some ranchers have lost everything.

As we have watched this unfold, we have felt a strong need to “do something”.  So many from across our Region, the State of Texas, and our Nation have come forward to ask, “What can we do to help?”.  Most are stepping up to the plate by sending supplies to those who are fighting the fires, hay to feed the cattle that are left, equipment, labor, and monetary donations.

We have reached out to those we knew were affected by this week’s wildfires, and asked what they needed the most.  Their answer was help replacing the miles and miles of burned fences.  That’s a priority, after making sure their families are safe and their surviving stock are fed. Our job was to find the best way to direct our help to those who need it the most.

The needs will be ongoing for quite some time. With cost running somewhere around $10,000.00 per mile to rebuild these fences, we believe this is exactly where those of us in the land business need to step up to the plate and help.

I am reaching out to all our TAR colleagues, asking you to help us do this for these ranchers. I would like to challenge you to make a donation to the following Foundation. WRCF is a 501(c)3 organization, so your donation will be tax deductible. I believe the WRCF will be the most efficient means in getting donated funds to where they are needed, as quickly as possible.

Working Ranch Cowboys Foundation
% Kaycee Hooper, Foundation Manager
408 SW 7th Avenue – Amarillo, TX 79101
(Reference “Wildfire Relief Fund” in the memo line of your check)

To make an online donation, go to http://wrca.org/foundation/ and click on “Make a Donation”.  In the comment section write “Wildfire Relief Fund”. The foundation will make sure your donation goes directly to ranchers who have been effected by these wildfires.

It’s times like these that we all have to stick together and help one another.  I appreciate any assistance you might offer.  Thank you for your kind support.

George Clift, ALC
Clift Land Brokers
3430 I-40 West – Amarillo, TX  79102
(806) 355-9856 – (806) 674-8979

Ashland Community Foundation – P.O. Box 276, Ashland, Kansas 67831
Go to www.ashlandcf.com. Scroll down to the bottom and click the Donate button. If paying by check, write “Wildfire Relief Fund” in the Memo Line. If donating online, click on “+ Add Special Instructions” and designate Wildfire Relief Fund.

Wall St Investors Buying Up Farmland

Wall St Investors Buying Up Farmland

WASHINGTON – For farmers gearing up to harvest millions of acres of land this fall in the face of low commodity prices, the rows or corn, soybeans and other crops have long been viewed as key to their survival.

But increasingly those same acres are drawing the attention of Wall Street investors looking to tap into those fields for profit.

Investors have turned to farmland as part of a sweeping push into physical assets — everything from lumber, hotels and apartments to parking meters, bridges and highways.

Farmland is becoming particularly attractive as the global population increases, the middle class expands and the rate of new farmland available worldwide dwindles. All this, proponents say, bodes well for gradually higher commodity prices that will trickle down to the farm, increasing the value of the land.

“You can build new office buildings. You can build new apartment buildings, but it’s hard to create new farmland out of nothing,” said David Rodgers, senior real estate research analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co. “It’s always been attractive, but I think it has come into focus a little bit … because of how important agriculture is to not only the food base but other components of the global economy.”

The farmland real estate market is valued at $2.5 trillion, with institutional ownership likely responsible for less than 1 percent, according to Bruce Sherrick, professor of farmland economics at the University of Illinois’ TIAA-CREF Center for Farmland Research.

But that small number is poised to grow.

A study released last year by the Oakland Institute, a California think tank, estimated as much as $10 billion in institutional capital is looking to acquire farmland.

And consulting firm Greenwich Associates surveyed 100 fund executives in 2014 and found that a third of respondents said they might invest more in farmland through July of this year. It was the second most popular investment among 13 categories, behind only energy.

That comes as some farmers are already complaining about farmland prices being driven up beyond their ability to turn a profit.

Farmland values in Iowa and other Corn Belt states have soared since 2000, as strong commodity prices (until recently) have boosted the financial coffers of farmers and ranchers, giving them more money to buy land or upgrade equipment. In Iowa, land prices have risen almost 330 percent since 2000, according to Iowa State University.

The growth has captivated a number of investment groups:

  • One of the largest, TIAA-CREF, which oversees retirement assets, started investing in farmland in 2007. It has expanded its investment in the sector and now manages about 1.2 million acres topping $5.5 billion.
  • A pair of real estate investment trusts, Gladstone Land Corp. and Farmland Partners Inc., have gone public since 2013, with another, American Farmland Co., filing for an initial public offering in June.

Dozens of additional institutional investors have plowed millions of dollars more into cropland in recent years.

“It runs counter to what I think certainly has historically been a major component of America’s policy toward agriculture, which was that we were better off if the land was in the hands of the people that farmed it,” Drake University law professor Neil Hamilton said. “Creating opportunities to fund farmland ownership and creating opportunities for people to become farmers are still major parts of what we do” through government programs, he said.

Farmers have grown increasingly concerned that real estate investment trusts, pension plans and other farmland investors lack the close ties and direct knowledge of what it takes to maintain the property and implement necessary conservation measures to preserve it. They also worry their involvement has the potential to shut out local farmers by outbidding them when land goes up for sale.

In Corning, Ia., farmer Ray Gaesser said an investment group purchased a parcel of land down the road from his corn and soybean farm last year and rented it to someone living more than 100 miles away.

The renters paid more than the going rate to work the land, he said.

“It did put a young farmer out of business,” said Gaesser, who said the producer he knows no longer looks to agriculture as his primary source of income. “I think my biggest concern is they don’t care so much about the land. They care more about the investment.”

Justin Dammann, a 35-year old corn and soybean producer from Essex, Ia., said local ownership of farmland also is good for the community because it keeps more of the profits and tax revenue in the hands of local residents. He said a law restricting corporate ownership of Iowa farmland has been good for the state and its producers.

“We farm this land, and if we are profitable that money goes back into our own farms, into our own communities, into our own schools, into our own churches,” Dammann said. “If an investment company from New York comes out and buys land in Iowa and they make profits in that land, those profits go out of state and they are not realized here.”

Proponents of corporate land ownership contend the owners still need to rent the land to a local farmer who’s knowledgeable about taking care of the operation.

Their involvement also offers a path for an older farmer — the average age has increased to 58 according to the Agriculture Department — who may want to take advantage of high land prices or knows that when he retires he might not be passing the operation to another family member.

In addition, institutional investors downplay the willingness to overpay for the property, cautioning that paying more to buy the land eats into future potential profits.

“I think it’s an unfortunate and somehow easily propagated myth that the nature of the buyer impacts the price in a way that is negative to the asset,” Sherrick said. “I’ve never seen it become less efficiently operated when somebody who has more than one farm in a fund acquires more farms.”

Iowa, along with a handful of other predominately Midwestern states, have taken steps to keep corporations off the farm.

Iowa passed its law in 1975, and has since updated it to prevent corporate entities other than one established by a family farm from having more than 25 people who are shareholders or acreage topping 1,500 acres.

However, individual investors in the United States are not banned from buying land for themselves in the state.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who worked on the law when he was a lobbyist for the Iowa Farmers Union in the 1970s, defended the measure and said the state has no plans to repeal it.

“We don’t know how much corporate ownership would have been had there not been a law, but clearly there would have been some and maybe a considerable amount,” said Miller. “I think this has been a good law and has been healthy for Iowa, healthy for farmers and the farm community.”

Farmland Partners Chief Executive Paul Pittman, who grew up in a farm family and graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in agriculture during the 1980s farm crisis, called corporate ownership restrictions in Iowa and other states “unfair” and said they remove a buyer who could help prop up land prices when they are falling.

He pointed out that land prices in Illinois, which allows corporations to buy acres and where Farmland Partners is an investor, have not fallen as much as in Iowa during the recent downturn.

“I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why somebody thinks it’s a good public policy to keep school teachers and factory workers and police officers and firemen from pooling their money and buying farmland, but if you’re a Forbes-list guy you can buy anything you want,” Pittman said.

Farmland Partners focuses on establishing long-term relationships with its tenants and plans to hold the land it buys indefinitely. Farmland went public in April 2014, owning 38 farms with 7,300 acres.

It has aggressively expanded its reach to 122 farms covering close to 72,000 acres, growing corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton — along with permanent crops such as blueberries. The real estate investment trust plans to double the size of its portfolio annually during the next few years.

“The land itself is the tortoise in the tortoise-and-hare race. It gradually continues to get more valuable,” said Pittman, who remains a part owner of a 13,000-acre corn, soybean, alfalfa and cattle farm. “Land never is, never was, never will be a get-rich-quick asset. People who think they are going to flip in and flip out of those assets and time the market, they’re going to get burned.”

Sherrick said it is becoming easier for the average person to participate in land ownership, through funds that hold farmland. The investor could soon have more options.

He said a person could choose, for example, whether they want a fund that focuses on Midwest row crops or the West Coast where farmers grow nuts, tomatoes, lettuce, berries and other fruits and vegetables.

“It’s just the beginning, and (investing in farmland) is probably going to be here for a really long time,” said Sherrick.

Contact Christopher Doering at cdoering@gannett.com or reach him at Twitter: @cdoering

2015 National Land Conference a Great Success

2015 National Land Conference a Great Success

April 7, 2015 – Tucson, Arizona – The 2015 National Land Conference was held on March 23-24, 2015 in Tucson, AZ. This one-of-a-kind conference, presented by the REALTORS® Land Institute, was attended by over 200 land professionals and 32 exhibitors from across the U.S.  This year’s conference focused on many topics crucial to the land real estate business, including economic updates from several of this country’s top economists and discussions covering the future of 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, technology and social media in the land business, the 2014 Farm Bill, new FAA rules for drones, land auctions, minerals, wind farms, and many other relevant topics.  Each year the land conference offers attendees invaluable networking opportunities essential to building the land professional’s business.

IMG_1619The main fund raising event for the organization, the Greatest Cowboy Auction on Earth, was held on Tuesday evening of the conference. Donations from this live and silent auction go toward educational funding for the Land Institute and to member benefits.  In addition, cash donations were received for the Land Education Foundation’s “Feed the Need”, an effort to support educational needs of land professionals across the U.S. This year’s auction was a great success due in large part to the Auction Team which included, Mike Jones, United Country in Dallas, TX; Bill Sheridan, ALC, Sheridan Realty and Auction Co. in Mason, MI; Brent Wellings, Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. in Stillwater, OK; Mac Boyd, ALC Advanced, Farmers National Co. in Arcola, IL; Jimmie Dean Coffey, United Country in Bloomington, IN; Kyle Hansen, ALC Advanced, Hertz Real Estate Services in Nevada, IA; and George Clift, ALC Advanced, Clift Land Brokers in Amarillo, TX.IMG_1628

During the opening night ceremonies, George Clift, 2014 RLI National President of the REALTORS® Land Institute, passed the gavel to the new 2015 Institute National President, Terri Jensen, ALC Advanced, Farmers National Company, Omaha, NE.  Next year’s land conference will be held March 11th -13th at a Dallas Landmark, the Historic Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas.

For more information about REALTORS® Land Institute, call 800-441-5263 or visit their website at www.rliland.com.