Testimonials:

Bill, son-in-law/care giver from Minnesota
    "I want to express my sincere appreciation for the fine service you have supplied to me and my family attendant to the sale of the family farm. In my thirty plus years of business experience, I cannot recall receiving more valuable or timely professional service. From our first discussion on the phone, I was impressed with your competence and your reliance on the storehouse of data collected and managed by Benchmark Agribusiness. Through the course of your appraisal of the farm, your consultation regarding the merchandising of the property, and finally the expert advice in support of pricing and positioning the offer to sell, you have dealt effectively and respectfully with my inexperience in agricultural matters and inspired the confidence I needed to responsibly represent the interests of our family. That you are capable of delivering such relevant expertise with a congenial, steady and modest style is the bonus that made this whole experience pleasurable for me!"

"I regret only that I have no other business interests that would be the basis for working with you again in the future."

     Bill was spearheading the sale of the family farm for his father-in-law who owned half of the farm and his wife and her two sisters who owned the other half. All parties concerned really wanted their long time tenant to have the first chance to buy the farm but................... economic realities dictated that the family needed to get pretty close to full market value. First, Benchmark appraised the farm. Then, Benchmark accompanied Bill to a nearby auction to gauge the current events and finally, we sat in on the final negotiating session with their tenant. It all ended with a win/win situation. The tenant didn't have to bid against his neighbors and our client was pleased to know the farm was going to continue to have the same care it had received for several years.

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Dr. Dan, Kansas - absentee land owner
     "As an out of state owner needing advice and a local presence in this endeavor, I had no idea how much help you would prove to be when I asked if you did that sort of thing.  ...The suggestion of using differing sales techniques from private treaty, to realtor, to public auction proved insightful and profitable. ...Your availability for consultation by phone and to "hold my hand" through the process was invaluable.   ...In addition to my satisfaction, both the realtor and the auctioneers expressed their appreciation for your help and suggestions, echoing many of my comments above. Your services made a process which could have been very difficult a real pleasure. I particularly appreciated your technique of "thinking out loud" and allowing me to make the eventual decisions with your insight. I felt confident throughout that we were pursuing the right course with the right people and in the end continue to hold that opinion."        

     Dr. Dan's family had owned almost 500 acres in North Central Iowa since 1942. The decision to finally sell the Iowa real estate had been in the discussion phase for five years. Based on Benchmark's advice, Dr. Dan sold part of the property privately to an investor who will rent back to a tenant, part of it was sold by a realtor and part was sold through a professionally conducted public auction. Benchmark suggested the family spend $600 on a survey of 29.0 acres of permanent pasture so that parcel could be offered separately from the adjoining cropland. The pasture brought $1,075 per acre or $31,175. The cost of the survey was recovered 50 times over. Based on Benchmark's advice, Dr. Dan listed the 50 acres mature woods for $6,000/acre rather than the $3,000/acre price recommended by the listing broker. The woods sold for $5,700/acre.

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Julia D., Pennsylvania - attorney and absentee land owner
     "Benchmark Agribusiness provided an appraisal of my land which was conducted and delivered with complete professionalism. Even more importantly, Mr. Greder's consultation services guided me every step of the way through the sale. Fred's "above and beyond" service saved me thousands in commission. It also brought the investor segment to the auction, which resulted in significantly higher competitive bidding. Benchmark Agribusiness and Fred Greder gave me a sale that exceeded my expectations."

     Julia had owned her farm in North Central Iowa since the 1950s when she was still a minor child. Benchmark led her through the process of deciding whether to auction the farm or list it with a real estate broker. After she decided the auction approach was going to meet her goals, we referred her to three reputable auctioneering companies and then helped her chose from the three companies based on the strengths of each auction company. Finally, we saved Julia $2,480 in auctioneering fees by recommending she negotiate a lower commission fee.

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John H., Arizona - absentee livestock site owner
     "The Jury delivered a verdict. We won 100+% of everything. You did an awesome job. They gave us more than what we asked for and you were a big part of it."

     When John first inspected the farrowing site he had acquired by Tax Deed, he discovered the prior owner had removed all of the crates, decks, gates, waterers and feeders. He made several attempts to convince the former owner to return all of these real estate fixtures. However, the former owner was convinced the equipment belonged to him. It took three years of haggling and eventually a three-day jury trial but finally, John prevailed. The jury awarded more than the "value-in-use" valuation for the hog equipment taken from the site and they awarded a very generous amount for the three years of rental income John had lost during the process.


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Women, Land & Legacy Planning Committee
     On behalf of Women, Land & Legacy, I would like to thank you for speaking for our group last Thursday and for sponsoring our meal. Some words the ladies used to describe the value of your presentation were "Great Speaker!" and "It was valuable to learn about CSRs and find out what your land is worth." They felt the information presented was very useful to them.

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Benchmark Agribusiness would like to help your story have as successful an outcome as these.  Call us at 641-424-6983 or email benchmarkag@mchsi.com.


Bill O'Reilly of FOX NEWS fame recently wrote a book titled "Who's Looking Out for You?" In the book, O'Reilly singled out big corporations, the national media, politicians and government bureaucrats as the some of the groups from whom the individual needs protecting. These groups aren't evil, but what is best for them may not be what's best for you.

The same thing is true in the real estate industry. Every week we get involved in situations where the scales need to be tipped in your favor.

Let Benchmark look out for you. Here are three examples of how we can help:

Benchmark was involved in negotiations between an 86 year-old widow and a young beginning farm couple - to sell the widow's farm on a short-term installment contract. The young couple's banker, advised them to offer only 3% interest on the contract for deed. The banker's logic was sound. That rate was competitive with certificates of deposit at his bank with similar maturity. The lower interest rate also helped the profitability of the young couple - his customer. However, it wasn't in the best interest of the widow. She only had one farm to sell and one chance to make the best deal. Benchmark helped her do better.

Another example - A few years ago, Benchmark watched as an auctioneer pushed a family during a recess in the bidding, to accept the high bid. The auctioneer was quick to point out that his contract with them still required them to pay his commission and his expenses even if they didn't sell the property that day. The family agreed to accept the high bid of $1,995/acre. That buyer subsequently enrolled the cropland in the Wetland Reserve Program for almost $2,350/acre. Wait. There's more. That buyer still controlled the WRP residual rights, which would have been worth an additional $500/acre.

That auctioneer is an honest man but, on that day, he was looking out for himself more than his client.

Still another example - Benchmark recently advised an absentee landowner to expect to receive $5,000/acre for a recreation property. The owner had already been told to only ask $3,000/acre by his real estate broker. The broker wasn't familiar with that type of property, but he knew Benchmark was. That broker was also honest and he quickly proved he was the right person to sell the property. They eventually listed the property at $6,000/acre and received $5,700/acre in less than a month!

Then, there are those times when YOU aren't looking out for you! You can't be expected to know what's right when you're not in the business. We see people several times a year be "penny wise and pound foolish". These are the folks who saved a few hundred dollars on an appraisal or a consultation, but sold their property for several thousand dollars less than the full market value. Or, they saved a thousand dollars on a survey, but they sold the pasture and the woods along with the cropland for the same price the cropland would have brought by itself.

We value our relationship with the local lenders, lawyers, real estate agents and auctioneers. Those relationships are based on mutual respect. They can't be expected to know everything we know just as we don't know everything they know.

What's the bottom-line? Sometimes you need more than one person looking out for you. Put Benchmark on your team.