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first_img– ‘Bittersweet’ –US midfielder Carli Lloyd scooped the best women’s player of 2016, the two-time Olympic gold medallist adding to her 2015 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year accolade.The American finished ahead of Brazilian star Marta and Germany’s Melanie Behringer.She described 2016 as “bittersweet”, with the US failing to win a medal for the first time in women’s Olympic football.Spain’s La Liga accounted for nine of the 11 players in the FIFPro team of the year with Ronaldo and Messi headlining a star-studded line-up.Ronaldo was joined by Real team-mates Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric while the side comprised four Barcelona players with Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez joining Messi.Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer — named to the FIFPro World 11 for the fourth year running — was the only player selected without links to Spain’s top two clubs.Juventus defender Dani Alves was included for a sixth time having helped Barca to a league and cup double before leaving the Camp Nou for Italy last June.FIFA also gave a fair play prize to the Colombian side Atletico Nacional.The team had asked South America’s football governing body to award a regional club title to Chapecoense after most of the Brazilian side perished in a plane crash on the way to the first leg of the final.– New honours –World football’s governing body launched the new award series after ending its six-year collaboration with France Football magazine for the Ballon d’Or.The change is one of many implemented under Infantino, who took over FIFA last year pledging to lead it away from the scandals that dominated the end of Sepp Blatter’s tenure.Speaking on the so-called “green carpet” outside the Zurich awards venue, Maradona said the prizes helped define a new FIFA identity.“After everything that was taken away from football, everything that was tainted by corruption, to see new people, new faces, that provides me with hope,” Maradona said.But the first 11 months of Infantino’s administration have had their troubles, including massive and often contentious FIFA staff overhauls and an ethics probe that ultimately cleared Infantino of abusing his office.Infantino’s biggest test to date is set for Tuesday, when FIFA’s powerful governing council will decide whether to back his controversial push to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from its current 32-nation format.Share on: WhatsApp Congratulations, Claudio Ranieri!Winner of #TheBest FIFA Men’s Coach 2016 ?https://t.co/LO8lWBKxpn pic.twitter.com/8czujwPzIz— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) January 9, 2017Having miraculously avoided relegation the previous season, the Foxes rode that wave of momentum all the way to the title.The prizes were based on a combined voting process involving national team coaches and captains, a select group of journalists and fans.Ronaldo took 34.5 percent of the vote over 26.4 percent to Messi, who skipped the awards show co-hosted by US actress and former “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria.Barcelona said Messi was focused on preparing for an upcoming match against Athletic Bilbao. Delighted to win The Best FIFA award. Wouldn’t be possible without my teammates, coaches and you who support me every day. Thanks everyone! pic.twitter.com/1E1VkaYbTu— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) January 9, 2017Zurich, Switzerland | AFP | Cristiano Ronaldo claimed FIFA’s inaugural best player of the year award on Monday, the latest prize for the Real Madrid and Portugal star after a glittering 2016 for club and country.Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri received the best men’s coach award following his side’s fairytale Premier League triumph.But the night again belonged to the 31-year-old Ronaldo, who edged out long-time nemesis Lionel Messi for the trophy as well as France’s Antoine Griezmann, the top player at this summer’s European championship.Ronaldo had already won the Ballon d’Or after his third Champions League title, thanks largely to his 16 goals in 12 games, as well as triumphing with Portugal at Euro 2016 — the country’s first major prize.“2016 was the best year of my career,” Ronaldo said after being handed the prize from FIFA President Gianni Infantino.Ranieri, 65, who saw off Real boss Zinedine Zidane and Portugal manager Fernando Santos, said the best coach honour was “incredible” after receiving the prize from Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.Under Ranieri’s leadership, Leicester pulled off one of the greatest shocks in English football history by defying title odds of 5,000-1 to lift the Premier League trophy last season.last_img read more

first_imgOAKLAND — Following a pair of gut-wrenching games with the New York Yankees over the weekend, the A’s bullpen needed a performance — and an end result — like the one it put forth Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels.After Blake Treinen gave up a game-tying solo home run to Justin Upton in the sixth inning, relievers Ryan Buchter, Yusmeiro Petit, Joakim Soria and Liam Hendriks were nearly perfect in 3 2/3 innings of work, helping the A’s earn a 7-5 win over the Angels to start off a weeklong …last_img read more

first_imgJohannesburg, Wednesday 6 January 2016 – Brand South Africa’s CEO Mr Kingsley Makhubela today announced the appointment of Mrs Linda Sangaret as Chief Marketing Officer of the country’s official marketing and reputation management agency.Mrs Sangaret has recently concluded a decade long tenure as South African Tourism’s Country Manager in France.  During this time, she was key to South Africa’s efforts to position the country as a destination of choice for French tourists.Between 2000-2005, Mrs Sangaret held the position of Global Communications and Marketing Manager at the Societe Generale Investment Bank in France and was responsible for the implementation of the Bank’s communications and marketing strategy in Asia and the Americas.Mrs Sangaret has also served the country as a diplomat in Paris between 1995-1999.Welcoming Mrs Sangaret to Brand South Africa, Mr Kingsley Makhubela said, “Brand South Africa is pleased to have a global citizen of the calibre of Mrs Sangaret as its Chief Marketing Officer.  Mrs Sangaret will be responsible for co-ordinating national efforts to position South Africa as a competitive destination of choice in a range of areas and we wish her a successful tenure at Brand South Africa.”Speaking about her appointment, Mrs Sangaret said, “After many years of working to position my country positively on foreign shores, I am pleased to be able to showcase to the world, including South Africans, the beauty and magnificence of our country and its people.  In an increasingly borderless global world, a nation’s reputation and its competitive strengths are its biggest assets.  I look forward to the task of defining South Africa’s value proposition with a range of stakeholders so that we can leverage the best that the country has to offer to position South Africa as a world class destination of choice,” concluded Mrs Sangaret.Mrs Sangaret assumes office on 6 January 2016.last_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Elizabeth WilliamsDTN Special CorrespondentINDIANOLA, Iowa (DTN) — A 67-acre tract of farmland in Sioux County, Iowa, brought $18,300 per acre at auction earlier this month.In September, Hertz Farm Management had 10 sales at $10,000 or more per acre and eight sales above $11,000 per acre for corn and soybean ground, CEO Randy Hertz told DTN.These sales may be isolated cases in today’s market, but the trend of steady-to-slightly higher land values is not. Farmland brokers report sales around the Midwest continue to attract strong buying interest, primarily from farmers.Farm profits have been hard to come by in recent years and are no longer the driving force of the land market. Instead, farmland values’ stability has helped farmers weather the storm of low commodity prices. But with little change seen to agriculture’s economic outlook, DTN takes a look at what’s holding land values up — inventory, interest rates, income and investment — and what it would take for them to tumble in this two-part series, Land’s Linchpin.LOW INVENTORY MEETS LIMITED INCENTIVE TO SELLFarmland owners have few incentives to sell.In the old days, a retiring farm couple would sell the farm, buy a house in town and live comfortably in retirement. They didn’t necessarily want to rent their farm because the prevailing crop share leases were risky.In contrast, today’s cash rents are relatively risk-free, and it doesn’t take a large number of rental acres to generate a secure retirement income for a frugal farm couple. For an older couple looking for a safe investment, renting out a farm is attractive, providing a 2.5% to 3% return in annual cash rental income compared to the less than 2% return they’d earn on a certificate of deposit at a bank.In fact, 60% of the farmland in Iowa is owned by people 65 years and older.“People like owning land,” said Winnie Stortzum, a farmland broker with Farmers National Company in Arcola, Illinois. “They know the investment. They like the investment, and they are comfortable with it.”Stortzum said he spoke with a 73-year-old investor who bought a farm for $10,550 per acre this spring.“He has never been married; has no heirs, no nieces or nephews. He said, ‘I know I shouldn’t be buying land at this age, but I just like the investment.’ And he is looking into charities to leave his land to,” Stortzum said.Tax laws also disincentivize farmland sales. If you hold your land until you die, your heirs get a step-up in basis and do not have to pay capital gains tax on the farmland if they sell it for market value at the time of your death. If, however, you sell that land while you are alive, you pay tax on all the capital gain since you bought or inherited the ground. Consequently, most farmland sales today are estate sales.Another reason farm owners aren’t selling: They don’t need to. Eighty-two percent of Iowa farmland is owned free of debt, according to a 2017 survey by Iowa State University. This is up from 62% in 1982 and 78% in 2012.“That provides huge stability in the land market,” Hertz said.Despite lower farm profits and declining working capital, lenders are not pressuring for a large number of land sales because many farmers have adequate net worth to weather lean times. A recent report by USDA’s Economic Research Service that looked at measures of solvency, liquidity and repayment capacity found that only 10% to 15% of farms were classified as being under financial stress.It’s important to remember that not all farmers are losing money, either, said Howard Halderman with Halderman Farm Management and Real Estate Services, based in Wabash, Indiana. “Farmers have had the opportunity to sell over $4 cash corn and over $10 soybeans the past three to four years and over two to three weeks” each time, he told DTN.The tough growing season has also created regional basis opportunities.“And this fall, cash basis for corn in southern Minnesota was 5 to 10 cents over the Chicago futures price when it’s usually 40 cents under the Chicago price,” said Moe Russell with Russell Consulting Group in Panora, Iowa. That’s because buyers are worried about availability of quality grain, he said.“Farmers who are good marketers have been able to hold their own financially, even in these tough times,” he said.Also, not all places had crop failures or lower-than-average yields this year. Corn yields in the area of that eye-popping farmland sale this year are over 200 bushels per acre while soybeans are yielding 50-70 bpa.Farmers aren’t selling, and they are doing most of the farmland buying.“In our farm sales this year, 70% to 75% of the buyers were operating farmers,” Halderman said. “It’s been closer to 50-50 farmers to investors the past few years.”INTEREST RATES DRAW ACCOLADESIn agriculture, you can’t say enough good things about low interest rates.“It keeps interest expenses low for operating farmers,” said farm consultant Russell.“When interest rates on bank CDs are frustratingly low, farmland investment is attractive,” said Stortzum.“People look at hard assets that retain value [rather than invest in financial instruments],” noted Texas A&M economist Charles Gilliland.Low interest rates make borrowing for land purchases more affordable and keep the cost of servicing debt payments low.“I borrowed some money to buy some farms and locked in 3.25%, fixed for 10 years,” said Murray Wise, a farmland broker and investor. “I kind of felt sorry for the banker.”The general economy also benefits from low interest rates, he said, by forestalling a recession. “The prime rate at 5 and moving down is a positive sign for the economy. And all the big banks are making phenomenal money with a rather conservative portfolio.”SAFETY NET PAYMENTS HELP CASH FLOWOhio State University ag economist Barry Ward said the safety net in agriculture is pretty strong.“Subsidized crop insurance helps put a floor in place. ARC-PLC government payments aren’t that high now, but still protect a significant downside. And Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments and the prevent plant program this year have helped farmers with cash flow,” Ward explained.USDA authorized $14 billion for MFP payments this growing season that will be divided up into three payments, the first of which farmers have already received. The remaining two are dependent on the status of trade negotiations, with USDA currently planning on cutting checks in November and January.Farmers with prevented planting claims this year will also be paid an additional 10% under a disaster assistance bill.Ward said the unfortunate part of that arrangement is there’s no knowing how long support will continue since both of those are ad hoc programs.That uncertainty, along with other challenges to corn demand, could lead to tighter incomes over time.“There’s a question mark on the ethanol industry, so we’ll see what happens there,” Ward said.SECTION 1031 TAX-DEFERRED LAND EXCHANGES FACILITATE DEVELOPMENTFarmland continues to be converted to suburban houses and business sites. A recent study by the American Farmland Trust found that 31 million acres were lost to development between 1992 and 2012, including 11 million acres of the nation’s best agricultural land.For perspective, that’s 175 acres per hour of agricultural land lost to development, or 3 acres per minute.In the Texas Panhandle, as around the U.S., these exchanges are helping to prop up farm and ranch values, Gilliland said.“Landowners surrounding cities, such as Lubbock, look for other ag property to exchange into and avoid paying high capital gains taxes on land they sold for development,” he said.Land exchanges are not a huge portion of land sales, but they are still significant. The Iowa chapter of the Realtors Land Institute estimated in 2019 that potential buyers using 1031 Exchanges influenced up to 20% of the farmland auctions, either by buying or bidding.(KM/ES/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more