Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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October 25, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 10/26/10

In this edition:

*Happy Halloween!
*Some Election Facts
*Ag Land Values
*Did You Know?

*Happy Halloween!
Halloween is Sunday the 31st. I have been amazed in recent years by the amount of effort (and money) that goes into decorating homes for the season. When I was young, few homes displayed anything other than carved pumpkins. Now, there are huge blow up characters, lights, and much more.

Regardless of how you view Halloween, we need to remember a few key things: First, be careful! One thing that has not changed is an abundance of young children in dark costumes excitedly crossing streets. Secondly, you may want to temporarily take down your campaign yard signs. Despite annual accusations to the contrary, I think most signs that disappear are teen pranks. Finally, have fun! Halloween offers all of us an opportunity to be young again.

*Some Election Facts
Hopefully, many of you have already voted. Whether you have voted or not, please consider the following facts. Over the past 4 years:

1.) Iowa ranks #1 in overall children’s health!

2.) Iowa’s bars and restaurants are now smoke-free!

3.) Iowa teacher salaries have risen from 42nd to 26th in the nation.

4.) Iowa now has strong civil rights protections, meaning you cannot be denied housing or employment because you are gay.

5.) Iowa has largely recovered from the fourth largest natural disaster in US history.

6.) Iowa’s budget is balanced, and our financial management is considered third best in the US.

Any two of those issues would be enough to choose Governor Culver. Take all 6 together, and you can clearly see that Iowa is a strong state, headed in the right direction.

Iowa has moved forward. We should continue to do so. Chet Culver deserves another 4 years. Please join me in voting for him.

*Ag Land Values
From the desk of Bill Greazel, Johnson County Assessor:

When it comes to valuing land classified as agricultural property, assessors use a formula that includes the Corn Suitability Rating (CSR). Every tract of land has an average CSR, based on how good it is for growing corn. Land with a higher CSR will be more profitable, and therefore has greater value.

The average CSR for Johnson County is 67.5 on a scale of 5 to 100, with 100 being the ideal. Knowing the county average makes it easier to compare tracts of farmland in the area.

To analyze each piece of land, we hire soil scientists about every 20 to 25 years. (Soil doesn’t change much over time, unless there is significant erosion.)

Iowa State University scientists walked the ground and took test borings, plotting the results on gridded maps. They determined how much of each soil type each tract has – how much of it is fertile black dirt, and how much is sandy, rocky or clay-like. They also looked at factors like erosion and the slope of the ground.

Land with poor soil can still produce a good crop; it just requires more maintenance and increases expenses, such as fertilizer. And, of course, the farmer gets the same price per bushel as someone who didn’t have to put so much into it.

People who are buying or selling farmland are interested in CSR, but it may not have a major impact on the price in the current competitive market.

As we assess farmland, the CSR for a tract remains steady from year to year. What changes is another factor in the equation: the value per CSR point, which is based on net income of crop production. A profitable year of production results in a higher value per CSR point.

Currently, the value per CSR in Johnson County is $15.264.
The assessed value of farmland is determined by taking the CSR times the value per CSR point times the number of assessable acres (which excludes right-of-way acres and exempt acres, such as forest reserve or wetlands). So, a 40-acre farm with a CSR of 60 would be assessed at $36,633. (60 x 15.264 x 40 = 36,633).

The CSR for any tract of farmland in Johnson County is available on our online property database. To see how Johnson County’s average CSR compares with counties in Iowa, visit

*DID YOU KNOW? The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office issued 1,855 speeding citations last year.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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