Ranch Investor Podcast

Episode 15 | Appraisers Exposed: Unconventional Insights into Real Estate Valuation


Ever wondered how agribusiness facilities like grain elevators and sugar factories are valued? In this episode, let us explore the world of agribusiness appraisals with Megan Sheeley, an accredited rural appraiser from Crown Appraisals. From her upbringing on a farm to becoming a key player in the appraisal industry, Megan shares the nuances of valuing complex agribusiness properties using diverse appraisal methods. This episode not only reveals the intricate process behind these valuations but also highlights the ethical considerations and personal fulfillment in this unique sector. Join us for a captivating journey into the heart of agribusiness appraisal, where business meets passion.

Colter DeVries:0:00

Welcome to the Ranch Investor Podcast. I am your three-year host, Colter DeVries, accredited land consultant with the Realtor Land Institute and accredited farm manager with ASFMRA. I’m excited to bring you the experts on a weekly basis to hear what’s trending, what’s happening, what’s going on in Montana, Wyoming, the West and ranches across the United States.


The Ranch Investor Podcast is the most downloaded and informative industry-specific content that intrigues while entertaining.

Colter DeVries:0:35

Megan Shealy thanks for coming on the Ranch Investor Podcast.

Megan Sheely:0:40

Thanks for having me Colter.

Colter DeVries:0:42

Megan and I met at ASFMRA American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. She is a accredited rural appraiser with crown appraisals out of Fargo North Dakota. A seven-year veteran, megan, let’s get started. Simple introduction Tell me a little bit about your background, sure so.

Megan Sheely:1:07

I grew up on a corn, soybean and sugar beet farm about an hour south of Fargo in the southeast corner of North Dakota. I was involved on the farm but really took it for granted and didn’t really know what I wanted to do. When I grew up, went to NDSU in Fargo and hopped around a few different departments before kind of finding my home in the Ag Econ department. The whole time my family was telling me, like just go into agriculture, you’re gonna love it. The whole time I was digging in my 19-year-old stubborn heels like absolutely not, I don’t want anything to do with the farm, I’m gonna forge my own path. But ended up getting into the Ag Econ department and it was really the people there that just felt like home and it ended up being a great experience and a great education. Towards the end of my college career I had the fear of what am I gonna do when I get out of here? And I had an academic advisor who I sat down with and he said you know, you’re a lot like me, you like talking to people, but you’re definitely a nerd, so I think you’d make a pretty good appraiser. Have you ever thought about that? And so, because he said that’s what he would do if he wasn’t in academics. So I didn’t even know how to spell appraisal at that point, not let alone know what they do or if it was something I wanted to get into. So I called around for internships and, luckily, crown appraisals. Let me come in and serve an internship for a summer before I graduated and at that time Jeff Berg, the founder of our company. He had a new project that summer. He was asked to appraise a cotton gin and it was the first time he’d ever appraised a cotton gin. So he set me out as an intern to go research the cotton industry. So I got busy doing that and it was kind of an aha moment for me because I thought you know, if he’s 30 plus years into his career and he’s still doing things for the first time and still learning, like this is something I could get into. And then I was hired full-time after I graduated and have been there seven years since then and have since become a partner in the operation. And what I thought that summer has proven to be true Like we’re learning new things every day, every operation we look at is different and interesting and fun. So just real, I just feel really fortunate to to be here and have this opportunity. So at Crown Appraisals we appraise agribusiness facilities. So that could be grain elevators, fertilizer, negronomy facilities, seed plants, feed mills, things like that, and then some more specialized facilities like sugar beet and sugar cane facilities, biofuel plants, rice mills, flour mills, pretty much anything specialty agribusiness is kind of our, our specialty.

Colter DeVries:4:03

Well, that must for the right person. That must be tremendously rewarding. New challenges all the time. Very nuanced assets, not a huge market for a sugar beet factory. That seems like it’d be very challenging and you get to learn something new every day. Try figuring out that market and applying the science, appraisal science there. I would assume what goes into that. Are you looking at these assets cost capitalization, comp, value how do you? How do you value a sugar beet plant?

Megan Sheely:4:45

Sure, so everything we do is based on comparable sales of similar facilities. So, even if, even if the the market is thinly traded and there are very few sales, sales do exist. They have happened and we do our best to track those sales down which presents its own sets of challenges, because when you get these very complex facilities and something sells, the county courthouse usually doesn’t have the full story of what happened in that sale. So it it ends up being we are relying on our network and we’re trying doing our best to track down the buyers and sellers and getting out of them the full story of what happened with that sale. So everything we do is based on comparable sales. We look at it from the cost approach method so what would this facility cost to build new today? And then we’re applying depreciation rates based on depreciation rates that we are abstracting from other comparable sales. And then we’re looking at the sales comparison approach. So what have other similar facilities sold for on a per unit basis, whether it’s per bushel, per ton, per hundred weight of sugar, whatever the relevant unit is for that industry. And the cost and sales comparison approaches give us a good, a good bricks and mortar value of what the facility itself is worth, what’s the land, buildings and equipment worth? And then we also look at the income approach and we take we take the, the operations, historic, owner, operator financials, we dig deep into those with the CFO or the manager or the owner, whoever the right person is to really get an understanding of what makes this business tick. Why are they profitable? What are the challenges? We analyze those historic financials and we’ll either we’ll capitalize it based on cap rates that we’re abstracting from those comparable agribusiness sales, and then we also have a database of EBITDA multipliers that we’ll use. And so wherever that income approach value comes in relative to the cost and sales comparison approaches, sometimes it’s less and that might tell us that you know this operation isn’t very profitable. Therefore it might sell at a discount relative to the bricks and mortar value. Sometimes it comes in really close to those other two values, which just tells us like the going concern operation supports the bricks and mortar value and then on occasion we’ll see it come in above that bricks and mortar value, which gives us an indication that you know there’s some kind of intangible asset or blue sky at play here. Now we aren’t full-blown business valuation appraisers so we can’t get into the different components of intangible assets, but we do have a network of business valuation appraisers that we would work with if a client needed that. But it’s still a really powerful tool to when you’re looking at these facilities that sell with a going concern business. That’s the quick and dirty version of our extensive analysis that we would do on a complex facility.

Colter DeVries:7:56

These complex facilities, niche businesses. There is a certain amount, of course, Blue Sky going into that valuation. I’m glad to hear that us ranch brokers are not the only ones accused of selling Blue Sky. It’s everywhere. Well, how do you I mean, you’re going to have to go through that again how do you narrow down what is bullshit and what is actual, because I mean these facilities? I don’t know what a cotton gin goes for, but I would assume a dairy, an organic dairy, or you probably deal with a lot of co-ops, mega big co-ops, that have their grain handling, processing facilities. There’s a lot of money on the line there and we’re going to try to pad our numbers as much as possible. How do you sift the chaff from the grain and filter out the bullshit? Yeah, that’s a challenge, for sure, then stay confident to your numbers because I know you appraisers get taken to court a lot. Megan, you were just testifying recently as an expert witness, weren’t you? Yes, that’s always a fun experience, so you have to defend your study all the time and you have to conduct it understanding that you might end up on the stand.

Megan Sheely:9:27

Yeah, yeah, a lot, yeah. So you have to do all of the due diligence to make sure your numbers are as reliable as possible. Yeah, when it comes to financials there’s always a certain degree of that. You walk into a facility and you could just tell by the language that the manager or owner is using what kind of number they want. But thankfully we are very ethical in that it doesn’t matter who’s paying for the appraisal or what the purpose is. Our number is our number. But it is important when we’re looking at those financials, trying to figure out how reliable are these numbers and how reliable are they going forward. So say you have a Niagara business facility that’s looking to sell. There’s a certain degree of strategy that they can use to pad those numbers for a few years prior to potential sale, like they could cut back on maintenance into the facilities. They could take out half their staff, whatever it is. But you can only do that for so long before the wheels fall off figuratively or literally, I guess.

Colter DeVries:10:35

If equipment starts falling apart. Like a ranch starving your cow into profitability.

Megan Sheely:10:40

Yeah, yep, but you can only do that for so long before it really would negatively impact value. And I mean that’s just part of the process when we’re interviewing the manager or the CFO. It’s just getting to the bottom of what’s included in those numbers. And thankfully, one of our appraisers on our team he’s a accredited rural appraiser, he’s a partner here and he’s also a CPA with a business evaluation designation, so he has a really unique skill set that allows us to really dive deep into those financials and understand the numbers and where they’re coming from. So it really gives us a good perspective and a good base to rely on him when we’re digging deep into some of those numbers.

Colter DeVries:11:31

We bring up something that came to mind a few times lately. In particular yesterday we were talking about appraisals and buyer sellers the neighboring farmer with five cents five cents of opinion on the matter. It to me as a broker, it is very important to work with ARAs, accredited rural appraisers through the ASFMRA, because there’s a form of accountability there. You guys hold each other accountable to higher standards than just the state licensing for appraisers, because we have plenty of appraisers who have a license but not all belong to ASFMRA. And I was. Oh, four months ago. Five months ago one of my clients brought me a contract. He had the neighboring place under contract 2.5 million and he said I don’t have the money but I have to get this place. You have to figure out, help me figure out how to fund this. I have the contract. Here’s the appraisal should be a straightforward deal. I’m willing to pay 4% on money, help me get this funded. And I looked at the appraisal and it was cherry-picked comps to meet the number and it was a joke. And I was like no, mr Smith, you’re going to make me look fraudulent by promoting this. This is a bad appraisal. This is a guy who you gave him the number and he went out and found the comps and the adjustments to make for 10,000. He charged $10,000, by the way, for a 2.5 million dollar appraisal. That should tell you something right away. And I think we’ve seen more. I’ve heard more about that finding the comps and adjustments to meet the number lately. What have you seen? What can you speak to that? And I mean probably that manipulation is probably easier to do in these specialized, limited niche assets. I would think.

Megan Sheely:13:53

Yeah, something appraisers need to be really careful about, and there certainly are appraisers out there who give a bad name to the profession as a whole and that there’s this impression out there that you can just pay for whatever number you want the appraiser to come up with. But, like you said, if you hire an ethical appraiser that’s being held to a high standard by a society, by something like ASFMRA, and they do a quality job, then the number you’re going to get is a reliable, market-based analysis. And I don’t know what the solution is to that, but if, for example, if Crown Appraisals, if we started operating like that, our opinion is that at some point we would be sued out of business so fast that it’s not even worth considering that as part of our business plan. So we stand by our numbers being highly reputable and well-supported by market evidence and even if that means losing some jobs where somebody thinks that they can come in and tell us what number it’s going to go on, it’s just not worth it in our operation.

Colter DeVries:15:14

Tell me about taking the stand. Do you love going to court and battling it out with the attorneys?

Megan Sheely:15:20

Well, thankfully, I’ve only had to do it a handful of times, but you know it’s always a lot of anxiety leading up to it. But then, once you’re up there and you if you did a quality job up front that it’s never as scary when you’re up there as you as it seems like when it’s this monster. You’re just waiting for Like, and then you get it over with and it wasn’t as bad as you expected and it’s always good experience and there’s always something you can learn from it too. Like oh, I could explain this better, I could support this better. So, even if it’s painful, it makes us better appraisers, I think.

Colter DeVries:15:59

Now Crown appraisals out of Fargo. You said cotton gin. I don’t know farming. I would assume there’s not a lot of cotton in North Dakota. So you guys must take on cases across the United States.

Megan Sheely:16:14

Yep, so. So a majority of our work is in the Midwest, but we have projects all over the US. Our appraisers hold licenses in I don’t know how many states across the team and then we can get temporary state licenses on an as needed basis. But, like I said, most of our work is in Midwest. But last year we had projects in Alabama, virginia, washington, new Mexico, texas. So I mean coast to coast, border to border. If it’s in agribusiness, we’ll be able to take care of it.

Colter DeVries:16:50

So why do people call you and maybe not someone else? They’ve Googled that came up ranking on the search results.

Megan Sheely:17:00

Sure. So what sets Crown Appraisals apart is that we have training and designations in not only real estate. We’re all certified general appraisers. We all either have or are working on getting our accredited rural appraisal appraiser designations. We also have training and some designations and machinery equipment. And then I mentioned our appraiser on staff, who has this CPA and a business valuation designation. So by having all three disciplines within appraisal it really allows us to get a well-rounded approach to appraising these complex, multifaceted facilities that have all three have real estate, machine equipment and they’re going concerned piece to it. The reasons people call us can vary a lot. A majority of our work is for mergers and acquisitions. So either the buyer or the seller will call us when they are looking at considering a deal as part of like where should we start? Negotiations will come in to set a value there. Sometimes it’s after the after the sale, so the buyer will call us to appraise it for their purchase price allocation, for their books and filings and different things. That’s not uncommon. And then we do a lot of finance projects. So if somebody is buying a facility, building a new facility, expanding a facility, the bank might call us for an appraisal. But then we get into other things like we do a lot of real estate appeal work for both the county or the property owner, depending on the situation Litigation.

Colter DeVries:18:51

Eminent domain.

Megan Sheely:18:53

Some eminent domain, just all kinds of reasons Carbon pipelines and transmission lines.

Colter DeVries:19:01

I don’t know if we’ve gotten into carbon pipelines.

Megan Sheely:19:03

We have done some power line work and a big flood control project around Fargo and Warhead, but most of our work is mergers and acquisitions and financing.

Colter DeVries:19:16

So you must be working then. I know you’re not going to give me any hint otherwise, but that tells me that you are working for the big co-ops. Those co-ops just keep getting bigger Mergers and acquisitions and people think that they’re like these Granger movement. People think that they’re like oh, it’s a co-op, it’s great, it’s one share, one vote. Aren’t we all like this happy little commune? No, these are Fortune 100 companies, these are big businesses and they’re your client, aren’t they?

Megan Sheely:19:50

Yeah, we do a fair amount of work for bigger companies, yes, but that consolidation is a lot of what has made I mean, the whole thing you’re talking about with how much agribusiness has changed. Like these are huge companies. It’s our opinion that that continues to drive consolidation because it’s not just my hometown, morton, north Dakota has its own co-op and the guy who manages it is just handling that elevator. Like that doesn’t exist very much anymore. There are still some single location co-ops, but I mean now that it’s big business it can be dozens of facilities, it’s grain, it’s fertilizer, it’s feed seed, it’s everything and there just aren’t that many people out there that have the capacity to manage something like that. So you get two competing co-ops and it’s hard to get these high caliber people to move to the middle of nowhere North Dakota to manage these co-ops. So that might be the deciding factor on why co-ops consider a merger. There’s all kinds of things like that at play with what’s driving.

Colter DeVries:21:03

They already have the overheads in place. That incremental, marginal expansion and maybe it’s not marginal when you absorb another very large co-op, but it’s incremental growth and they’ve already got the systems in place. I see that I think at CHS they are expanding to Brazil and I know that they have had terminals in the Ukraine. I want to I don’t know if someone needs to call me out, fact check me. I want to say they pulled out of the Ukraine just recently due to what’s going on. But, man, how do you value a terminal in the Ukraine right now?

Megan Sheely:21:44

Good question. We haven’t been asked to do that yet, but I mean there can always be a first time for everything, right, but I mean any facility, whether it’s in Ukraine or it’s in the Gulf, or it’s in the PNW, like it, has its own set of challenges that need to be considered from a valuation perspective, and that’s kind of the story that we try to get to when we’re digging into our analysis.

Colter DeVries:22:10

What do you get out of ASF?

Megan Sheely:22:12


Colter DeVries:22:12

RA, I met you in Nashville, had a great time, and I just like to show up to the society. Those events hang around smart people like you, keep my mouth shut and then just benefit by association. Just say nothing, absorb everything and just hang out with smart people. What do you get out of it?

Megan Sheely:22:36

That’s a really good way to put it. I mean, the education is great. From an appraiser’s perspective, the appraisal education that we get at ASF and RA is second to none, especially if you’re doing anything rural farmland, farm headquarters, agri-business, it’s probably even rural, residential. It’s probably great. But like you said, more importantly, the networking is by far the most valuable thing that you can get out of the society. For example, as appraisers we work really hard to develop our network within the society of other appraisers so that when we run into a challenge there is somebody within the organization that has seen it before and that we can call and have them walk us through possible solutions or ideas or brainstorming. And our phone line is always open for a conversation like that with another society member as well. So just having your network to rely upon is invaluable and the society offers a great way to develop that for your business.

Colter DeVries:23:50

Well, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and give a little pushback on ARAs, afms, accredited farm managers, and AACs accredited agricultural consultant. So I had on Fred Hepler and we all know and love Fred right Big time consultant, long-standing active member in ASFMRA, and he was telling about how these projects he could take on. He’d be in Iowa, he’d get a call Big Orchard in California or Tomatoes, whatever it was, consult on that, go do something in Japan, go do something in Saudi Arabia. And that’s granted, it’s consulting, but it is related to appraising, right, you still have to understand the underlying assets value. And a caller called me up to express his frustration. He’s like what kind of bullshit is this? If I’m in Iowa and I need someone to value my dairy or my fog facility in Iowa, I don’t want a consultant coming out from California who’s familiar with the Central Valley crops in that industry, like I don’t want to pay that guy $400 an hour to then come sub it out in Iowa. And what’s your response to that?

Megan Sheely:25:19

I guess everybody has a different way of going about it and what they. I mean it depends what you’re looking at, right. If it’s farmland, like, you have to understand the ins and outs of that really local market. If it’s a grain elevator, like, what’s the market for that facility? Is it just the local co-ops or just the local farmers, or is it something where you’ve got like the ABCD companies of the world that would consider it? So I think that’s a lot of times the basis of where you can go geographically and what markets you can look at.

Colter DeVries:25:58

Well, that grain elevator, I guess we’re going to get specific now coming up with comps and sales and the capitalization method, which I’m not the appraiser. I just have my five cents about your work when it hangs up my deal Okay.

Megan Sheely:26:18

They don’t take it on me. I’ve never hung up your deals, Coulter.

Colter DeVries:26:22

Is it replicable? Is it repeatable? Right, isn’t that a test? And like I think you could compare a grain elevator in Montana, even though the service area is usually 120 miles, the only market for 100 miles, for sure, in a lot of places. And then you get to your area and it’s the only market for 30 miles or 15. And in Iowa it’s like eight miles.

Megan Sheely:26:50

So you’re asking, like where you would look for comps for something like that.

Colter DeVries:26:55

I’m saying you could be an appraiser of grain elevators in Iowa and probably still have an adequate understanding of grain elevators in Montana. Right, yeah, and then you could value it on that market area, I would think.

Megan Sheely:27:13

Yeah. So I mean in a perfect world of course you would have a sale of a grain elevator an hour down the road that’s similar in size and operation and capacities and everything else. But I mean that you can imagine how often that happens where you have a sale that good. So you just have to understand what impacts that area specifically with how that facility operates. Are they selling to the river? Are they selling to ethanol and crush plants nearby? Are they shipping it out to the PNW? And that plays an important factor into like what kind of comparable sales you’re using, how you’re looking at it as far as who the market is for a facility like that. Is it something where it’s an old elevator and it’s getting too expensive to man and too expensive to ensure and the best market for it would be selling it to a local farmer and just discontinuing commercial operation? Then you’re probably looking at like more tight local comparable sales of farm headquarters or whatever. But if it’s something where these big companies from all of these big ABCD companies are looking at it, you probably can use elevator sales scattered all over the place because they’re looking at all of those as part of their network of facilities.

Colter DeVries:28:40

What do you get out of being an appraiser?

Megan Sheely:28:43

I guess for our role specifically like, it’s just super gratifying to be a part of the process when a company is going through merger or an acquisition, like, for example, I appraised a little mom and pop feed mill in South Dakota a couple years ago and I showed up at 8am. Their house was located right on the same site and we met at their kitchen table and they I will never forget it they offered me a spam and tomato sandwich if I wanted to have a sandwich with them for breakfast. I had already had breakfast but I still regret not trying it but we sat down and just talked about the history of their facility and what it meant to them and how they would like to sell it to retire. Well, I called them back a couple of times over the years and finally I called them back last year and they had sold the facility and it was just like everything just worked out perfectly and he was super thankful for the role that we played in giving him the numbers and analysis that he could use to start negotiations with his buyer. That was probably the most gratifying project I’ve ever had, because I just know that I helped them professionally and personally just come to a solution. So situations like that just really, really stick with you and make it all worth it. Despite all of the work and head scratching and market research that goes into it, it’s just, it’s really fun.

Colter DeVries:30:20

Knowing that you played an integral role added tremendous value to someone’s life. They have their entire legacy wrapped up in that mill. It provided their family a life for two generations probably, and their entire wealth was probably in that elevator mill. And knowing that you helped them move probably the biggest event of their life you added value to that. That’s got to be immensely gratifying.


Yep yeah, that one will.

Colter DeVries:30:59

The feelings you have around helping someone to that level has just got to be very rewarding.

Megan Sheely:31:05

Yep, I’ll remember that one forever. It was just a perfect scenario for everybody.

Colter DeVries:31:10

Why do you love sugar projects?

Megan Sheely:31:14

Well, like I said earlier, I grew up on a sugar beet farm and growing up my dad was super involved in our, the board of directors for our local sugar co-op. So I grew up like our family vacation every year was going to the big sweetener symposium and going to these beautiful places and seeing all the growers from across the country, and that was just really fun. Well, now that I do what I do professionally, a lot of our we occasionally get the opportunity to appraise sugar beet factories, sugar cane crush mills and sugar refineries, and so in the summers I attend the sugar meetings that I used to go to growing up, so I’ll see the same people that I’ve known for my whole life and they’re like, well, weren’t you just here and you were like this tall, and now you’re here passing out business cards. So that’s super fun. And then when we get the opportunity to appraise those facilities, I think just because I grew up on the sugar beet farm and I was involved as kind of like an advocate for the sugar beet industry, it kind of gives me a unique perspective and a deep understanding of how the sugar industry works and sugar policy and how it’s all very important as it pertains to like valuation. So anytime we get involved in sugar it’s just super fun because it just feels like I mean it feels like family kind of that sounds really corny, but it’s just. It’s a small industry, everybody knows everybody. So when I get the opportunity to help out anything involved in sugar it’s just really gratifying.

Colter DeVries:32:56

Well, absolutely those are. Those are your people, that’s your squad. You all share the same struggles and maybe even have a lot of the same legacy. I don’t know about your area, but around here the sugar farmers are still largely white Russians, Volga Germans, so Russian born Germans, who immigrated here when the Tsar was going to force them to fight on behalf of the Russian Empire. First, that was the first wave of white Russian immigrants here. They became sugar beaters in Montana and Windsor Colorado is another big area and then, when the Bolshevik revolution happened, their land in the Volga was going to be seized. So we we have a huge German heritage community. I don’t know about you guys do, but you have a lot in common. You’re cooking. A lot of these families came from the same valley in Russia, Siberia. They, they, they fled the same struggles and they still have those stories and those traditions. How about up there? Is it white Russians?

Megan Sheely:34:12

A lot of Scandinavians and Germans but yeah, it’s a similar story. It’s very generational. People are very proud of their generations of family being involved in the sugar business and continuing to be shareholders with whatever co-op they’re associated with. Yeah, it’s super important. It’s super important where we’re at in the Red River Valley of North Dakota, Minnesota. If the sugar beet farmers are doing well, everybody does well, essentially.

Colter DeVries:34:46

Well, that is North Dakota, Minnesota to a T, the Lutheran Scandinavians they do. The co-ops, they brought communism in the form of co-ops, farmers Union, that’s totally the Scandinavian communal thing that has lasted generations? Absolutely that. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, the cliche stereotype that’s unique to your area for sure. My maternal grandmother was born in America, so first-generation American. Her family fled the Bolsheviks, the communists Part of the reason why I’m just it’s in my blood to hate communists. But when they came over the Germans, they had nothing. They would put three families in a dirt floor cabin and hoe beets. Then they’d get each family a little piece of land along the way and they’d keep trying to grow from there. Well, my grandmother was one of 13 and literally dirt-poored Germans, because they’re no floor, they’re dirt floors. As one of 13,. The old joke is that after child number nine her mother quit going in to deliver the children. She’d just squat in the field, deliver the child there and continue hoeing beets.

Megan Sheely:36:25

That paints quite a picture.

Colter DeVries:36:30

Actually, one year for Mother’s Day, I thought I was going to be all trendy and hipster and make my grandmother a nice meal, and my mom. I bought some lamb. Lamb is a delicacy. I was like, okay, I’m going to make lamb sliders with some form of hipster crumble white cheese or something. Yeah, some form of arugula and white cheese. I don’t know something fancier than American craft cheese, craft singles. I made these sliders and my grandma took the first bite. Her eyes just got huge and she spit it out in front of me and she was really embarrassed about that. She ran off crying. When she came back she said I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you like that. I appreciate your efforts here, your consideration, but when I was a kid we were so poor that neighboring ranchers would give us mutton. All I ate was mutton as a kid. To this day I can’t eat sheep. I didn’t know that. Those are the kinds of things.

Megan Sheely:37:56

It’s like how do you get your grandparents to tell those stories? Absolutely, because that’s what it’ll just be lost.

Colter DeVries:38:05

Yeah, that’s one of the beauties of agriculture is you have a lot of legacy and heritage coming down from those generations. As you mentioned your sugar beater network.

Megan Sheely:38:21

Yeah, for sure. I think that’s just agriculture as a whole. Everybody’s for the most part very proud of where they came from and proud to carry that on, Even though I’m not on our family farm or very involved in that, just to be involved in agriculture it just means a lot to me.

Colter DeVries:38:46

All right, I see. Can you tell me when you get into these M&A deals, do your clients ever ask you to help them market their facilities?

Megan Sheely:38:58

Just because of the kind of unique position we have in the industry, where we’re working with clients that are considering sales or mergers and then we also have clients that are looking at how to grow their companies, we occasionally have the opportunity to kind of connect the dots and put buyers in contact with sellers or vice versa. Now, we always have to be super careful with that, to not to always be super respectful of confidentiality, and we certainly aren’t brokers. But it’s really a fun part of the business to occasionally kind of play matchmaker and help facilitate a connection and bring our network together to see what kind of opportunities we can create for our clients.

Colter DeVries:39:43

Like farmers only, but on a more commercialized level. What are you looking forward to within the farm finance and appraisal industry?

Megan Sheely:39:53

You know, going forward, I think there’s going to continue to be. I mean, it’s no question there’s going to continue to be challenges and ups and downs within our industry, but every time one of those challenges or hurdles comes about, there’s going to be new ideas and innovations sparked out of that. So I think one of the most fun parts about our role within the industry as crown appraisals is that we are on the inside track when our clients are looking at those different ideas and opportunities. So I’m just super excited to continue to learn and understand about those innovations that are on the forefront and help our customers identify the value that’s associated with those opportunities.

Colter DeVries:40:35

Well, I did before we go. I did want to say I was talking to Andy Ron Montana land source. Often he’s a co-host, he’s the outgoing president of Montana’s chapter of ASFMRA and I mentioned that you were coming up on the podcast and he said that’s very impressive that you are an ARA at 27, I believe, and so he was. He sends his kudos. He thought that that was very impressive, what you have accomplished.

Megan Sheely:41:06

Wow Well, thank you.

Colter DeVries:41:09

Yeah, and maybe it. Maybe other young professionals can reach out to you for questions about how you got your start and what it takes to become an appraiser.

Megan Sheely:41:22

Yeah, definitely happy to serve as a resource, Whether it be within the appraisal industry or agribusiness as a whole. Like would love to visit with anybody interested in talking.

Colter DeVries:41:34

Well, thanks for coming on the podcast. It’s been enjoyable.

Megan Sheely:41:38

Yeah, thanks, Colter.

Colter DeVries:41:39

They warm in Fargo you as well.

Megan Sheely:41:43

Enjoy the rest of winter.

Colter DeVries:41:45

And thanks everyone for tuning into the Ranch Investor podcast. We at Ranch Investor are very interested in hearing your thoughts, your opinion, your wants, desires, hopes and dreams everything on ranch syndications, ranch investment, ranch real estate syndications and DPP’s direct participation programs. Please reach out.


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