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  • Nov 11, 2014
    blog

    Does the corn market's bullish USDA news have traders thinking twice?

    Seasoned traders will tell you: When a corn market fails to rally (as it did on Nov. 10) on a bullish headline, it's a market that may be headed for more downhill price action. I tend to concur....More
  • Nov 11, 2014
    blog

    Caution advised on high land rental rates 3

    Lower corn and soybean prices are causing some concern among farm operators, as they negotiate land rental rates for the 2015 crop year. Some 2015 land rental rates may be set at levels that do not offer much opportunity for profit potential from crop production in 2015, or could even result in a significant net loss to the farm operator....More
  • Nov 11, 2014
    blog

    Economic straight talk: The grain industry

    The great commodity super cycle has burned out. It lasted for a decade, two and one-half times longer than any previous super cycle boom time over the past century. The easy money has been made in the grain industry; however, top-flight managers can still earn a profit when they focus on production and operations, marketing, risk management, and, of course, carefully monitoring finances....More
  • Nov 4, 2014
    blog

    Formal education in agriculture doesn't mean success

    Too often young people attend a university for the degree rather than the education, which can be a waste of money and time. As a professor, I am not disputing the value of an education; however, some of the most motivated lifelong learners are outside a degree program and they often make very successful entrepreneurs....More
  • Oct 31, 2014
    blog

    Execute in the soybean market; reduce additional risk on the rally

    As a producer I continue to believe "best-of-practice" is to reduce additional risk on the rally. I now have 100% of our 2014 production priced and will be exclusively looking for ways to improve my basis levels or re-own existing sales in the weeks ahead....More
  • Oct 30, 2014
    blog

    More farmland in Africa?

    Corn and soybean farmers will face more price pressure once 247,100 square miles of productive African land enters production, according to a Wall Street Journal report....More
  • Oct 28, 2014
    blog

    Will corn prices increase as freezing temps approach? 2

    Corn pulled higher by soymeal spot demand/logistics as freezing temps are forecast to show up this weekend....More
  • Oct 28, 2014
    blog

    Tips for farmer-lender meetings, communication

    Recently, a farmer asked a panel I was a member of, “How often should farmers and lenders communicate during the year, particularly during the planning season?” The panel recommended having a meeting during planning season followed by a quarterly or semi-annual assessment, along with a year-end evaluation, which is imperative to determine financial success....More
  • Oct 21, 2014
    blog

    Financial measure of efficiency for farm businesses 1

    In many of my speeches I emphasize that better is better before bigger is better; that is, get efficient before you embark on growth. What is a good financial measure of efficiency for farm businesses? One of my favorites is the operating expense to revenue ratio....More
  • Oct 17, 2014
    blog

    Will weather in South American support soybean prices? 2

    Growth in supply has clearly outpaced growth in demand. It's going to take a little bit of time, but eventually I suspect the wrinkles get ironed out and prices start to stabilize (I just don't think we are there yet). Producers should remain patient, keeping all soybean hedges in place, and use any extended "geopolitical" or "weather" related rallies to reduce additional long-term risk....More
  • Oct 14, 2014
    blog

    What's the coverage ratio for your farm? 1

    One of the key financial ratios that agricultural lenders use to determine repayment ability is the term debt and lease coverage ratio. It measures the amount of debt obligations (debt service which includes principal and interest), compared to the debt servicing capacity (net income plus interest and depreciation)....More
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