More in Management

  • Jul 14, 2015
    blog

    Corn, soybean prices show strength following USDA reports

    The USDA supply and remand report released July 10 provided some fairly positive numbers for future corn and soybean prices. The report showed decreases in the projected ending stocks for corn in both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 marketing years. The report also verified the expectations for 2015 national corn and soybean yields in the U.S. to be below the record yield levels of 2014....More
  • Jul 7, 2015
    blog

    State of the U.S. ag economy: Energy, row crops, consumer sentiment

    Overall, the United States economy at halftime will grade out strong for the coasts and in the southern part of the country. Weather will of course, continue to play a large role in our overall economic state. In any scenario, however, a sense of caution is prudent in the flyover states....More
  • Jun 30, 2015
    blog

    Surviving an economic downturn in the agriculture industry

    While difficult, decisions of restraint during the super cycle of profits put producers at an advantage going into this economic downturn. Many of them forward priced with a guaranteed profit instead of waiting for possible higher profits. This looks like a smart strategy from today’s perspective....More
  • Jun 23, 2015
    blog

    Agriculture super-cycles are not the norm

    A long term trend cannot be determined by two year periods prior or post; nevertheless, adjustments in profit levels appear to be settling in. Multi-year, high profits cause margin compression as fixed and variable costs increase. This is just another example of the old saying, “high profits cure high profits.”...More
  • Jun 16, 2015
    blog

    Global trade risk, part 2: What actions can farmers take

    It is imperative in today’s world of trade risk to build up extra liquidity or working capital reserves. How much is enough depends on debt servicing requirements, and marketing and risk management plans including crop insurance....More
  • Jun 16, 2015
    blog

    Avian flu outbreaks slow, but impacts continue

    Even though the number of avian flu cases has waned in recent weeks, the economic impacts of the worst bird flu outbreak in U.S. history are not likely to disappear any time soon. The first turkey producers in central Minnesota that broke with the virus in early March have started to re-populate their barns, slightly over 90 days after their flocks were depopulated....More
  • Jun 9, 2015
    blog

    Global trade risk, part 1

    The number one risk facing agriculture is international trade, because many facets of the agriculture industry are internationally interconnected. The slowdown of emerging economies is in full gear, and the results are being observed in the re-entrenchment of prices for commodities such as grains, oil, steel and copper. The slowdown is targeted toward the flyover states, i.e. the agricultural and rural regions in the U.S....More
  • Jun 9, 2015
    blog

    Low corn, soybean prices challenge farmers

    The consistently high cash price levels for corn and soybeans from 2011-2013 made grain marketing decisions pretty easy for many producers. By contrast, grain marketing decisions in 2014 and 2015 have become much more difficult, with continued declining prices that are sometimes below breakeven levels. The current scenario for grain prices makes it more important than ever for farm operators to have a solid grain marketing plan in place, which is part of an overall farm risk management strategy....More
  • Jun 1, 2015
    blog

    Signs of storm clouds in agriculture: Operating credit, asset sales

    Storm clouds are building as American agriculture, specifically the grain sector, is entering phase one of the post-commodity super cycle downturn. One of the first signs of a downturn is buildup of machinery and equipment inventory on dealership lots. Another: access to short-term operating credit will become an issue as some producers fail to meet existing loan covenants....More
  • May 26, 2015
    blog

    Are ag outlooks from 2010 on track in 2015?

    If you look back five years, what would you have said then compared to where we are today? Let’s dial the time machine back to 2010 and examine some of the hits and misses in economic projections....More
  • May 22, 2015
    video
    Corn+Soybean Digest

    AFS Connect 2.0 data usage and management 2

    Joe Michaels, senior director, specialty business for Case IH, talks about the AFS Connect data system and how it can help farmers monitor field operations, as well as mine data for future uses and best practices. From messaging via monitor to monitoring fleets and equipment operation, the AFS Connect system helps you measure field activity so you can improve overall operations....More
  • May 19, 2015
    blog

    10 perspectives on ag business from a college student

    I gave a recent conference attendee an assignment to complete during his nearly two hour drive home that evening. His assignment was to come up with 10 perspectives from my speech and give them to mom to turn in when she returned the next morning. And he did. From moderation in family living cost to knowing your bottom line, that young college student picked up my tips for success....More
  • May 12, 2015
    blog

    Potential changes to actively engaged rules 1

    In late March, USDA announced some proposed revisions to the actively engaged rules that are designed to further clarify some of the definitions and rules surrounding the requirement for management in a farm operation. This could potentially restrict certain individuals that currently qualify for farm program payments from potentially having future farm program payment eligibility beginning with the 2016 crop year....More
  • May 12, 2015
    blog

    Tips for working effectively with your ag lender, part 2

    Last week we talked about cash flow, sensitivity analyses and liquidity and how those matter when working with your ag lender. This week, lets go over the importance of a business plan, communications and productive assets....More
  • May 8, 2015
    video
    Corn+Soybean Digest

    Factors driving land values: Commodity prices, input costs, margins, interest rates

    Sterling Liddell, vice president, food and agribusiness research, Rabo AgriFinance, talks about what's driving land values. There are four important factors: commodity prices, input costs, margins and interest rates....More
  • Apr 29, 2015
    blog

    Your 40 chances

    We will continue to strive, as an information provider, to present you with good examples that help you make the most of your 40 chances. As Howard wrote in his book, “You’ve learned from your mistakes, but I’d guess that none of you feel you can afford to take a single year left on your string for granted.” We wholeheartedly agree....More
  • Apr 28, 2015
    blog

    Farm management best practices: Areas for concern 1

    In an environment of reduced prices and relatively high costs, the financials can quickly get out of hand if they are not analyzed and monitored. As producers look to diversify or shift enterprises, penciling out possible outcomes is critical upfront....More

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