More in Issues

  • Feb 3, 2015
    blog

    Do you know your cost of production?

    Many producers, including larger operations, quickly get themselves into a serious financial condition if they are complacent and fail to monitor financial records. A good CEO producer will generally have a good idea where they stand financially at any point in time....More
  • Jan 27, 2015
    blog

    Advice for teens who want to farm

    At a recent event, David Kohl offered advice to teenagers who want to farm or be in the agriculture business. Focusing on different types of education and classes, he encouraged students to take a variety of classes, focus on the good professors and to complete internships outside of their region and country....More
  • Jan 22, 2015
    blog

    Winter: Time to ponder

    Ahh the doldrums of January are upon us. Time to ponder your agronomic practices, tinker with equipment and fine-tune the business plan given the current state of commodity prices....More
  • Jan 20, 2015
    blog

    Decision making with negative margins, part 2: Returning to positive margins

    Let’s examine five-steps for returning to positive margins in your agriculture business, in no particular order. Some of these steps can be used to build efficiency in profitable businesses as well....More
  • Jan 13, 2015
    blog

    Decision making with negative margins, part 1

    The reality is setting in that some producers, particularly those in the grain sector, will experience negative margins in 2015, which is something not experienced in many years. How can a producer troubleshoot their business and work with their lender when margins are tight, or even negative?...More
  • Jan 8, 2015
    video
    Corn+Soybean Digest

    Genetic engineering benefits

    Farmers see the benefit of genetic engineering because it's made their work safer, said Don Lee, genetics professor at University of Nebraska, when he spoke to Managing Editor Susan Winsor. Lee also talked about the benefits of golden rice, as well as the naturally occurring process and the safety of the foods....More
  • Jan 6, 2015
    blog

    2015 Kickoff

    Everyone has had their fill of football bowl games, and now we are into the college and professional football playoffs, which usually provide some surprises and upsets. This is much like thinking ahead about what to expect in 2015. The following are a few of the thoughts and perspectives that you may want to consider in your planning or conversations with your business partners....More
  • Jan 6, 2015
    blog

    Market year average prices affect farm program decisions

    One of the key components for farm operators to understand as they evaluate the new farm program options is the concept of Market Year Average (MYA) price. The MYA price for a given crop year is used to calculate any potential payments for all three farm program options: Price Loss Coverage (PLC), Ag Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO), and Ag Risk Coverage-Individual (ARC-IC). The historical MYA prices are also used to determine the benchmark revenues for both the ARC-CO and ARC-IC program options....More
  • Dec 31, 2014
    blog

    Will the funds continue to place bullish bets on corn, soybeans?

    As a producer, I continue to hold out for slightly higher corn prices before pulling the trigger on additional sales. From a spec perspective, I prefer being a longer-term buyer on a deeper break. And I am sticking with the thought that higher soybean prices might be in our near-term future....More
  • Dec 29, 2014
    blog

    Why climate deniers? 17

    My science brain is just plain confused. And I can’t wrap my head around the recent farmer survey that shows 31% of 4,778 farmers surveyed believe there isn’t sufficient evidence that climate change is occurring....More
  • Dec 23, 2014
    blog

    2014 in the rearview mirror: ag economy, technology, farm management

    The year 2014 has truly been a time of transition for the agricultural industry and rural areas. While challenging, there will be more opportunities to succeed in agriculture in the next decade than the last 30 years, but there will also be more opportunities to fail. A game plan including resiliency and agility will be the themes for 2015 and beyond for those moving to a higher level of management in the industry of agriculture....More
  • Dec 16, 2014
    blog

    Strategies for managing profit in agriculture during a down cycle

    The reality has set in that grain prices, cash flow and profit margins will be modest at best. Whether this part of the cycle correction will be one, two, or even five years or more in duration, farmers and their lenders will have to manage through these economic white waters....More
  • Dec 9, 2014
    blog

    Agriculture financial management: Working capital burn rate

    If your working capital burn rate is less than one year, it would be considered high risk. Above 3.5 years is indicative of a strong second line of defense and of course, between one and 3.5 years would be considered acceptable, but not stellar. To say the least, this winter and next year will be a balancing act as farmers juggle quickly converting liquid assets to cash to keep their businesses in operation....More
  • Dec 9, 2014
    blog

    Fine tune 2015 profit margins for your farm: Land rental rates, production expenses

    The combination of lower projected corn prices and soybean prices in 2015, together with nearly steady input costs for seed, fertilizer, and chemicals, will limit estimated potential returns over direct expenses and land costs, at average crop yields. Another major variable in breakeven levels in crop production are loan payments on capital investments such as farm machinery, facilities and land purchases....More
  • Dec 2, 2014
    blog

    What happens when repayment fails?

    Throughout the country many lenders and producers dealing with the grain industry may face situations when repayment is not possible this winter and into 2015. With high cash rents and leases, along with input cost creep, there is a strong possibility that 2014 and 2015 may not cash flow and may show negative repayment capacity for many grain producers. Now what?...More
  • Nov 25, 2014
    blog

    Repayment risk in a variable economic environment

    Lessons from the past find that the stress point in business financials is repayment capacity given debt service commitments. Repayment capacity and the management factors that influence it should be front and center in many farmers’ game plans....More

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