More in Issues

  • Jul 11, 2014
    blog

    Is it time to lock in propane prices? 4

    I continue to field calls from farmers asking about locking in propane prices. I think this is​ a​ very smart play and something I have definitely been recommending for the past couple of weeks, at least on ​a ​significant portion of your fall and winter needs. Personally, I think securing 70% of your estimated needs makes a lot of sense at these levels. ​ I am NOT saying we don't have the propane to meet our needs here in the US, because we do....More
  • Jul 11, 2014
    video
    Corn and Soybean Digest

    Grain farmers: Know your cost of production 2

    David Kohl, professor emeritus, Virginia Tech University, spoke that the Wyffels Hybrids Corn Strategies Conference at Wild Rose Farm, Inc., near Galesburg, Ill. Kohl stressed the importance of grain and livestock farmers knowing their cost of production in order to be successful....More
  • Jul 8, 2014
    blog

    Back to the Future, Part 1: Farm economy in 1980s vs. 2010s 1

    One question during a recent forum discussion with ag lenders put me and other professors in the Back to the Future time machine to discuss the similarities and differences in the farm economy now compared to the 1980s....More
  • Jul 1, 2014
    blog

    Economic halftime report 1

    Globally, the economic slowdown of emerging nations along with unrest in Ukraine, and now Iraq, bears watching. Remember, spikes in oil prices have been a major contributor to every recession since 1969. Overall, both the domestic and global economies are muddling along, uninspired by central bank stimulus both here in United States and abroad....More
  • Jun 30, 2014
    blog

    Are farm land values headed for a downturn? 1

    The moderation in commodity prices, along with the potential for increases in ag real estate interest rates, will likely continue to put downward pressure on land values. Some farm management analysts have suggested that a combination of these factors could result in average land values dropping by as much as one-third from the highest levels in the next few years....More
  • Jun 27, 2014
    blog

    Judgment, farm experience impact your bottom line 1

    Technology is a great tool, but don’t discount your judgment. When and whether to enter a wet field, identifying broken tile, how you control spray drift, which surfactant to use, when to use glyphosate and at what levels, which stage of cereal rye is easiest to kill it off (avoid the tillering stage)…you get the idea. These judgment calls, based on your experience, are second nature....More
  • Jun 24, 2014
    blog

    Complacency: The Silent Killer 2

    Complacency can be the silent business killer. Peer analysis and benchmarking can be the catalysts that motivate managers to focus on aspects of the business that are done well, and then step outside with the advisory teams and other leading businesses to break into new territory, taking the business to a new level....More
  • Jun 17, 2014
    blog

    Crucial farm transition management conversations: In-laws joining farm operation 1

    How can a son-in-law or daughter-in-law bring up the conversation about joining the farm operation or possible ownership? Often the younger generation family members are intimidated particularly if they have provided labor for the business for quite a while. What will frequently occur is that time will slip by and months become years without these important questions being asked and answered, which often ends up being disastrous to all generations involved....More
  • Jun 16, 2014
    blog

    Dairy industry facts 1

    For decades in Minnesota, June has been known as Dairy Month. Here are some interesting facts and figures about the Dairy industry....More
  • Jun 10, 2014
    blog

    Working capital: The shock absorber 2

    While 33% working capital to revenue is appropriate for cash grain and market livestock businesses because of significant inventory, is this level of working capital too aggressive for dairies, since milk inventory is picked up every day or every other day?...More
  • Jun 3, 2014
    blog

    China to overtake the U.S. economy 2

    China is a rising economic power and with that status it will become a bigger partner in world economic trade. It will require China to step up to the plate in environmental and social issues and they will be criticized by neighboring countries that are sometimes threatened, particularly in that region of the world....More
  • May 27, 2014
    blog

    Economic indicators and confusing signals 2

    The U.S. economy is showing mixed signals. The lead economic index (LEI) which foretells the future of the economy has been increasing in recent months, most recently up 0.4%, which is bullish for the economy. Sixty percent of the factors that make up the LEI are exhibiting positive signs....More
  • May 20, 2014
    blog

    Lessons learned from the student athlete 2

    The hour and a half flight to Roanoke seemed like ten minutes as the discussion flowed from investment strategies, to the state of the U.S. and global economy, to federal debt. To my delight, I discovered the head coach actually teaches political science at Whitewater and was interested in my thoughts not only on economics, but also geopolitical trends, with his students actually listening. In discussions with key players, they indicated that the coach not only taught them basketball, but much about life as well....More
  • May 13, 2014
    blog

    Q&A: Introducing new family members to the farming operation 2

    While I was traveling in Canada conducting seminars, my standard operating procedure was to take only written questions from the participants. This technique works like a charm, since most questions are well thought out. The following question centered on transition management....More
  • May 8, 2014
    Commentary

    Farmland a great documentary 3

    Last night I was fortunate to attend a private screening in Minneapolis of the new consumer-focused documentary, Farmland....More
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