Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke to farmers this week at Commodity Classic. He thanked them for their hard work, extended the deadline for base acre and yield changes, asked for their help in passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade promotion and addressed GMOs....More
By definition, working capital is current assets, which can be turned to cash in one year or less, minus current liabilities due within one year. Working capital measures financial liquidity, which is the ability to sell assets without disrupting normal business operations....More
Profit margins for crop production this year are the tightest that they have been for several years, which makes 2015 crop insurance decisions extremely important. Many farm operators are looking for ways to reduce their crop operating expenses for 2015; however, cutting back on crop insurance coverage may not be a wise decision....More
In the 5 ag stories to read this week, get tips for monitoring stored corn and soybeans. Read the latest Farms and Land in Farms report from USDA, showing a decline in farms and farm acres. Take a look at options for crop insurance this year, and read about healthy soil improving yield. Finally, read a farmers point of view on what farmers know when it comes to growing food.
There are certain characteristics of borrowers who will struggle at the end of the agricultural commodity super cycle. This includes farmers who won cash-rent lotteries during the upswing, as well as farmers who have high equity but marginal profits. Young ag professionals and rural America will also feel the pinch of the commodity downturn....More
Profit margins for crop production this year are the tightest that they have been for several years, which makes the 2015 crop insurance decisions even more critical. Producers have several crop insurance policy options to choose from, including yield protection (YP) policies and revenue protection (RP and RPE) policies, as well as several other group insurance policy options....More
December corn futures ended the week at about $4.18 per bushel, up about a nickel and enough to add a little strength to the price discovery level for crop insurance purposes. And for farmers worried that prices could tank well under $4, it may be a sign to forward contract a few acres, says Dan O’Brien, Kansas State University ag economist....More
The deadline to finalize decisions on base acre reallocation and updating payment yields at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices is Feb 27. The deadline for producers to complete the farm program choice on each farm unit, and potentially on each eligible crop, is March 31....More
In the coming years, there will be ag borrowers who will struggle. Three specific groups to watch are those businesses that utilized too much of their profits and working capital to purchase land, those who acquired machinery to reduce income taxes and those with high debt levels....More
With smaller net farm incomes, farmers have less money to spend to grow their corn and soybeans. To get through it, experts suggest a strategy: short-term investments, crop insurance, accurate records, cost of production and more....More
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
It appears we are definitely likely to see much tighter profit margins in corn and soybean production in 2015 and beyond, as compared to profit levels in recent years. These tighter margins can be manageable for farm operators that pay attention to farm operating expenses, land costs, overhead costs, etc., and have a good handle on what their breakeven market price levels are....More
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
Following the Jan.12 USDA Crop Production and Grain Stocks reports, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the story in corn and soybean markets for the foreseeable future will be the ongoing pace of consumption....More
In the five agriculture stories to read this week, read how higher-protein soybeans could fetch a premium and use an online simulator to calculate crop insurance premiums. Check out some FAQs on base acre reallocation in the farm bill and see where land values are estimated to be in 2015. Finally, watch Bill Gates talk about his position on GMOs. It may enlighten you.
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
Energy costs may not be your largest expense on the farm, but it's one that you can jump in on and make a fairly large impact without changing productivity, says Mark Hanna, Extension ag engineer at Iowa State University. He offers ideas for conserving fuel, including reduced tillage passes, shifting up, front-wheel assist and hybrid choice and drying....More
Short-dated new crop options (SDNC), available since mid-2012 from the CME Group, Chicago, Ill., provide a short-term alternative for trading new-crop corn and soybeans as well as hard red winter wheat and soft red winter wheat. CME reports that more than 2.5 million SDNC contracts have been used....More
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
In 2015, crop revenues are likely to be significantly reduced compared to revenue levels in recent years. 2015 crop input costs for seed, fertilizer, and chemicals are likely to be similar to 2014 levels, and land rental rates will likely remain fairly high, which adds more risk to 2015 crop production....More
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
The five agriculture stories to read this week include farm revenue outlook for 2015, as well as long-term agricultural projections. Read about a farmer who is building soil organic carbon to grow better crops, and a company that's got a robot to do your nitrogen sidedressing. Finally, for some entertainment, take a fresh breath of farm air with the Peterson Farm Bros.
Corn and soybean prices are higher today than they were in early October. However, despite an impressive “dead cat” bounce, prices remain below production costs. Marketing plans are difficult to write when prices are below costs, but write one we must. Here are my pre-harvest marketing plans for 2015....More
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