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
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
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
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
The number of farms in the United States in 2013 was estimated at 2.10 million, down 7 thousand farms from 2012. Total land in farms, at 914 million acres, decreased 360 thousand acres from 2012. The average farm size in 2013 was 435 acres, up 2 acres from the previous year.
From what I am hearing most end-users are about 65-75% covered through July but have next to nothing done for August. Obviously everybody is hoping imports will help resolve the situation, but no one is clearly certain about how this game will end.
Soybean traders are digesting the fact the US planting pace is now AHEAD of our traditional average. The USDA released data yesterday showing that 59% of the crop is now planted vs. 41% last year and 56% on average. In addition 25% of the crop is now "emerged" vs....More
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
Bears continue to feel the pain and side-effects of Injuries sustained by the sudden and unexpected jerking of the markets higher. I continue to monitor both the NOV14 and NOV15 soybean contracts in hopes of making another round of sales and further reducing downside risk and exposure....More
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
Agriculture stories you should read today offer you a chance to comment to the EPA and learn more about corn rootworm resistance and sign up for succession planning workshops. They also remind growers that while planting, insecticide dust can impact bees, and that sometimes the rock that looks like a football on the surface is so large all you can do is bury it again....More
Approximately 85% of agricultural businesses have no estate or transition plan in place. One of the most helpful resources a producer can draw upon in this challenging task is their agricultural lender....More
A farmer who talked to me recently about the financial challenges many farmers face got me thinking about the English proverb “Smooth seas never made a skillful sailor.” He shared his strategy that has helped him the most – to be successful and to have the confidence he has today – wasn’t the years with good prices or bumper crops, but the challenging, uncertain years....More
At a recent seminar, panelists concluded that there is no cookie-cutter template for farm transition, and that each plan must be customized to meet the needs of the generations, partners and stakeholders involved. Family business meetings need to be held off-site with agendas and minutes, creating a paper trail as a means of communication for all parties....More
Interest rates, land values and cash flow are top of mind topics in the agricultural world. Expect ag lenders to financially shock test your cash flow statement for a 1%, 2% and 3% rise in variable interest rates. Lenders will be much more conservative now when lending against land values particularly in the red-hot land markets of the Midwest and the upper Midwest. Expect to invest more equity and cash in your growth and expansion projects....More
One major questions people have asked David Kohl this winter is whether the “blah” economic indicators, domestically and globally, are the result of bad weather. Here he examine some of the lead and lag economic indicators to ascertain any apparent trends....More
To the younger generation desiring to farm or be involved in agribusiness, a business plan is critical. Also, have your risk management plan, i.e. marketing options, hedging, contracts and/or crop insurance, linked to basic assumptions and scenario testing of cash flow outcomes. Do not assume the operation will be yours at the passing of the senior generation....More
National Ag Week is being celebrated March 23-30 all across the United States, as well as in Minnesota, with Tuesday, March 25, being designated National Ag Day. As we celebrate National Ag Week, it is a good time to reflect on all the traditions and advancements that help make the U.S. agriculture industry second to none! Following are some interesting statistics about today’s agriculture industry....More
After analyzing a data summary of farmers in low, middle and high income brackets, David Kohl shares some core perspectives on asset turnover, coverage ratio and debt servicing ability and profit margins in agriculture....More
Next in our Q+A series, we asked farmers what practices they've used that improved return on investment. From split nitrogen applications to variable rate and grid sampling to implementing auto-steer, farmers in Minnesota, Ohio and Iowa talk about what practices have offered them a better ROI....More
Commodity Classic in San Antonio this year was full of great events, learning sessions and new products at the trade show, not to mention warmth and sunshine! More than 7,300 farmers attended the annual convention and took in sessions about increasing yield, weed management, farm transition, marketing mistakes, using the cloud, getting more out of seed and cover crops, among others.
David Kohl's Road Warrior travels took him to the National Agricultural Bankers Conference, where he moderated sessions, and also took some in. He noted some themes at the conference, including debt concentration among farmers, new bankers and farmers as well as cycles in agriculture....More
The rate of inflation in recent years has been estimated to be between 5% and 10% for agriculture. The increasing cost of inputs, equipment, and farmland has this sector in an inflationary mode. The inflation rate for producers is much higher than the reported rate, and could indicate negative margins in the making, particularly if commodity prices continue to decline....More
David Kohl recently attended a meeting in Canada, where he took in Canadian agriculture. He noticed that seed technologies have greatly impacted the area, producers forward-priced less than 25% of this years crop and Canadian farmers feel their ag economy lags the U.S. by a couple years....More