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
Those currently involved in doing cash flow planning may wonder what amount, if any, can be included in a cash flow projection for estimated farm program payments from the 2014 corn and soybean crop, and possibly for the 2015 crop year. There are many variables that factor in to the calculation of potential farm program payments; however, by knowing a few of the basics, a person can make a reasonable estimate of potential payments for 2014, as well as possibly for 2015....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.
In December, Editor Kurt Lawton wrote a column called "Why climate deniers?" In his editorial, he wondered why farmers are denying that climate change is occurring. Lawton cited several pieces pointing to the change, and received many responses from valued readers expressing their thoughts on the climate change issue. Read their letters here!...More
The EPA is registering a new insecticide, flupyradifurone, that is safer for bees. It is expected to be an alternative to more toxic products including certain pyrethroid, neonicotinoid, organophosphate and avermectin insecticides....More
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
In this week's 5 ag stories to read, you'll find tips for managing soybean aphid in 2015. There is also a breakdown of the ARC farm bill program when choosing the individual or county option. Read about the biodiesel market, and hear about genetic engineering benefits. Finally, enjoy a list of signs that you grew up on a farm.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
2015 is setting up to be another interesting year in the agriculture industry, following a fairly profitable year in 2014 for many livestock producers, but a far less profitable year for most crop producers in the upper Midwest. 2015 will bring farm program sign up, as well as continued uncertainty about renewable fuels. There are also crop production costs to consider, and the hope that land values continue to moderate....More
Ask about the qualities of Chris Novak, the National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) new chief executive officer, and common themes quickly become apparent. Members of the NCGA selection committee, which picked Novak to succeed retiring CEO Rick Tolman, call Novak “strategic.” John Johnson, National Pork Board acting CEO, who worked under Novak there, calls him “a strategic thinker par excellence.”...More
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
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
Five agriculture stories to read this week offer 2015 crop budgets and insight into falling gas prices. Read about lower land values, and see what's on Xpert Ed Usset's corn and soybean marketing wish list this Christmas. For some fun, check out amazing RC tractors at work.
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
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