In an environment of reduced prices and relatively high costs, the financials can quickly get out of hand if they are not analyzed and monitored. As producers look to diversify or shift enterprises, penciling out possible outcomes is critical upfront....More
The deadly H5N2 virus, or avian flu virus (bird flu), was first detected in Minnesota in early March, but is now having an ever-increasing negative economic impact on Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and other Midwestern states....More
My newsfeed on Facebook has been cluttered with stories about Chipotle going non-GMO. The fact that they're doing that is their choice. Whatever. What upsets me is that they don't share with their consumers that the majority of their ingredients aren't GMO products to begin with!...More
Best management practices are hot topics inside and outside of agriculture. Have you ever wondered how you stack up as an agriculture producer? This year’s group survey at TEPAP results exhibited three potential weaknesses given the current agricultural economy which is transition....More
This is becoming the trans-pacific year, says Sterling Liddell, vice president, food and agribusiness research, Rabo Agrifinance. "It offers a lot of opportunity to sell into those markets. This area is very important for the future of exports."...More
In my road warrior travels interacting with producers and agribusiness leaders, there is much discussion concerning oil prices and other economic variables that seem to provide a surprise around every corner. A question from one producer was, “How is oil connected to up to 80% of farm and ranch expenses and potential revenue?”...More
A “kiss of death” to businesses is bringing the younger generation into the business on a manager’s salary, but with hired employee work or skill sets. This principle is accentuated in a volatile economic climate....More
Handling employee issues in a farm business, particularly a family-run farm business, is tricky. Sometimes, a meeting is a better choice than an email. But treating all employees like employees, and not family, is a must....More
The Obama Administration and some members of Congress are currently proposing some major changes in the federal crop insurance program. At the same time, other members of Congress and agricultural leaders are stressing the need to maintain a strong crop insurance program as the centerpiece of a risk protection program for U.S. crop producers....More
There are just days left before farmers have to finalize their farm program choices in the 2014 Farm Bill. For those who still need some explanations, help, tips or further information, we've put together a collection of stories for reference. From farm program basics to cash flow planning and market prices, here is the information you need to help finalize your farm program decision.
It's up to farmers themselves to take the lead and tell their own conservation story at the grassroots level. Right now, we're letting others tell our story for us. It’s time for farmers to regain control of the public perception battle by standing up and speaking out on their conservation efforts....More
The 5 ag stories to read this week brings you the latest on proposed regulations for drones. Learn about the value of lost organic matter due to erosion, and meet farmers who are using websites to get more business. Read about canceling land rent contracts, and a positive article from The New York Times featuring a no-till farmer.
The dealine for 2015 crop insurance elections is just days away. As you finalize your choices, consider the following: what coverage is best for your farm, and look at all available options, particularly new ones from the 2014 Farm Bill....More
Education does have an impact on employment, income, and who participates in the workforce. Moving forward, the agriculture industry will be starved for talented people who can manage increased sophistication of technology and innovation on complex businesses....More
Most farm operators have been contemplating farm program choices for the new farm bill for the past 6-8 months; however, decision time has now arrived. Producers have until March 31, 2015, to complete their farm program choice at local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices....More
The 5 ag stories to read this week offer tips for prepping your planter this spring. Learn about a new test for SCN, and what Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack had to say to farmers at Commodity Classic. Get help with on-farm trials, and find out what regular words on the farm mean to non-farmers.
Grant Noland encourages farmers to always add a personal touch when communicating with their landlords. “What you are doing on the farm is information they want and need, but they also want a look inside how your family operates and what makes your family tick. A little trivia can generate a buzz and attract new opportunities.”...More
A recent Reuters news article titled “Rent walkouts point to strains in U.S. farm economy,” claims that some farmers have abandoned farmland-rental commitments. "It might be better to let it go and cut your acres back, cause if you lose $100 per acre on a farm have to make up that loss from other farms,” says Kent Thiesse, vice president of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, Minn....More
The first question I ask is, “Will the farm purchase be consistent with your business, family, and personal goals?” Too often investment decisions are made without determining their alignment with goals of other family members and partners....More
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the 2014 estimated average county yields for corn, soybeans and other crops in late February. These yields will offer a pretty good estimate of where final Ag Risk Coverage-County (ARC-CO) farm program payments are likely to end up for the 2014 crop year....More
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