Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced continued progress on implementing the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), which President Obama signed into law nearly six months ago on Feb. 7, 2014. The 2014 Farm Bill reforms agricultural policy, reduces the deficit, and helps grow America’s economy.
Farm operators and land owners will have several one-time choices to make in the coming months regarding their farm program participation for the 2014-2018 crop years. Since the commodity farm program choices are for five years, land owner approval and signatures will be required on all cash and share rented farm land. Some of the choices include: reallocation of crop base acres, farm program payment yields and risk programs....More
A young agricultural lender recently asked, “With tighter margins anticipated in the future, where should producers focus their energy to maintain viability of their operations?” While there is no one strategy to fit all, the following is some advice that can be applied regardless of the business cycle or business enterprise....More
Mostly dry weather prevailed in the Midwest, except for locally heavy showers in North Dakota, northern Minnesota, and the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys. Despite a July drying trend, most Midwestern corn and soybeans continued to thrive due to near- to below-normal temperatures and abundant soil moisture reserves.
We've posted several new videos covering relevant topics for farmers, including: land risk management, cost management strategies, cost of production, marketing strategy for low-priced corn and more. Check out these videos for insight and tips from industry experts including David Kohl, Matt Roberts, Mike Boehlje and Michael Langemeier.
Todd Keuthe, University of Illinois, talks about the market for farmland. "Most farmland owners see it as a long-term investment," Keuthe says. "People are willing to pay 34 times what they expect to earn."...More
It is not only today’s low interest rates, but the fact that there has been little movement in rates over almost a half a decade which is interesting. The accommodative Federal Reserve, attempting to stimulate the general economy, has, in turn, stimulated the agriculture and rural economy, putting it on steroids with extreme appreciation in farmland values and a depressed dollar, which has been very beneficial to agricultural export markets....More
This installment of “5 Agriculture stories to read” offers some help when deciding whether or not to spray fungicide. It also talks about research using an old maize gene (from oregano) to help new corn hybrids defend against pests. The USDA announced an ag investment fund for pensions and large investors, and an Extension expert offers tips for marketing corn at low prices. Finally, watch a parody about weed resistance; I think most farmers can relate!...More
As a farmer, how do you reduce risk? Ideas to accomplish that include: planting offensive and defensive hybrids and planning for multiple alternate future scenarios. Take some time to think about how you might react to reduced rail transportation, expanded GMO bans, an increase in the grain supply outside of the U.S....More
Cool, dry air overspread the northern Plains and Upper Midwest. A lack of heat stress and abundant soil moisture continued to favor Midwestern corn and soybeans, although below-normal temperatures remained a concern with respect to crop development across the northern Corn Belt.
Farmfest 2014 will feature an exciting line-up of feature forums, including candidate forums for Minnesota governor, U.S. Senate and congressional candidates from Minnesota’s first, second, sixth and seventh districts. The forums will be held August 5, 6, and 7, in the Wicks Forum Building, near the center of the show site, which is located at the Gilfillan Estate, 7 miles southeast of Redwood Falls, Minnesota....More
An interesting trend in both the 1980s and today is that late in the economic cycle, many lending institutions saw opportunity in the agriculture industry, and thus came into the field of agriculture for profits....More
Michael Langemeier, associate director, Center for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University, talks about managing farm costs. He says growers need to seriously question new machinery purchases and that cash rents should be negotiated. Those two items can help control costs when commodity prices fall below breakeven levels....More
This installment of 5 Agriculture stories to read offers tips on controlling large weeds, as well as aerial seeding cover crops. Read about prospective returns and farm revenue given lower corn prices, and learn about a genetic discovery that could lead to better soybean varieties. Finally, enjoy the latest parody hit from the Peterson Farm Bros!...More
Sam Halcomb calculates a field’s revenue-generating potential, then offers a landlord 25-33% of that for cash rent. He’s found over the years that 25-33% accurately reflects a point where he can profit from current market conditions, while capturing present market values to satisfy the landlord....More
Agriculture is becoming more and more distant, said David Kohl, professor emeritus, Virginia Tech University, when he spoke with CSD Editor Kurt Lawton at the Wyffels Hybrids Corn Strategies Conference at Wild Rose Farm, Inc., near Galesburg, Ill. “Anyone involved in the ag industry has to be an advocate; not only to other producers, but to the non-farm public,” he says....More
CSD Managing Editor Susan WInsor spoke with Mike Boehlje, distinguished professor at Purdue University, about managing land risk. Boehlje talked about buying new land and making sure farmers know the economic value. He also talked about renting land, and the adjustments to be made in leaner years. Boehlje reminds growers to NOT lock in a high price, and suggests that sometimes renting is better than buying, due to the cost....More
David Kohl spoke with CSD Editor Kurt Lawton about the farmer as a CEO, noting that profitable businesses have good people. From allocating profits to working capital and cost of production, as well as lender relationships, Kohl says that being proactive and having the right people around you is going to be critical for success....More
In visiting with producers between sessions at a recent conference, the big question was, “What if a large crop occurs next year in both hemispheres?” If that does occur, many producers who have high fixed cost structures will either continue to burn through working capital and cash, or they may be required to refinance operating losses, if their lenders approve....More
This installment of 5 Agriculture stories to read reminds growers to adhere to herbicide rotation, and offers new research about using clover as a nitrogen source for corn. There is also help for making farm bill decisions regarding yield updates, and information on GMO safety and labeling, and the consumer's willingness to pay for it. Finally, read about a farmer who lost his cell phone in a grain bin, and had it turn up in Japan....More
Are GMOs harmful? Are consumers willing to pay more at the grocery store to have GMO foods labeled? These are just two of the questions Holly Spangler, Farm Progress publications, addresses in her recent series about GMOs....More
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
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
The new 2014 Farm Bill substantially streamlines the number of conservation programs and moderately reduces overall conservation funding by 6.5% from the existing 10-year baseline budget over 2014-2023. Many of the cuts are slated for 2018-2023.
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