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
In the 5 ag stories to read this week, get tips for preventing and managing soybean diseases this year. Watch videos from University of Illinois about profitability in agriculture and keep an eye out for a USDA survey. Read how one farmer's success with strip-till has led to more agronomic benefits, and check out a Facebook page dedicated to the love of farming.
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
In the 5 ag stories to read this week, learn how farmers are becoming more compliant when planting a refuge for Bt corn, and make your farm bill choices in seven steps. Read new research that says climate change is impeding soybean yields, and see what's new for herbicides this year. Finally, enjoy a smile from some cows.
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
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