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
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
Are you going to Commodity Classic this year? Have you downloaded the mobile app to your phone yet? Make sure you do so you can use some of the great features, including maps, the whole schedule, a to-do list and tweeting....More
For many, analyzing variable rate planting with strip trials has resulted in conclusions that aren’t positive for the practice. Our results and experiences have been the opposite. Using higher and lower Learning Blocks™ within management zones and analyzing yield results have led to even faster adoption....More
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
The National Farm Machinery Show turned 50 years old this year, and it continues to attract more than 300,000 farmers from across the nation and beyond. I spent some time at the show during the first two days, dodging and weaving in the crowded aisles over 27 acres of exhibits. Here is my first installment of items I found interesting.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
We've posted a lot of great stories and photos on the web this year! These are our most-viewed pieces and cover a variety of topics from helpful aerial images to GMOs, making a profit with lower corn and soybean prices to no-till yield secrets, and more! Check out our best from the web for 2014, and stick around for more great stories and photos in 2015.
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
Recently there have been headlines about agreements between the industry and farm groups on data ownership and privacy. That’s positive. But it’s really not surprising that a company would agree that you own your data and that it will be returned or removed from their servers. Or that you will be allowed to direct whom it gets shared with or sent to....More
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
The combination of lower projected corn prices and soybean prices in 2015, together with nearly steady input costs for seed, fertilizer, and chemicals, will limit estimated potential returns over direct expenses and land costs, at average crop yields. Another major variable in breakeven levels in crop production are loan payments on capital investments such as farm machinery, facilities and land purchases....More
Five agriculture stories to read this week include advice for renegotiating farmland leases (if you haven't done so already), as well as an FAQ on Title I programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. Read a perspective from Bayer CropScience CEO about the benefits of modern agriculture, and how that impacts our food safety. And while the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, it's not too late to be #thankful4ag, and to take a look at what U.S. farmers provide to make those amazing Thanksgiving meals.