Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Zarley Taylor DTN Executive Editor

Monday 04/20/15

Beware False Hopes on Estate Taxes
The rally cry of "death to estate taxes" won a symbolic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives last week, but few tax practitioners are taking the move seriously. In fact, some caution that House passage of the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 will only give farmers and family business owners reason to procrastinate.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 12:11PM CDT 04/20/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Tuesday 03/31/15

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
No subject seems to trouble families more than splitting a partnership apart. One brother I know agonized for years about ending a business relationship with his alcoholic sibling. He felt obligated to be his brother's keeper.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:31PM CDT 03/31/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Friday 03/27/15

More War Wounds for a Corn Contender
Just a few years ago, Ukraine boasted some of the world's most profitable grain farms. Institutional-scale agribusinesses--some approaching 1 million acres-- accounted for more than 25% of the Former Soviet Union's output.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 1:25PM CDT 03/27/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Thursday 03/26/15

War Takes Toll on Ukrainian Farmers
Once dubbed the "Grain OPEC," Black Sea corn, wheat and soybean production now feels the effect of a currency collapse and 30% inflation.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 10:44AM CDT 03/26/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Monday 03/23/15

How Do I Calculate My County ARC Payouts?
Historic county yields count when determining who does and doesn't qualify for 2014-2018 ARC payments.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 9:31AM CDT 03/23/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Friday 03/20/15

Farm Program's Last-Minute Decisions
Johnny-come-lately renters and new landowners need to take special care by March 31 Farm Bill signup deadline.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 2:04PM CDT 03/20/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Tuesday 03/03/15

Bring Down the Shout in Family Conflict
Succession planning is fraught with opportunities for family conflict – between siblings, between parents and their adult children, between those on the farm and their relatives living elsewhere.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 1:55PM CST 03/03/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
Sad to see when traders see there job is only economic opp0rtunity for themselves not for the system.Young farmers need positive opportunitys not negative or there will be trouble. wake up
Posted by andrew mohlman at 7:02AM CST 03/05/15
 

Thursday 02/19/15

Truth Serum for Land Values
Not all farmland surveys are created equal. Unfortunately, the disparities between them could become more apparent now that land values seems poised to reverse some of the triple-digit gains they have accumulated since 2000, points out Mykel Taylor, a Kansas State University economist.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 11:21AM CST 02/19/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
It's more than a little disturbing to note that Peak Soil's motivation appears to be moving farmland further into another commodities investment/"asset class" as opposed to a tool for those actually involved in hands-on farming and production. When traders who sit behind a desk and computer monitor have the means to affect prices for their own financial gain and that of their investor clients, whether in livestock, grain or real estate, production farmers lose.
Posted by Kathy McHenry at 10:03AM CST 02/20/15
You are right Kathy. And Marcia, just to let you know where land prices are headed a sale here yesterday was a no sale because the owners thought it was still 2013.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 4:37PM CST 02/20/15
Ontario farm prices have reached the top also. A 50 ac farm with buildings converted to milking sheep, and 4 coverall buildings with a good house didn't sell at 625000 . Times are a changing.
Posted by jeff sanders at 5:32PM CST 02/24/15
 

Thursday 02/12/15

Farm Bill's Black Boxes Make Improbable Possible
Economic calculators use 500 random prices to assign probability of PLC or ARC payments. Some answers will surprise Joe Farmer.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:48PM CST 02/12/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | Post a Comment
Comments (1)
Why are we shucking cash to the wealthy?
Posted by Unknown at 7:59PM CST 02/17/15
 

Thursday 01/29/15

Cardinal Rules for ARC-PLC Choice
The great unknown of yields and prices far into the future makes farm program decisions hazardous to your wallet.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 5:24PM CST 01/29/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Friday 01/23/15

Downside to Paying Family Miserly Wages
Peak salaries used to attract young operators back to the farm since 2006 can encourage an over-inflated value of their worth to the business, warned DTN Farm Family Business Consultant Lance Woodbury in his most recent column (subscribers see the Farm Business page or Recent Features).[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 11:07AM CST 01/23/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | Post a Comment
Comments (3)
$20k/yr? Who would work for that? Might as well go on Obama Care
Posted by Unknown at 11:00PM CST 01/24/15
Vacations? Is that where one wastes money being bored, with nothing to do? If I can afford it and live long enough, I might try it, but not this year.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 12:35PM CST 01/25/15
Left out: Farm or ranch fuel use, electricity, frozen meat, vehicle ownership, housing, credit cards, etc.; all of which can cloud the competing subjects of too !ow of pay and smothering family.
Posted by H. Clay Daulton at 8:18AM CST 03/03/15
 

Wednesday 01/21/15

How to Shrink a $10 Million Estate to Cents on the Dollar
More than 80% of farm wealth is tied up in real estate that might have been in the family for more than a century. No wonder farmers worry about President Obama's capital gains fixes.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 4:56PM CST 01/21/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | Post a Comment
Comments (7)
Reminds me of a funny true story: back in the 50s, two partners were operating a thriving hatchery. One of the partners had a habit of taking a few bucks from the cash register and go have a few cold ones at the local establishment. The cash register didn't balance and caused a big headache for the sober partner. "If you're gonna take money from the cash register, please leave me a note so I can balance out." A few weeks later, the sober opens the cash register to find the note: "took her all"
Posted by Unknown at 8:08PM CST 01/21/15
Did the POTUS proposal eliminate the $5.25 million exemption ($10.5 for married couples) ? If not, then this worst case hypothetical example is completely wrong since a married couple could pass the entire $10 million plus with no FED estate tax. Do I have this right? Need some clarification.
Posted by Don Thompson at 10:27AM CST 01/22/15
Don. Paul's example assumed Farmer John was single, divorced or widowed when he died owning $10 million of land and other assets that pushed him above the $5.43 mil. federal estate tax limit for 2015 (it's inflation adjusted each year). Paul assumed 100% of the land was subject to tax for quick calculation, but it could be less depending on other assets. I haven't heard anyone asking for repeal of that $5.43 mlllion estate tax exemption limit lately, including the President.
Posted by Marcia Taylor at 2:02PM CST 01/22/15
If government interference in our daily lives and spending were reasonable, the tax issues would be mostly solved.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:54AM CST 01/23/15
Marcia, you are better than this shrill type of journalism. Maybe it is time to have another 2001 Farm Bureau challenge to find an example of a farm lost to estate taxes? And Mr. Neiffer needs to find something better to do with his time than dream up hypothetical double full moon in a month with a 'U' when the rainfall exceeds the weight of a hippo in Zambia examples of potential law ramifications (food pantry volunteer?).
Posted by Lane Robinson at 5:54AM CST 01/23/15
Marcia, Thanks for the details. On our farm, we are in another round of estate planning, always an evolving and revolving process, pursuing the objective of keeping the farm land assets moving to the next generations. That is the goal which is attainable within current and proposed law.
Posted by Don Thompson at 12:04PM CST 01/23/15
It's always interesting to read how fantasists do selective reading rationalize [sic] liberal thought.
Posted by H. Clay Daulton at 8:44AM CST 03/03/15
 

Friday 01/16/15

Give Small Biz a Break on Fringe Benefits
There are few milestone pieces of legislation that alter American life, but the 2010 Affordable Care Act is one of them. With mandates for individual coverage and no lifetime insurance limits, for example, it's brought more security to cancer patients like myself who would have wracked up $660,000 in medical expenses last year if I hadn't been insured.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 5:25PM CST 01/16/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Thursday 01/08/15

Failure to Economize
Don't expect much farmer economizing in production costs in 2015, but it's not for lack of trying. Yes they can knock a few bucks off here and there, but not the hundreds of dollars of gross income that have vanished per corn and soybean acre since 2012.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 3:24PM CST 01/08/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | 0 Comments | Post a Comment
 

Monday 01/05/15

Surviving the Great Moderation
Oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens likes to say his career forces him to be an optimist: Geologists drill too many dry holes, he explains. That attitude places him in good company with farmers.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 10:39AM CST 01/05/15 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | Post a Comment
Comments (2)
Thats what greed and selfishness will get you.Drive up the cost of land higher and see where that gets you.When land prices hit levels that were unsubstanable at $6.00 corn, Lets run them higher.Great thinking right?Nobody can farm at breakeven prices long, with the cost of everyday things being what they are. Try paying for 2 kids college tuitions, our insurances and autos. Don't leave you much, and we farm debt free.So guys with lots of debt won't be farming long at losses or breakeven.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 8:01AM CST 01/06/15
My pen pals tell me I should have emphasized better marketing as a strategy to help growers dig out of potential losses in 2015. USDA cash corn price is only $3.40 at the moment. Seasonal rallies could help, but remember the market doesn't always care what it costs a producer to raise a crop. In 2013, low-cost 20% of Minnesota growers needed $3.88, but the high cost needed $5.77.
Posted by Marcia Taylor at 3:37PM CST 01/08/15
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Recent Blog Posts
  • Beware False Hopes on Estate Taxes
  • Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
  • More War Wounds for a Corn Contender
  • War Takes Toll on Ukrainian Farmers
  • How Do I Calculate My County ARC Payouts?
  • Farm Program's Last-Minute Decisions
  • Bring Down the Shout in Family Conflict
  • Truth Serum for Land Values
  • Farm Bill's Black Boxes Make Improbable Possible
  • Cardinal Rules for ARC-PLC Choice
  • Downside to Paying Family Miserly Wages
  • How to Shrink a $10 Million Estate to Cents on the Dollar
  • Give Small Biz a Break on Fringe Benefits
  • Failure to Economize
  • Surviving the Great Moderation
  • Don't Count on Farm Aid Before It's Hatched
  • Courage to Buy Land in an Uncertain Market
  • Yes Virginia, They Can Make More Farmland
  • High-Speed Export Routes Still Under Construction
  • Yes Virginia, They Can Make More Farmland