Wed Sep 30, 2015 03:29 PM CDT Prices are in for major 2014 crops, but the verdict on what Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) pays per county remains unsettled. The Farm Service Agency must fill in the blanks on a number of counties lacking NASS yields for 2014 before it can officially calculate program payments due in October.
Thu Sep 24, 2015 04:04 PM CDT There's a big gap between what average cash renters need in 2016 rent relief and what professional farm managers and some independent landowners are willing to give, as Elizabeth Williams and I reported in our recent series, "Cash Rent Reset."
Obviously, projected budgets with $100 to $150/acre losses on corn don't seem to be making the case with owners.
Tue Sep 8, 2015 03:54 PM CDT When you cut through the technicalities, the "safety net" in the 2014 Farm Act is really designed as insurance against abrupt farm revenue or price disasters. It's not a whole lot different than thinking about Social Security as old age insurance: If you study the system, you know your odds of not running out of money in your lifetime improve if you wait until your full-retirement age (or later) to collect.
Fri Sep 4, 2015 11:31 AM CDT The scale of commercial farms today demands professionalism on par with non-farm businesses. Consultant Lance Woodbury suggests areas where he sees biggest needs for a farm's managers to do a "systems upgrade."
Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:17 PM CDT The recalibration of the grain economy is underway. It's not anywhere close to the 1980s debt crisis, but fathers who lived through that debacle don't want their children to be casualties.
Wed Aug 12, 2015 04:49 PM CDT When 200 farmers and ranchers under 35 gathered in Omaha for a Farm Credit Services of America conference in late July, someone asked how long the grain industry downturn would last. After all, most Millennials born between 1980 and 1995 had never experienced back-to-back years of farm losses.
Tue Jul 28, 2015 04:41 PM CDT There's a lot of fine print in how USDA calculates income eligibility for farm programs under the new farm bill. Just be aware that there's no single definition of the "Adjusted Gross Income" rule that fits all individuals and business structures, as I reported from the annual American Institute of CPA agricultural meeting several weeks ago.
Mon Jul 27, 2015 01:27 PM CDT Admittedly my friend Zach probably isn't paying full market value for his uncle's share of an irrigated specialty farm, but the size and responsibility of his multi-million dollar, 30-year note still keeps the young farmer up nights.
Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:57 AM CDT A summer commodity rally only lessened the losses for corn and soy growers in 2015. It won't erase a potential three-year losing industrywide streak, farm lenders and economists worry.
Thu Jun 25, 2015 05:28 PM CDT The fact that very few farm estates pay federal taxes is no accident. Most farm families spend a decade or more gifting and transferring assets to keep their family business intact.
Wed Jun 24, 2015 02:46 PM CDT Just like grocery stores, crop insurance companies seem to run "loss leaders" in the meat department to get your business in the snack aisle. By law, insurers must sell identical multi-peril policies, so offering private riders is one way to differentiate themselves from the crowd.
Mon Jun 22, 2015 01:41 PM CDT Finding a dedicated work force is no easy task, especially in states like Nebraska where the latest unemployment rates run 2.7%--and the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, all at 3.8%.
Thu Jun 18, 2015 05:16 PM CDT When farms were one-man shops, you could carry your hopes, aspirations and business practices in your head. As the scale of farming has grown, we've seen multiple family managers, in-laws and generations involved.
Tue Jun 16, 2015 01:52 PM CDT USDA unveiled farmers' elections for the 2014 Farm Bill safety net June 15. Even veteran farm policy watchers were surprised at some of the outcomes--1.76 million farms enrolled (60,000 more than under the direct payment program that expired last year) and a resounding vote of confidence in revenue-based farm support programs instead of "target price" coverage for the first time in history.
Fri Jun 12, 2015 04:29 PM CDT Economists and ag bankers have been making headlines in recent weeks about the need for grain farmers to drastically realign their cost of production for 2016. After talking at length to progressive grain producers from five states last week, I found all were taking that message to heart.
Mon May 18, 2015 01:44 PM CDT Both in the military and in family businesses, you won't necessarily find born leaders. Most people acquire leadership skills through training, practice or at least copying a role model. Given that so many of you worry aboutmotivating the best fromyour workforce, it's worth recounting how Army methods might help improve performance.
Fri May 15, 2015 01:53 PM CDT Fifteen years ago, crop scouts for USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service liked to say you could see the end of the soybean frontier and the beginning of the Amazon Rain Forest from the northern outskirts of Sinop.