Crops, Livestock, Programming, Uncategorized

Agriculture at the Crossroads

The agricultural economic reset is in the mid inning, analogous to a baseball game. What forces will change the current economics? How will interest rate and land value changes influence profitability and your balance sheet? Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus with the Dept. of AAEC, VA TECH will present his challenges & opportunities tool kit to give you some tools to help your business position for success so be sure to attend this information packed, high energy session, sponsored by the Farmers & Ranchers College.kohl-program

This year’s program will focus on how to be a better borrower in these economic times. Dr. Kohl will discuss burn rates on working capital and burn rate on collateral. A special segment will examine what adjustments producers are making to navigate the economic white waters and position the business to evaluate opportunities.

This educational program will be held December 14, 2016 starting at 1:00 p.m. at the Bruning Opera House with registration starting at 12:30 p.m. Due to the generous support of area businesses and organizations, this program is free, but arrive early to save yourself a seat!

To speed up the registration process, online registration is available at fillmore.unl.edu; this will enable you to put your initials by your name, rather than filling in your full name and contact information.  

Programming, Uncategorized

Positioning Your Business for Success

The agriculture industry is in a major economic transition. The great commodity super cycle that fueled much of the income statement and balance sheet growth in agriculture is in the rear view mirror. What will be the emerging trends impacting agriculture and rural America’s bottom line in the short and long run? What are the latest trends and views in agriculture? What can you to do position your business for this economic reset?

Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus with the Dept. of AAEC, VA TECH will present his challenges & opportunities tool kit to give you some tools to help your business position for success so be sure to attend this information packed, high energy session, sponsored by the Farmers & Ranchers College. This educational program will be held December 15, 2016 starting at 1:00 p.m. at the Bruning Opera House with registration starting at 12:30 p.m. Due to the generous support of area businesses and organizations, this program is free, but arrive early to save yourself a seat!

Programming

Agriculture Outlook

Those of us in agriculture are no stranger to risks involved with agriculture that are taken every day, whether it is financial, production, legal, price/market or human resource risks. While we can’t control everything, there are measures that can be taken to protect one’s operation and reduce risk. Each year the Farmers & Ranchers College hosts Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus from Virginia Tech who does an excellent job describing global risks which affect us locally and how those risks will affect the agricultural industry.

Approximately 130-140 participants gathered for the first Farmers & Ranchers College program for the 2014-15 season.
Approximately 130-140 participants gathered for the first Farmers & Ranchers College program for the 2014-15 season.

Kohl reminded those in attendance that in order for there to be an economically viable crop industry, there must be an economically viable livestock industry. With lower crop commodity prices, producers must find ways to reduce their cost of production. The top farm managers will still earn a profit because they are aware of their costs and are resilient and agile. While prices are “hotter than a pepper sprout” for cattle producers, usually when a cattle cycle changes, it happens abruptly and warns on complacency.

Four factors globally to watch that will affect commodity prices are geopolitical factors, trade tensions, natural resources availability and economic reform. Back home in the U.S. concerns for higher interest rates will have an impact on operations based on the unemployment state, GDP growth and inflation. Kohl predicts that by spring or mid-summer interest rates will rise, so producers should be prepared.

In a survey Kohl conducted, he found that 72% of producers are complacent and either don’t use measurements to improve their farm or decision making or only track records to “get by” for taxes and crop yields. This is troubling, especially with lower commodity prices since cost of production has remained constant or higher. Producers need to have a solid handle on their cost of production and have some grain marketed. Land leases will be important and knowing your landlord beyond the finances can help when communicating with them. Those tenants who were fair to their landlords when prices were high will likely fare better than those who were not.

Those producers who surround themselves with “good people” will be successful. This includes a producer’s lender, supplier, etc. Have an advisory board to coach you along and help you make tough decisions and evaluate your financials. Ensure you have the right person “driving the bus” who helps you go the right direction, even though there might be an occasional detour. A well-organized plan with goals is essential. The increase in cost of living is also a huge concern, as it is very hard to cut the cost of living when a family has grown accustomed to certain things.

Tina Barrett with the Nebraska Farm Business, Inc. recently documented that the average cost of living in 1994 was $34,000 and held pretty steady through 2004. Since then, there has been a persistent increase each year. Not surprising that 2004 was the first of 10 years of a record high net farm income. When farm income went up, family living followed right behind. So as farm income declines, what will happen with family living costs? Also interesting to note that recreation was the largest increase, rising from $1,776 in 2004 to $9,081 in 2013, or a $7,305 increase, followed by a $5,550 increase in personal care and $5,339 increase in household supplies. Barrett says clients often bring up what their neighbors are doing and want to be able to afford that. For example, “The Jones went on a 3 week cruise and the Smiths built a new house and the Andersons bought a lake house and the Johnsons have a new Escalade.” The truth is sometimes we don’t know if those families were saving up for years to do some of those extra things. We can only control our own costs and allocate what we can afford for our own situation. This is very similar to Dr. Kohl mentioning that family living costs nationally have grown well over $100,00 and in some cases to $200,000, while the modest producers have only grown to $50-75,000. There will need to be a lot of belt tightening.

In summary, Kohl reminds us that goal setting, record keeping, an advisory board, having working capital and good relationships with those whom influence your management decisions are important golden rules for producers to follow. My next post will feature great information for millennials wanting to return to the farm or rural communities.

Crops, Programming

Agriculture: What’s Around the Corner & Down the Road?

Back by popular demand is Dr. Dave Kohl, Professor Emeritis from Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech.  He will speak on “Agriculture: What’s Around the Corner & Down the Road” from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Opera House in Bruning, NE on December 10th. Focusing on the wild world of global and domestic economics, Dr. Kohl will highlight the unusual events around every corn and discuss the “black swans” and how they impact agricultural businesses and producers. He will discuss the major game changers influencing the agriculture landscape along with a quick tour of the economics of the world and how it is influencing land values, commodities, and input costs.  Is agriculture in an asset or credit bubble?  What can you do financially in this business environment to capitalize on the economic volatility?  Dr. Kohl will give tips on management practices that will help you think globally but act locally in strategic and everyday decision making. Logo

The Farmers & Ranchers College was formed in January, 2000 with the purpose of providing high quality, dynamic, up to date educational workshops for area agricultural producers in south central Nebraska through a collaborative effort between business, industry and higher education leaders.  The Farmers and Ranchers College Committee consists of Fred Bruning of Bruning, Bryan Dohrman of Grafton, Sarah Miller of Carleton, Eric Milton of Milligan, Jim Donovan of Geneva, Bryce Kassik of Geneva, Gordy Nuss of Sutton, and Brandy VanDeWalle of Ohiowa.

For more information on the various Farmers & Ranchers College programs, please go to the Fillmore Co. website or call the Fillmore County Extension office at (402) 759-3712.