Crops, Irrigation, Livestock, Programming

Crop Insurance, Farm Bill and More

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Today’s farmers and ranchers not only have to be efficient with production practices, but also need to be well-informed with risk management and economics of their business. With that in mind, the Farmers and Ranchers College is offering the program, “Crop Insurance, Farm Bill Policy Update and More” at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds in Geneva, NE on February 23rd. This workshop will start at 10:00 a.m. with registration at 9:45 and will wrap up at 3:00 p.m. Due to the generous contributions of many businesses and organizations, the program is free; registration is preferred for an accurate meal county by February 16th. Call the Fillmore County Extension office at (402)759-3712 or email Brandy at brandy.vandewalle@unl.edu to register.

Speakers for the program will be Steve Johnson who has served as the Farm & Ag Business Management Specialist in Central Iowa for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach since 1999.  He specializes in topics related to government farm programs, crop insurance, crop marketing, grain contracts, farmland leasing and other crop risk management strategies. Annually Steve conducts more than 100 meetings, workshops, seminars and conferences across the Corn Belt with over 10,000 in attendance. Steve uses web sites such as ISU Ag Decision Maker and Polk County Extension Farm Management along with various print and electronic media. He will highlight 2017 crop supply/demand & cash price outlook, discuss 2018 crop cost estimates, planted acreage & weather outlook, highlight seasonal trends for new crop futures, learn to use a variety of marketing strategies & tools and develop & implement new crop marketing plans.

Brad Lubben, a Nebraska Extension Policy Specialist with Nebraska Extension since 2005, also teaches agricultural economics courses on campus and is the Director for the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center. His integrated research, extension and teaching interests include agricultural policy, trade policy, food policy, conservation and environmental policy and public policy.  A native Nebraskan, Lubben is dedicated to the producers and students he serves. Brad’s presentation will focus on how the current ARC and PLC program has provided substantial but declining support for Nebraska producers. He will discuss the new farm bill due to be written in 2018, but will need to reconcile several issues and budget challenges to get done on time, whether a new farm bill is completed or current legislation is extended, producers can expect a new ARC vs. PLC decision in 2019 under very different market conditions and finally how producers will also need to follow a number of other policy issues under debate in DC and beyond.

Austin Duerfeldt specializes in farm accounting, financial analysis, and taxation.  As the Southeast Regional Ag Economist, he provides educational training on grain marketing, cash rent, land valuation, financial analysis, taxes, and negotiations. He will talk about the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Farm Edition) in regards to S199A, depreciation, COOPs and other important factors that impact farmers and ranchers.

Ryne Norton, Fillmore County Farm Service Agency director will provide local FSA updates and Brandy VanDeWalle, Nebraska Extension Educator will talk about farm financial success and ways to cope during difficult times in addition to sharing resources for handling stress in challenging times.

 

Livestock, Programming

Farmers and Ranchers Cow/Calf College

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The annual Farmers and Ranchers Cow/Calf College “Partners in Progress – Beef Seminar” will be held at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and Great Plains Veterinary Education Center near Clay Center on January 30, 2018 with registration, coffee and donuts starting at 9:00 a.m. The program will run from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. This program is sponsored by Nebraska Extension’s Farmers and Ranchers College and will feature several outstanding speakers discussing issues and management strategies that can affect the profitability of all beef producers. There is no cost for the event and the public is invited. It does include a noon meal, which means that early registration is necessary to reserve materials and a meal.

The “Cow/Calf College” will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a welcome by Dr. Gary Bennett of USMARC and Dr. Dale Grotelueschen, Director of the Great Plains Veterinary Education Center. Brett Crosby with Custom Ag Solutions will kick off the event with “Ways to Optimize Cattle Marketing”.

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Mary Drewnoski, Nebraska Extension Specialist will present on “One Size Does Not Fit All: Grazing residue with various classes of cattle.” She will talk about some of the issues many producers had this year with so much corn in the stalks and strategies for effectively grazing residue.

Lunch is provided and will be handled with a rotation system during two noon sessions featuring split sessions on: “Livestock Disaster Assistance Programs” from Fillmore County FSA Director, Ryne Norton.

The afternoon session will start with Rob Eirich, Nebraska Extension Educator with the “Beef Quality Assurance Audit”. It is important to know how beef producers have done in regards to quality assurance and results were just released in the summer of 2017.

Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz, Sandhills Cattle Consultants Inc., will lead you through “Implementing BQA and Animal Husbandry”.  A popular presenter, Dr. Kip is sure to entertain you while being right on target to address some of critical quality assurance issues that face beef producers. For our beef producers Dr. Kip will also inform participants on effective animal husbandry and stockmanship techniques.

All presenters will then pull everything together, give their final thoughts and considerations and provide a coffee-shop style panel discussion during which cattlemen can ask questions and get answers on questions that came to them during the day’s sessions. A chance for door prizes will be awarded to those that stay for the entire event.

Please pre-register by January 23rd, to the Nebraska Extension Office in Fillmore County or call (402) 759-3712 to insure a seat and lunch. Walk-ins are accepted, but may not get a lunch. You may also complete your registration online on fillmore.unl.edu or go.unl.edu/t38n.  Remember, your contact information is required to be on the U.S. MARC property, so pre-registration is helpful and will save you time at the door!

Crops, Livestock, Programming

Reflections from Dr. Kohl

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.

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Approximately 120 people gathered for the first Farmers & Ranchers College program for the 2017-2018 programming year.

Several points I’d like to share in this week’s column are what Dr. Kohl coins as the top 40% of proactive producers or “greenliners” and the bottom 30% of producers or “redliners” and his top twelve practices observed of successful farmers and ranchers.

Characteristics of the top producers include being proactive by challenging themselves to improve their operation in three areas. These producers also have a sound financial system which includes accrual adjustments, knowing their cost of production for each enterprise or even better, each field.  Sound financial systems also look at trend analysis and ensure the records are in a safe and secure place (backed up, protected from cyber-attacks and in a fireproof safe). Proactive producers also have lower rental and fertilizer costs, have a third-person audit their practices and practice modest living. Understanding that a family might have to make sacrifices and pass on that new boat or trip can cut costs drastically, as they rose during the “good times”.

Now let’s take a look at the bottom 30% of producers. These producers typically overpay on marginal resources such as land. They lack financial or marketing skills. Kohl pointed out that something as simple as making one’s own spreadsheets or utilizing a solid record-keeping system is crucial to monitoring one’s cost of production and recommends quarterly meetings with your lender.  “Redliners” often do not make necessary improvements in their operation to keep with the times such as replacing worn out equipment. In fact, when operations are transitioned to the next generation, if everything is rusted and wore out, that next generation’s chance of “making it” are significantly reduced. These producers need to manage taxes, not minimize taxes. These producers often have a high cost of living and lack the ‘HUT’ principle which is to Hear what others tell you, Understand what they are saying and Take Action.

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College students who attended the program were tasked with asking someone for agricultural advice and Dr. Kohl had them report back to the group what they discovered.

Dr. Kohl also shared when he teaches producers strategies for success, he spends a large amount of time teaching about goal setting. Half the problem with businesses is that they don’t have WRITTEN goals. These should include business, family, personal, one and five-year goals. Balance in life is essential in every career, including farming and ranching. Making time for your spouse and other family members will prevent problems down the road. In addition to goals, he teaches producers to have a projected cash flow, break evens calculated, consider different “what-if” scenarios, updated balance sheets by Groundhog’s Day, develop a personal living budget and monitor your business with a lender or advisory team on a quarterly basis.

Dr. Kohl also provided the ten commandments of character. Character is often overlooked, but crucial to one’s integrity and success. His ten commandments of character included:

  1. Follow thru on commitments (educational program and financial statement requests).
  2. Use borrowed funds as agreed upon.
  3. Be accurate with financial statements such as balance sheets, income statement, etc.
  4. Have a willingness to sacrifice lifestyle pursuits and balance with business growth.
  5. Practice good communication of goals and in times when there are issues and challenges.
  6. There should be minimal surprise business purchases.
  7. Be willing to work with an advisory team, including a third party.
  8. Consider constructive coaching.
  9. Properly use profits, cash flows and windfalls.
  10. Utilize a network of people, peers and pursuits.

In summary, those who are unable to embrace change should open their minds and consider making changes. Kohl encouraged the college students in attendance to do an internship or take a job away from home to learn from others and bring fresh, new ideas back to the operation. He applauded those producers in attendance, as they are willing to learn and improve their business. When you graduate from high school or college, you are not done with learning and if you think you are, you will likely be left behind. This is where I’m proud to be a part of Nebraska Extension as we offer educational programs that provide research-based knowledge and our Nebraska On-Farm Research Network is a great avenue to test new practices, ideas or products.

Crops, Livestock, Programming

Farmers & Ranchers College

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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. Furthermore, the Farmers & Ranchers College will provide the tools necessary so that agricultural producers will be able to respond positively to these changes using a profitable decision making process.

The Farmers and Ranchers College is a unique opportunity to educate agricultural producers in south central Nebraska. Approximately four hundred producers participated in the 2016-17 Farmers & Ranchers College programs. Producers attending these workshops managed over 170,500 acres. Participants surveyed indicated an average of $18.00/acre of knowledge gained from participating for a potential impact of $3 million.

IMG_7242.jpgThe sixteenth annual Partners in Progress- Beef Seminar featured a variety of industry, University and agricultural organization presenters. Participants managed over 8,500 head of cattle and indicated that on average the information presented will increase their profitability $17.50/head with a total potential impact of nearly $150,000.

Contributions and support of area businesses allow participants to attend at no cost, however for programs that have meals, it is requested that people RSVP at least a week in advance for an accurate meal count by calling Fillmore County Extension at (402) 759-3712.

The Farmers and Ranchers College Committee consists of Fred Bruning of Bruning, Bryan Dohrman of Grafton, Sarah Miller of Carleton, Jennifer Engle of Fairmont, Ryne Norton of York, Jim Donovan of Geneva, Bryce Kassik of Geneva, Eric Kamler of Geneva, and Brandy VanDeWalle of Ohiowa.

2017-18 Program Schedule:

December 7, 2017 – “Positioning for Success in the Economic Reset”” w/ Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of AAEC, VA TECH at the Opera House in Bruning, NE from 1-4:00 pm

January 30, 2017** – “Partners In Progress Beef Seminar” Cow/Calf College at U.S. MARC near Clay Center, NE from 10-3:30 a.m., Registration at 9:30

February 23, 2017** – “Crop Insurance, Farm Bill Policy Update & More!” with Steve Johnson from Iowa State Extension and Brad Lubben, Nebraska Extension at  the Fillmore Co. Fairgrounds- Geneva, NE from 10- 3:00 p.m.,Registration at 9:30 a.m.

 ** Programs are free; however registration is appreciated for a meal count. Please call the Fillmore Co. Extension Office at (402) 759-3712 one-week prior to the program to reserve your spot.

Crops, Livestock, Programming, Uncategorized

Tips & Tricks for the Ag Women

The last Farmers and Ranchers College program of the season is a special program for the ladies in agriculture and will be February 27, 2017 at Lazy Horse Vineyard near Ohiowa, NE with registration at 5:45 and program starting at 6:00 p.m. Why a program for “just women”?

According to a 2016 Cornhusker Economics article:
“The involvement of women in agriculture nationwide and in Nebraska has increased in recent years. According to the 2012 Ag Census, there are approximately 47,000 operators in Nebraska– 20,000 are women who partner with their spouses or other business partners. In addition, 4,091 women are the primary operators of their agricultural operation. Many women comment that business and estate planning is an issue that is the most difficult to tackle with their partners and family members, but is the most important.” womenagprogram

Also according to the 2012 Ag Census, approximately 1 million women in the United States are involved in agriculture and women principal operators of U.S. farms account for around $13 billion in annual agricultural product sales.

According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), when women have more decision-making power in agriculture, there are positive effects on child health, nutrition and agricultural productivity. IFPRI’s research also found that women’s “innovative group-based approaches can help women’s capacity for risk management by safeguarding their control over critical assets.”

While there are hurdles women have overcome in agriculture, one way for women to face the stress and pressure of stigma is through peer social networking. For example, last year I conducted Annie’s Project, which is a 6-week program in which women learn risk management principles with their female peers. This program is successful largely due to the fact women are able to comfortably learn from each other.

Whether women (participants) want a chance to socialize with peers about agriculture or take some time to reflect on the important role they have in the ag industry, this final Farmers & Ranchers College program will feature Debbie Lyons-Blythe who is a mom, wife and rancher from Kansas. As a blogger since 2009, Debbie provides tips and trick for the ag woman in answering questions from people who don’t live in rural areas. Her blog can be found at kidscowsandgrass.com. Registration for this free program is appreciated by February 20th for meal planning purposes.

The Farmers and Ranchers College Committee consists of Fred Bruning of Bruning, Bryan Dohrman of Grafton, Sarah Miller of Carleton, Jennifer Engle of Fairmont, Ryne Norton of York, Jim Donovan of Geneva, Bryce Kassik of Geneva, Eric Kamler of Geneva, and Brandy VanDeWalle of Ohiowa.

Hope to see the women of ag at the Tips and Tricks for the Women in Ag on February 27th! To register, call the office at (402) 759-3712 or online.

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.  

Crops, Livestock, Programming, Uncategorized

Farmers & Ranchers College

frcollege-logo-front-panelThe 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. Furthermore, the Farmers & Ranchers College will provide the tools necessary so that agricultural producers will be able to respond positively to these changes using a profitable decision making process.

The Farmers and Ranchers College is a unique opportunity to educate agricultural producers in south central Nebraska. Approximately four hundred producers participated in the 2015-16 Farmers & Ranchers College programs. Producers attending these workshops managed over 215,000 acres. Participants surveyed indicated an average of $15.00/acre of knowledge gained from participating for a potential impact of $3 million.frcollege15-16impactinfographic

The fifteenth annual Partners in Progress- Beef Seminar featured a variety of industry, University and agricultural organization presenters. Participants managed over 10,000 head of cattle and indicated that on average the information presented will increase their profitability $17.80/head with a total potential impact of over $180,000.

Contributions and support of area businesses allow participants to attend at no cost, however for programs that have meals, it is requested that people RSVP at least a week in advance for an accurate meal count by calling Fillmore County Extension at (402) 759-3712.

The Farmers and Ranchers College Committee consists of Fred Bruning of Bruning, Bryan Dohrman of Grafton, Sarah Miller of Carleton, Jennifer Engle of Fairmont, Ryne Norton of York, Jim Donovan of Geneva, Bryce Kassik of Geneva, Eric Kamler of Geneva, and Brandy VanDeWalle of Ohiowa.

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Save time at the registration table. Register online!

2016-17 Program Schedule:

December 14, 2016 – “Agriculture at the Crossroads” w/ Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of AAEC, VA TECH at the Opera House in Bruning, NE from 1-4:00 pm

January 31, 2017** – “Partners In Progress Beef Seminar” Cow/Calf College at U.S. MARC near Clay Center, NE from 10-3:30 a.m., Registration at 9:30

February 22, 2017** – Managing for Difficult Times (Cutting costs without cutting yields) at Fillmore Co. Fairgrounds- Geneva, NE from 9:30 – 3:00 p.m.,Registration at 9 a.m.

February 27, 2017** – Tips & Tricks for the Women of Agriculture at Lazy Horse Winery near Ohiowa, NE with registration at 5:45 and program starting at 6:00 p.m.

** Programs are free; however registration is appreciated for a meal count. Please call the Fillmore Co. Extension Office at (402) 759-3712 one-week prior to the program to reserve your spot.

Crops, Livestock, Programming, Uncategorized

Passing the Farm to the Next Generation

At our final Farmers & Ranchers College program for the programming year, Dr. Ron Hanson from the University Of Nebraska – Lincoln Ag Economics Department spoke on the Importance of Family Farm Succession. This is never an easy task, yet essential for the farm to be passed on and able to financially operate. Most importantly, it is important to maintain relationships with family members and honor the wishes of the parents who intended for assets to be transferred a certain way.IMG_4969

Hanson had eleven challenges families face in order to being this process.

  1. First consider “Who is family” and is entitled to owning the farm. Are in-laws considered family? Usually excluding in-laws will backfire and cause hard feelings.
  2. It is difficult for parents to not play favorites with their adult kids. Parents should be fair and equitable, which is different than equal. Unfortunately, there are adult kids who are greedy and plan to retire on their parents’ assets, which is not an acceptable retirement plan. Parents should consider who has always taken care of them and which kids will care for them in end of life situations.
  3. Controlling parents need to give control of the farm/ranch to the adult kid who is farming. Serve as mentors and hand over responsibility to the future owner.
  4. Consider when farm ownership will happen. How will those changes occur?
  5. Think about if it is possible to keep the farm in the family. Are there kids who actually want to farm?
  6. Too often families don’t talk about the “what-ifs”. If a parent or adult kid were to tragically die tomorrow, are you prepared for that?
  7. If parents don’t agree on how to transfer assets, more than likely nothing will get done.
  8. Some children feel they are entitled. Children should RESPECT their parents and agree to their parents’ decision. Your parents don’t owe you anything.
  9. Greed has become a curse of family wealth and assets. Wealth can destroy family relationships and end a family legacy. No farm is worth losing family relationships!
  10. Families that don’t communicate openly about the parents plans are more likely to be unsuccessful with a succession plan. Parents must talk openly and honestly to all children – preferably at the same time. Parents should ask their children:
    1. Have we as parents done anything to make you not get along as a family when we are no longer here? If so, please tell me. Then apologize.
    2. Is there any reason you kids can’t get along as a family?
  11. Each family farm/ranch should have a vision. Family members should share this vision.

Family farm succession is time consuming, complicated and emotionally draining, but essential! After all, consider all of the hard work you have done to keep it going through rough economic times; why wouldn’t you put a plan together to protect it?

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!