Farming is a complex business and many Ohio farmers utilize outside assistance for specific farm-related work. This option is appealing for tasks requiring specialized equipment or technical expertise. Often, having someone else with specialized tools perform tasks is more cost effective and saves time. Farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply, “custom work”. A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.
Ohio Farm Custom Rates
The “Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2022” publication reports custom rates based on a statewide survey of 223 farmers, custom operators, farm managers, and landowners conducted in 2022. These rates, except where noted, include the implement and tractor if required, all variable machinery costs such as fuel, oil, lube, twine, etc., and labor for the operation.
Some custom rates published in this study vary widely, possibly influenced by:
Some custom rates reflect discounted rates as the parties involved have family or community relationships, Discounted rates may also occur when the custom work provider is attempting to strengthen a relationship to help secure the custom farmed land in a future purchase, cash rental or other rental agreement. Some providers charge differently because they are simply attempting to spread their fixed costs over more acreage to decrease fixed costs per acre and are willing to forgo complete cost recovery.
New this year, the number of responses for each operation has been added to the data presented. In cases where there were too few responses to statistically analyze, summary statistics are not presented.
Charges may be added if the custom provider considers a job abnormal such as distance from the operator’s base location, difficulty of terrain, amount of product or labor involved with the operation, or other special requirements of the custom work customer.
The data from this survey are intended to show a representative farming industry cost for specified machines and operations in Ohio. As a custom farm work provider, the average rates reported in this publication may not cover your total costs for performing the custom service. As a customer, you may not be able to hire a custom service for the average rate published in this factsheet.
It is recommended that you calculate your own costs carefully before determining the custom rate to charge or pay. It may be helpful to compare the custom rates reported in this fact sheet with machinery costs calculated by economic engineering models available online. The following resources are available to help you calculate and consider the total costs of performing a given machinery operation.
Farm Machinery Cost Estimates, available by searching University of Minnesota.
Illinois Farm Management Handbook, available by searching University of Illinois farmdoc.
Estimating Farm Machinery Costs, available by searching Iowa State University agriculture decision maker and machinery management.
Fuel price changes may cause some uncertainty in setting a custom rate. Significant volatility in diesel price over the last several months has caused some concern for custom rate providers that seek to cover all or most of the costs associated with custom farm operations. The approximate price of diesel fuel during the survey period ranged from $4.50 – $5.25 per gallon for off-road (farm) usage. As a custom farm work provider, if you feel that your rate doesn’t capture your full costs due to fuel price increases you might consider a custom rate increase or fuel surcharge based on the increase in fuel costs.
For example, let’s assume the rate you planned to charge for a chisel plow operation was based on $4.50 per gallon diesel costs and the current on-farm diesel price is $5.50 per gallon. This is a $1 per gallon increase. The chisel plow operation uses 1.15 gallons of fuel per acre so the added fuel surcharge could be set at $1.15 per acre (1.15 gallons x $1 gallon).
Click here to to download or view the 2022 Ohio Farm Custom Rate Fact Sheet
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law
September 1 is fast approaching, and this year it’s an especially important date for landowners leasing cropland under an existing lease that doesn’t address when or how the lease terminates. In those situations, September 1 is the new deadline established in Ohio law for a landowner to notify a tenant that the landowner wants to terminate the lease. If the landowner does not provide notice by September 1, the lease continues for another lease term.
This September 1 deadline only applies to verbal or written leases that don’t have a termination date or a deadline for giving notice of termination. If a crop lease already includes a termination date or a deadline for giving notice of termination, those provisions are unchanged by the new law. The new September 1 termination date also only affects leases of land for agricultural crops. It does not apply to leases for pasture, timber, farm buildings, horticultural buildings, or leases solely for equipment.
To meet the new legal requirements, a landowner must give the notice of termination in writing and deliver it to the tenant operator by hand, mail, fax, or email on or before September 1. While the law does not specify what the termination must say, we recommend including the date of the notice, the identity of the lease property being terminated, and the date the lease terminates, which the law states will be the earlier of the end of harvest or December 31, unless the parties agree otherwise.
Tenant operators are not subject to the new September 1 termination deadline—the law applies only to the landowner. Even so, it’s important for tenant operators to understand the new law because it protects a tenant if a landowner attempts to terminate a lease after September 1. In those instances, the law allows the tenant to continue the lease for another term because the termination notice was late.
A lesson this new law teaches is the importance of having a written farm lease that includes termination provisions. The parties can agree in advance when the lease will terminate or can set a deadline for notifying the other party of the intent to terminate the lease. Such terms provide certainty and reduce the risk of conflict and litigation over a “late” termination.
Read the new “termination of agricultural leases” law in Section 5301.71 of the Ohio Revised Code.
by: Robert Moore, Attorney and Research Specialist, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program
A well-known statistic is that one-half of all marriages end in divorce. While there is some debate as to the accuracy of this statistic, there is no doubt that many marriages do end in divorce. According to Ohio law, all marital assets are to be divided equitably in the event of a divorce. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal although an equal division of assets between the spouses is often the result. It is important to note that only martial assets are subject to the equitable division between the spouses. Non-marital assets, or separate assets, are retained by the spouse who owns the asset.
Separate assets include the following:
The above list would seem to make it an easy exercise to determine what are marital assets and what are separate assets in a divorce. However, like many legal issues, this is often not the case. Determining whether an asset is a marital assets or a separate asset can be complicated. For example, Ohio law also provides that the following is a marital asset:
“… all income and appreciation on separate property, due to the labor, monetary, or in-kind contribution of either or both of the spouses that occurred during the marriage.”
So, it is possible for an asset to be partially a marital asset and partially a separate asset.
Consider the following example: Continue reading
By: Eric Richer & Chris Bruynis, OSU Extension Educators
Planting progress goes differently every year and in each part of the state. This year is no different in Ohio. Some places got in early and are finished. Others had their ‘normal’ planting progress with ‘normal’ Mother Nature breaks, perhaps with some re-plant needed. And still others have not had ideal conditions all spring to plant. As such, we have received some recent calls regarding the mechanics and economics of utilizing the Prevent Plant through crop insurance this year in certain parts of the state. First and foremost, we are not crop insurance agents, so speaking with your agent is of utmost importance. In this article, we will walk through an example on the economics of electing Prevent Plant.
In Ohio, once you arrive at the final plant date of June 5 for corn (already passed) and June 20 for soybeans, you basically have 3 options in a corn scenario: Continue reading
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: The Global Impact
The shock to global commodity markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to be the largest in the post-war period, and certainly since the oil crisis of the 1970s. Over the past 30 year, the two countries have become major agricultural exporters, accounting for a quarter of global grains trade in the 2021-22 season (International Grains Council, March 9, 2022). Across key commodities, they account for a 34, 18, 27 and 75 percent share of volume traded of world wheat, corn, barley, and sunflower oil respectively (International Food Policy Research Institute, February 24, 2022). With Russia blockading ports on the Black Sea, 16 million tons of grain are currently stranded in Ukraine, USDA forecasting Ukrainian-Russian wheat exports to fall by 7 million tons in 2021-22, Australian and Indian exports only partially filling the gap (USDA/WASDE Report, March 9, 2022) Also, despite reports of some spring crops being planted in Ukraine, outgoing Agriculture Minister Roman Leshchenko expects total area sown to be reduced by 19 million acres (Reuters, March 22, 2022).
Not surprisingly a market shock of this magnitude has affected both the volatility and level of prices, wheat futures at one point moving above $14/bushel, and eventually falling back to just over $10/bushel, reflecting uncertainty among traders about the invasion. In turn, the increase in grain prices, are having a significant effect on global food prices and hence food security. Even before the invasion, several factors were already driving up food prices, including poor harvests in South America, strong global demand, supply chain issues, reduced global stocks of grains and oilseeds, and an input cost squeeze mostly due to rising fertilizer prices. Adding in the effect of the invasion, global food prices are now reaching levels not seen since the so-called “Arab Spring” of the early 2010s (UN/FAO, March 2022). Continue reading
by: Robert Moore, Attorney, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program
A common business strategy for farming operations is to place their machinery in a separate, stand-alone LLC. The idea behind this strategy is that by putting the high-liability machinery in its own LLC the other farm assets are protected. Unfortunately, the liability protection of a machinery LLC is sometimes overstated and may not provide as much protection as intended.
The compromised liability protection of a machinery LLC is not due to a defect in LLCs, but rather it is a result of who is operating the machinery. Typically, the persons operating the machinery are the owners or employees of the farming operation. Many liability incidents involving farm machinery are the result of operator error which pulls the liability back to the farming operation.
Consider the following example. XYZ Farms is a grain operation. To mitigate the liability of having large machinery traveling on roadways, XYZ Farms establishes Machinery LLC and transfers all machinery to the LLC. An employee of XYZ Farms causes an accident while driving machinery on a roadway. Because employers are liable for the actions of employees, XYZ Farms is liable for the accident even though the machinery was held in Machinery LLC.
A machinery LLC does provide some liability protection. If the liability incident is caused solely by an issue with the machine and not the operator, the LLC may prevent liability from transferring to other assets. Again, most accidents are caused by operator error so relying on this liability protection is planning against the odds.
As seen in the example, machinery LLCs do not completely insulate owners and other assets from liability. In fact, no entity used in a farming operation is guaranteed to prevent liability exposure for the owner. Therefore, liability insurance should always be the primary liability management plan for farm operations. Business entities should be used as the backup plan if liability insurance fails to cover liability exposure.
Machinery LLCs do have other beneficial uses. One of the more common uses is to consolidate various machinery ownership among family members. Having one entity own, buy, and sell all machinery is often a simpler plan than multi-ownership. For example:
Mom and Dad, Son, and Daughter each own some machinery. Each time they need to buy a new piece of equipment, it is a challenge to determine how the trade-in is handled and who should be the new owner. Instead, they establish a machinery LLC and put all their machinery in the LLC. They each receive ownership in the LLC in proportion to the ownership in the machinery. For all future purchases, the LLC provides the trade-in and buys the new machine.
The liability protection provided by machinery LLCs may not be as thorough as sometimes expected but they can still be a valuable component of a business structure plan. They do provide some liability protection and are useful in other ways such as consolidating ownership. Before establishing a machinery LLC, be sure to have a thorough discussion with legal counsel to fully understand it’s benefits and limitations.
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law
Winter is a good time to review farm leases, and current information is critical to that process. That’s why our Farm Office team is offering its Ohio Farmland Leasing Update, a webinar on February 9, 2022 from 7 to 9 p.m. I’ll be joined for the webinar by co-speakers Barry Ward, Leader of Production Business Management for OSU Extension, and attorney Robert Moore.
On the legal side, we’ll share legal information to help parties deal with addressing conservation practices in a leasing situation, using leases in farmland succession planning, Ohio’s proposed new law about providing notice of termination, and ensuring legal enforceability of a lease. On the economic side, Barry Ward will provide a current economic outlook for Ohio row crops, research on cash rent markets for the Eastern Corn Belt, and rental market outlook fundamentals. We’ll also overview farmland leasing resources.
There is no fee for the webinar, but registration is necessary. Register at https://go.osu.edu/farmlandleasingupdate.