Central Ohio Precision Ag Symposium

by: John Barker, Extension Educator, Knox County

The Central Ohio Precision Ag Symposium will be held on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at All Occasions Catering 6986 Waldo-Delaware Rd., Waldo Ohio from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s program will feature the most current technologies available in precision agriculture. These topics will be shared by some of the leading university and industry Precision Ag experts.

This year’s program opens with a discussion regarding where we are in Precision Ag today – “The Adoption of Precision Ag Technologies” – Jack Zemlicka, Ag Division Content Director Lessiter Media and ends with a look into the crystal ball – “The Future of Precision Ag” – Dr. Scott Shearer, The Ohio State University.

Data management is a “hot “topic in today precision agriculture. Dr. John Fulton will share his insights on “Data Considerations in Today’s Crop Production”. You will learn about data security and who can/has access to your data at afternoon breakout sessions from Climate-Fieldview, Agleader–Agfinity, and My JohnDeere. Learn about the value of your data and opportunities for selling your data at one of the Farm Mobile breakout sessions.

Artificial intelligence is changing our industry. Tim Norris will discuss “AI” and share insights from Knox County’s first autonomous tractor. “AI” will be part of several other afternoon breakout sessions as well. New datum changes are scheduled for 2022. Jeff Jalbrzikowski will explain how this change could potentially affect our current maps and GPS positioning files.

To be the premier source of research-based information in the age of digital agriculture” is the vision of the Ohio State Digital Ag Program. Dr. Elizabeth Hawkins will discuss the nearly 100 OSU on-farm research trials conducted throughout Ohio in 2018. Everyone in attendance will receive a copy of the 2018 eFields Report.

Afternoon breakout sessions will include manufacturing and technology updates including how to get the most from your in-cab displays from John Deere, Case IH AFS, Precision Planting, Capstan, AGCO, New Holland and Soil Max.

$50 registration fee includes a buffet lunch, breaks and a notebook containing all presentations. Seating is limited, registration deadline is December 28, 2018.

This symposium will provide up to 11.5 Continuing Education Credits (CEU’s) for Certified Crop Advisors (S&W – .5, I.P.M. – 5.5, C.M. – 5.5).  This program is sponsored by The Ohio State University Extension, AgInfoTech, Advantage Ag & Equipment, Ag Leader, B&B Farm Service, Beck’s, Capstan, Centerra Co-op, Central Ohio Farmers Co-op, Channel, Clark Seeds, Climate Corp., Evolution Ag, Farm Credit Services, Farm Mobile, First Knox National Bank, JD Equipment, Ohio Ag Equipment, Precision Planting, Seed Consultants, Smart Ag and Soil-Max.

For more information or to download registration form, go to http://u.osu.edu/knoxcountyag/2018/11/28/central-ohio-pre…ion-ag-symposium/ or

https://knox.osu.edu/news/central-ohio-precision-ag-symposium or contact the OSU Extension Office in Knox County at 740-397-0401 or AgInfoTech 740-507-2503.

 

Farm Tax Issues- What Tax Reform Means for Farmers

Originally Published in Farm & Dairy- December 6, 2018.

By: David L. Marrison, Coshocton County Ag & NR Extension Educator- marrison.2@osu.edu

The goal of last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was to simplify taxes.  While simplifications were made, I would argue that farm taxes have become more difficult.  There have been major changes to equipment depreciation, like kind exchanges, and a brand new Qualified Business Income deduction. 

I know many tax preparers are pulling their hair out trying to get a handle on all these changes.  My advice to farmers is to make sure to communicate with your tax preparer before the end of the year to see how these changes may impact your 2018 taxes.

Today, I would like to provide a brief overview of the changes which farmers will want to have on their radar.

Depreciation- Tax reform made some significant changes to how farmers depreciate their farm business property.  First, the depreciation recovery period for new farm equipment and machinery placed into service after December 31, 2017 has been shortened from seven to five years.  However, used farm equipment, grain bins, and fences will keep their current depreciation life of 7 years. 

The method to calculate depreciation is also changing as any property used in a farming business and placed in service after Dec. 31, 2017, will now use the 200 percent declining balance method versus the 150-percent declining balance method. However, farmers can elect out of the use of the 200 percent method. 

For farmers wishing to accelerate depreciation, Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation are still options which can be used.  Bonus depreciation has been moved back up to 100% from 40% and the limits on Section 179 expensing has been increased to $1 million dollars for 2018.  Using these accelerated depreciation methods can be tricky so make sure your tax accountant helps you determine if they should be used or not.

Like-Kind Exchanges– Another wrinkle which will impact farmers is the elimination of the Section 1031 like-kind exchange for personal property like farm equipment.  It does still allow for a like-kind of exchange of real property such as land.

Previously the gains or losses realized on the trade-in of farm equipment was generally deferred.  Bottom line is that the elimination of the like-kind exchange treatment for equipment means that farmers who trade in a piece of equipment will most likely now have a reportable tax event.

We would recommend that farmers consult with their tax professional before they buy equipment as it could have tax implications.  Your tax accountant can help you analyze the purchase and may be able to offset the gain by using accelerated depreciation on the new piece of equipment. Definitely more paperwork. 

Qualified Business Deduction– Farmers will also need to talk to their accountant about the new Section 199A Deduction or Qualified Business Income Deduction.  This new deduction was added due to the reduction in taxes for C-Corporations.  Previously C-Corporations could be taxed at a rate up to 35%.  The tax reform legislation set a flat rate of 21% for all C-Corporations. 

The reduced flat rate was only for C-Corporations so legislators had to account for other business entities like Sole-Proprietorships, Partnerships, S Corporations, and LLCs who could have still been subject to a maximum tax rate of 37%.

This led to the development of the Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction. This deduction allows for a deduction of up to 20% of qualified business income.  There are a lot of moving parts and limitations to this deduction so again it is imperative to talk to your tax accountant.  This is an additional wrinkle for farmers who sell their milk or grain to cooperatives as it will trigger an additional calculation. 

There is also a lot of discussion whether farm rental income qualifies for QBI which could impact landlords and their tax returns.  All this is clear as mud to most tax preparers and we are waiting for guidance from the IRS.  Bottom line is that farm taxes will be harder not easier to file. 

Help– OSU Extension is helping farmers and tax preparers understand these new tax changes.  Local Extension offices are hosting educational seminars and we will also be offering tax webinars for your convenience.  We encourage you to check out the Ohio Ag Manager Website at http:ohioagmanager.osu.edu for updates on these events.  In addition, our team will be writing more in-depth articles about each of these changes.

Upcoming OSU Extension Sponsored Tax Updates:

2018 Ag and Natural Resources Income Tax Issues Webinar

Monday, December 17, 2018

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Webinar.   Can also be viewed at one of 6 regional sites: Auglaize, Clermont, Miami, Putnam, Wayne and Wyandot counties.

For tax professionals who represent farmers or for farmers looking for in-depth review of tax legislation changes.

Registration, which includes the workbook, is $150 if received or entered on-line by December 6. After December 6, registration is $200.

For more information contact Julie Strawser at 614-292-2433 or Strawser.35@osu.edu

Farmer & Farmland Owner Income Tax Webinar

Monday, January 7, 2019

10:00 – 12:00 noon

$35 per person

Register at go.osu.edu/FarmerTaxWebinar

For more information contact Julie Strawser at 614-292-2433 or Strawser.35@osu.edu

 Farm Tax Update:

Thursday, January 17, 2018 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Tuscarawas County Extension Office

Session is being held to help farmers understand the changes to farm taxes.

No registration fee.

Call 330-339-2337 for more information or to register

 

 

Farm Management Retreat Levels 1 and 2 Offered

by: Amanda Douridas & Amanda Bennett-OSU Extension Educators

Female farmers, whether farming on their own or in a partnership, realize the importance of the business side of farming. Annie’s Project provides education and a support network to enhance business skills of women involved in all aspects of agriculture.

Annie spent her lifetime learning to be an involved farm business partner with her husband. Annie’s life experiences inspired her daughter, a university Extension agent, to create a program for women living and working in the complex, dynamic agriculture business environment. Annie’s Project fosters problem solving, record keeping, and decision-making skills in farm women.

At an upcoming weekend retreat, women will receive training in five areas of agricultural risk management: financial, marketing, production, legal, and human resources. Most importantly women are able to network and develop relationships with other women in agriculture.

Level 2 will dive deeper into these risk areas with many working sessions allowing participants to work on specific plans for their farms.

Past participants have had this to say about the program:

“I changed my mind about how to approach communication with my in-laws as business partners.”

“I have gained tools to help improve management of our farm and insight on how to communicate the resources to other members of the farm.”

“I appreciated getting to meet others with a shared interest.”

“I encourage any woman to attend one of these great programs!”

The retreat will be Jan 11-13 at Western Buckeye Christian Camp, Kirkmont Center, Croft House 6946 County Road 10, Zanesfield, OH 43360. The cost is $130 per person and includes all lodging, materials and meals. The registration deadline is December 31. For questions about this retreat, please contact Amanda Douridas at Douridas.9@osu.edu or 937-484-1526.

Registration forms can be found at http://go.osu.edu/agevents.

Farm Tax Update to Be Held on December 10 in Coshocton, Ohio

OSU Extension in Coshocton County is pleased to be offering a Farm Tax Update on Monday, December 10, 2018 from 7:00 to 8:37 p.m. at the Coshocton County Services Building – Room 145 located at 724 South 7th Street in Coshocton, Ohio.

OSU Extension Educator David Marrison will share details on the “Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017” and its impact on farm taxes. It is not business as usual in the world of farm taxes. Learn more about the changes to farm machinery depreciation, like-kind exchanges, and more about the new Section 199A deduction for Qualified Business Income.

This program is free & open to the public! However, courtesy reservations are requested so program materials can be prepared. Call the Coshocton County Extension at 740-622-2265 to RSVP or for more information.

 

Small Farm & New Farm College Programs to be Held

By Tony Nye, Extension Educator

Are you a small farm landowner wondering what to do with your acreage? Are you interested in exploring options for land uses but not sure where to turn or how to begin? Have you considered adding an agricultural or horticultural enterprise but you just aren’t sure of what is required, from an equipment, labor, and/or management perspective? Are you looking for someplace to get some basic farm information? If you or someone you know answered yes to any of these questions, then the Ohio State University New and Small Farm College program may be just what you are looking for.

The Ohio State University New and Small Farm College is an 8 session short course that will be held one night a week. The 2019 Ohio New and Small Farm College program will be held in three locations across the state including:

Miami Valley CTC, West Building, Room 179, 6800 Hoke Road, Englewood, OH 45315. Classes will be held on Tuesdays beginning January 8 and concluding on February 26, 2019. Inclement weather makeup date will be March 5. Contact the Montgomery County Extension Office at 937-224-9654.

Vinton County area at the Community Building, 31935 State Route 93, McArthur, OH 45651. Classes will be held on Tuesdays beginning January 15 and concluding March 5, 2019. Inclement weather makeup will be March 12. For more information, contact Vinton County Extension at 740-596-5212.

Adams County area at the North Adams High School, 96 Green Devil Drive, Seaman, OH 45679. Classes will be held on Wednesdays beginning January 16 and concluding March 6, 2019. Inclement weather makeup date will be March 13.  For more information, contact Adams County Extension at 937-544-2339.

All colleges will start each evening at 6:00 PM with a light dinner with the nightly presentations beginning at 6:30 Pm and concluding at 9:00PM.

Topics that will be covered in the Small Farm College course include: Getting Started (goal setting, resource inventory, business planning), Appropriate Land Use -Walking The Farm, Where to Get Assistance, (identifying various agencies, organizations, and groups), Natural Resource Management including soils, ponds, woodlands and wildlife, Legal Issues, Insurance, Business Structure, Finances & Record Keeping, and Marketing Alternatives, Crop and Horticultural Production Options, Animal Production Options,

The cost of the course is $150 per person, $100 for an additional family member. Each participating family will receive a small farm college notebook full of the information presented in each class session plus additional materials. Registrations are now being accepted. For more details about the course and/or a registration form, contact Tony Nye, Small Farm Program Coordinator 937-382-0901 or email at nye.1@osu.edu.

 

Agronomy and Farm Management Podcast

by: Amanda Douridas and Elizabeth Hawkins

Stay on top of what is happening in the field and the farm office as Amanda Douridas and Elizabeth Hawkins interview experts in agronomy and farm management. Hosted by Ohio State University Extension, this podcast takes a bi-monthly dive into specific issues that impact agriculture, such as: weather, land value, policies, commodity outlooks, and more.

This podcast began in May 2018 and has a great library of podcasts to choose from. This winter, we will feature some of the Ask the Expert interviews that occurred during Farm Science Review on Farm Management topics. Catch up on the ones you missed during the show.

Subscribe through iTunes at http://go.osu.edu/iTunesAFM or Stitcher at http://go.osu.edu/StitcherAFM to have the newest episodes added to your playlist. Stay up to date with us on Facebook @AFMPodcast and Twitter @AFM_Podcast.

 

2019 Outlook Meetings to be held Across Ohio

by Amanda Douridas, Extension Educator

Ohio State University Extension is pleased to announce the 2019 Agricultural Outlook Meetings! In 2019 there will be seven locations in Ohio. Each location will have a presentation on Commodity Prices- Today’s YoYo. Additional topics vary by location and include U.S. Trade Policy: Where is it Headed, Examining the 2019 Ohio Farm Economy, Weather Outlook, Dairy Production Economics Update, Beef and Dairy Outlook, Consumer Trends, and Farm Tax Update.

Join the faculty from Ohio State University Extension and Ohio State Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Developmental Economics as they discuss the issues and trends affecting agriculture in Ohio. Each meeting is being hosted by a county OSU Extension Educator to provide a local personal contact for this meeting. A meal is provided with each meeting and included in the registration price. Questions can be directed to the local host contact.

The outlook meeting are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

Date: January 14, 2019 Time: 7:30 am – 10:30 am Speakers: Ben Brown, Barry Ward, Ian Sheldon, Zoe Plakias, Aaron Wilson Location: Emmett Chapel, 318 Tarlton Rd, Circleville, OH 43113 Cost: $10.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension Pickaway County 740-474-7534 By: January 12th More information can be found at: http://pickaway.osu.edu

Date: January 17, 2019 Time: 8:00 am – noon Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, Ian Sheldon, Aaron Wilson Location: Der Dutchman, Plain City, 445 S Jefferson Ave. Cost: $15.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Union County 937-644-8117 By: January 10th More information can be found at: http://union.osu.edu

Date: January 24, 2019 Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 noon Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, David Marrison Location: St Mary’s Hall 46 East Main St. Wakeman, OH 44889 Cost: No Charge; $20.00 if past deadline RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Huron County 419-668-8219 By: January 22nd More information can be found at: http://huron.osu.edu

Date: January 28, 2019 Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Speakers: Ian Sheldon, Ben Brown, Aaron Wilson Location: Jewell Community Center Cost: $10.00 (after deadline $20.00) RSVP: OSU Extension, Defiance County 419-782-4771 By: January 22nd More information can be found at: http://defiance.osu.edu

Date: January 30, 2019 Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm Speakers: Ian Sheldon, Ben Brown, Barry Ward, Dianne Shoemaker, David Marrison, Kenneth Burdine Location: Fisher Auditorium Cost: $15.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Wayne County 330-264-8722 By: January 24th More information can be found at: http://wayne.osu.edu

Date: February 13, 2019 Time: 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, Ian Sheldon Location: Wayside Chapel, 2341 Kerstetter Rd.,  Bucyrus OH 44820 Cost: $15.00 RSVP: Call OSU Extension, Crawford County 419-562-8731 or email hartschuh.11@osu.edu By: February 5th More information can be found at: http://crawford.osu.edu

Date: March 22, 2019 Time: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Speakers: Barry Ward, Ben Brown, David Marrison, Ian Sheldon Location: Chamber Ag Day / Ag Outlook meeting, Darke County Romers 118 E Main St., Greenville Registration Flyer: http://go.osu.edu/2019darkeagoutlook Cost: $20 RSVP: Darke County Extension office at 937-548-5215 By: March 16th More information can be found at: http://darke.osu.edu

 

Livestock Building Rental Considerations

by: Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne County

Recently I have gotten some questions about rental of livestock buildings, specifically dairy facilities.   Typically, callers want to know a charge per square foot or a rental rate based on a per head basis or, for a dairy facility, based on number of free stalls.  The reality is that there is no one right or correct answer.   Several methods or approaches generate a dollar figure for rental.  However, view that number as a starting point in a rental negotiation. There are additional factors that affect the final rental rate.  Those factors include the age and condition of the building, location of the building, the functionality or obsolescence of the building, the demand for rental of this type of building and the character and personality of the parties involved in the rental agreement.

The simplest and most direct way of calculating a building rental rate is to use a commercial rate, a known market.  While these types of figures are available for grain storage and some equipment storage markets, they are not available for livestock building rentals.  We don’t have a commercial livestock building rental market.  A second method is to use survey data.   Survey data is commonly used to provide rates for custom farm work and cropland rental.  The reliability of those numbers is dependent upon getting significant numerous responses.  The issue with livestock building rental surveys is that there are a very limited number of surveys and those surveys generally have a small number of responses, so use results with caution.   You can get an answer that is fast, easy and very wrong for your situation.  The most recent farm building rental survey that I know of is a May 2014 document by the North Central Farm Management Extension Committee.  It is available on line as a pdf document at http://tiny.cc/farmbldgrentalsurvey.  The number of responses for dairy building rental varies between three and nine.

The best method to determining a rental rate for livestock buildings is to actually calculate some building ownership costs and use those figures as a starting point in coming to a rental rate agreement.  There are two basic categories of building ownership costs, variable and fixed.  Variable costs are dependent upon building use and the level or intensity of building use.  Those costs include utilities, use-related repairs and maintenance, and possibly costs of additional wear and tear beyond depreciation.  Often variable costs increase as the number of animal units or production level in the building increases.

Fixed costs are incurred regardless of the level of building use.  Fixed costs remain even if the building sits empty.  The fixed costs of building ownership include depreciation, interest, repairs (maintenance not related to building use), taxes and insurance.  The low end of any building rental agreement must cover at least the variable costs of using the building.  There must be some way to measure these costs, especially costs such as electricity, fuel, and water. However, the building owner realizes no gain until at least some portion of the fixed costs are included in a rental agreement.

The North Central Farm Management Extension Committee publication “Rental Agreements for Farm Buildings and Livestock Facilities” (http://tiny.cc/NCFMfarmbldgrental) contains a good worksheet to help building owners estimate ownership costs.  A basic starting point for determining ownership costs requires an estimate of the current value of the building to calculate depreciation.  One method commonly used is to determine a replacement cost for the current building along with an estimate of the useful life, generally in the 15 to 25 year range.  Next, determine how many years of useful life remain in the current building.  Depreciation is the replacement cost divided by useful years of life remaining in the current building.  If the building is under loan, then the interest cost is the actual interest payments on the building loan.  With no loan, calculate interest costs as a return on investment by multiplying an annual interest rate times the current value of the building.  The interest rate used could be the current rate to borrow money, the rate for invested dollars or possibly an average of the two.  The county auditor’s office can provide the building tax rate. Use the actual insurance policy for insurance costs.  Alternatively, multiply the current building value by 1.5% to get an estimate of tax and insurance costs.  The most accurate way to get cost of building repairs is from farm records. According to an Iowa State University publication entitled “Computing a Livestock Building Cash Rental Rate” (https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/html/c2-26.html), a value of two to four percent of the replacement (not current) value of the building provides a reliable estimate if records are not available.

For example, let’s say I investigate and find that it would cost $325,000 to build a new free-stall dairy barn of similar size, function and with comparable technology and features to what is currently present on the farm.  That building would have a 20-year life.  My current building is 8-years old, so I have 12 years of useful life remaining, equivalent to 60% (12 divided by 20) of the building replacement value.  The current value of my building is therefore $325,000 x 0.60 or $195,000.  The annual depreciation cost is $325000 divided by 12 (years of useful life left) equals $27,083. Note that in some cases, buildings may still be serviceable after their useful live and so depreciation expense could be zero.  For this example, assuming no outstanding loan on the building, I am going to calculate a conservative return on investment using an interest rate of 3% times the current value of the building ($195,000) equals $5850.  To calculate taxes and insurance costs ideally I use actual values, but in this example I will use 1.5% times the current building value equals $2925.  Next, I need to estimate repair costs.  I will use 3% times the replacement value ($325,000) equals $9750.  My total estimated fixed cost of building ownership is the sum of these calculations or $45,608 annually.

Knowing the fixed costs of building ownership can guide a rental negotiation.  The ideal situation is that the building renter, in addition to paying all the variable building costs, will cover the fixed costs as well.  In most markets that may not be realistic.  The next best-case scenario is that the cash costs of building ownership are covered after building variable costs.  Those costs include taxes, insurance and repairs.  In our example, those cash costs equal $12,675.  From a purely economic point of view, if an empty building can’t generate enough rental income to cover cash expenses in the foreseeable future, it is reasonable to consider demolishing the building.

I have found a couple of spreadsheets available on-line that can help to calculate building costs and potential rental rates.  They are available at https://www.agmanager.info/ksu-building-cost-rent, and https://dunn.uwex.edu/agriculture/farm-management/farm-lease-information/.  Click on “Lease Payment Evaluators”, then “Building Rental Evaluator”.

The most important piece of any building rental is a written lease.  The lease spells out not only the rental rate but also specifies dates of rent payments, what happens if rent is late, and how the rental agreement is renewed or terminated.  The lease contains provision about how repairs are handled, how water and utilities are paid for and maintained, limitations on modifications to the building, how many livestock can be housed, rights of entry and inspection and even how manure will be handled and where it will be applied. The North Central Farm Management Extension Committee publication “Rental Agreements for Farm Buildings and Livestock Facilities” contains a sample lease agreement that can serve as a starting point.

Finally, the characteristics of the potential renter are another consideration in a lease agreement.  Things like how they care for property, personal habits, reliability, honesty, temperament, how you get along with them, can all matter and might influence the rental price either upwards or downwards.

References and Livestock Building Rental Resources:

  • Computing a Livestock Building Cash Rental Rate, Iowa State University Extension publication C2-26.
  • North Central Farm Management Extension Committee publication “Rental Agreements for Farm Buildings and Livestock Facilities”, NCFMEC-04.
  • Figuring Rent for Existing Farm Buildings, Purdue University publication EC-451

 

 

Ohio Agricultural Lending Outlook: Fall 2018

Sources: Eric C. Davis, Robert Dinterman, and Ani L. Katchova
Farm Income Enhancement Program
Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics
The Ohio State University

Financial stress is a problem afflicting numerous Americans. The Financial Health Institute describes it as a “result of financial and/or economic events that create anxiety, worry, or a sense of scarcity”1. When trying to understand the level of financial stress that farmers are facing, the most tangible window through which to glimpse that condition is loan payments. By understanding whether or not farmers are able to make timely loan payments, one can know if farm income is sufficient to allow debts to be covered, and the most common way of doing this is by examining delinquency data, which is information that lending institutions report concerning the value of loans that are more than 90 days overdue. Read the full article by clicking on this link: Ag Lending Outlook FIE 2018-1mkmj88

Ohio State University Extension On-Farm Energy Demand Monitoring Project

Chris Zoller –Extension Educator, ANR & Eric Romich- Extension Field Specialist, Energy Education

Greater automation on farms has resulted in an increase in energy consumption on many farms. Due to increased electrical usage, many farms are now billed on a commercial rate structure. Unlike residential rates, which are based primarily on total energy usage measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), commercial accounts are also charged for the highest peak demand usage spike over a short time period measured in kilowatts (kW).

Ohio State University Extension secured grant funding to investigate how peak energy demand affects livestock facilities and, in turn, the manner by which farmers can implement energy management strategies, and make investments in equipment to minimize costs and promote long-term sustainability. We have equipment installed on six university and/or private swine and dairy farms across the state. Monitoring equipment installation was finalized earlier this year and we have begun collecting data from each cooperating farm. OSU Extension personnel involved in the project include Eric Romich, Tim Barnes, Rory Lewandowski, Eric Richer, Dale Ricker, and Chris Zoller.

While we are have not collected enough data to make any specific recommendations, we have a few months of data collected that has provided us the opportunity to make sure our monitoring equipment is functioning properly. As data is collected, it is shared with faculty and students in the Ohio State University College of Computer and Electrical Engineering. Students and faculty in the college analyze the data to develop a model that will help us interpret the findings.

Click Here to Access Full Report Which Shows Results

Observations

Many farmers are aware if they are on a demand rate. However, fewer farmers fully understand the details of how their demand charges are calculated including monthly measured demand formulas, power factor correction penalties, and if they are charged a minimum monthly demand based on seasonal spikes. These specific electric rate details greatly influence possible solution strategies.

Based on the preliminary data, there appears to be some motor loads that can be shifted (load shifting) to perform work during times when other critical motor loads are idle, thus reducing demand charges. Ultimately, energy management strategies to reduce demand cost will likely include a mixture of energy conservation, energy efficiency technologies, programmable logic controls and timers to preform load shifting, and possible on-site electric generation.

Summary

Obviously, farmers are interested in ways to reduce energy operational cost. However, before making investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy equipment, it is important to understand how you are charged for electricity. Some farms are still on residential electric rate tariffs and their bills are relatively easy to understand. However, because farms are using more electric, many farms are now on commercial electric rate tariffs that are more complex. Taking the time to investigate your rate tariff and analyze your consumption patterns will help you prioritize potential energy savings solutions, providing you the greatest return on your investment.