Should I Continue Farming?

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR  Tuscarawas County

 Introduction

Given the low prices of many farm commodities and a price outlook that may not be positive in the near term, you may be considering exiting agriculture.  Making a decision to sell part or your entire farm is not easy and brings with it a great deal of emotions.  Farmers have told me they worry about being seen as a failure, the impact a sale will have on family and employees, or what they will do with their life after the sale.  These are realistic concerns.  It’s important that you don’t let emotions drive the decision-making process.  Sometimes difficult business decisions must be made to preserve what is still left and plan for the future.

Finding someone you trust, who has good listening skills, and with whom you are comfortable discussing the details of your business, finances, goals, and options can be very helpful.  That person may not have the answers to all of your questions, but if they are willing to listen, they can offer advice and suggest people who can help.

Think of the following pages as a framework from which to begin the process of selling some or your whole farm.

Evaluate

Financial situation – What is the total amount of all debt obligations, to whom do you owe money, and how much is owed to each creditor?  What is your net worth?  Knowing the answers to these basic questions is important, regardless of your business or performance, and necessary to evaluate what and how many assets will need to sell.

Goals/Needs – Do you need to sell all or part of your assets?  Can you retain assets to farm part-time?  Is there another enterprise worth investigating?  Does it make sense to relocate and start a new business?  Are you at a stage in life where it’s best to retire and enjoy time with family, travel, or enjoy a hobby?

Life after farming – What skills do you possess?  You are more than ‘just a farmer’ – you probably have skills and/or education as a mechanic, electrician, carpenter, mason, nutritionist, agronomist, etc.  You have worked with livestock and machinery.  You may have an advanced degree that you can put to use.  You certainly have a great deal of practical, hands-on experience.

Your experiences, training, education, and skills will help you focus on finding your next career.  Maybe now is a time to take classes to increase your skills to enter a new career.  Talk to neighbors, family, and friends to let them know you are looking for a job.  State and county governments, as well as private companies, can assist you with identifying skills and job openings.

Decisions:

You and your business partners have agreed that a sale of assets is the best available option, but you don’t know where to begin.  The following can help you get the process started, answer questions, and/or raise issues you might not have considered.

Begin with a current balance sheet.  A balance sheet will provide you with a snapshot of your assets and liabilities at the time the inventories were recorded and values placed on them.  The balance sheet will also show your current and non-current debt obligations.

Determine whether you will sell all of your assets or a portion.  If only a portion, which ones?  If you are going to focus on crop production, you may want to retain a tractor(s), tillage equipment, planter or drill, harvest equipment, etc.

If assets are listed as collateral for loans, start talking to lenders immediately about how to handle the sale, discharging the lien, and the use of sale proceeds.

Meet with a farm appraisal real-estate professional to determine a reasonable value for the acres and any real estate assets you plan to sell.  Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a private sale, going through a realtor, or having a public auction.  If you use a realtor or auctioneer, determine the cost, services provided, and what is expected of you. Talk to more than one real-estate professional, request references, and ask that terms discussed be in writing.

Will the projected sale income be enough to cover debt obligations?  If not, what is the next plan of action?  If the sale of livestock isn’t enough to pay your debts, what else needs to be included?  Maybe it’s milking equipment, stalls, feed mixer.  While it provides a one-time cash infusion, the sale of timber or minerals may provide extra income.  The sale of real estate is an option.  You may not want to sell all of your acreage, but maybe there are a few acres you could sell.

Involve an attorney.  Contact one early and make them aware of your plans.  There may be issues related to the sale you hadn’t considered (for example, say you plan to divide a parcel into building lots, there may be zoning or other regulations to follow and associated court filings).

Meet with your tax advisor/accountant.  There are going to be tax implications from the sale of assets.  How many dollars must be set aside to meet tax obligations or liabilities?  A tax professional can help you implement strategies to minimize the tax bill.  As a financial advisor once told me, the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion is about seven years!

Help is available

Coming to and making a decision to exit farming is not easy and is filled with a great deal of emotions.  There are people and agencies/organizations that can help, including:

Summary

Arriving at the decision to sell will not be easy.  Find someone with whom you can share your feelings and don’t see yourself as a failure.  Talk to professionals, get answers to your questions, and make the best possible decisions.  There are many people who can help you through this process!

 

Reviewed by:

David Marrison, Associate Professor and Extension Educator, ANR, Ashtabula County

Peggy Hall, Legal Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Dianne Shoemaker, Extension Specialist, Dairy, Ohio State University Extension

Susan Crowell, Editor, Farm and Dairy Newspaper

Farm Business Analysis and Benchmarking

by: Clint Schroeder, OSU Extension

As we turn the page from winter to spring we welcome the longer days and the warmth the sunshine brings us.  In farm country this is the time of year that hope is supposed to spring eternal.  As farmers head to the fields, they may not be as optimistic as previous years.  Although we’ve seen a nice winter rally in the grain markets, USDA forecasts are still predicting net farm incomes to decrease to the lowest levels since 2006.  Much of the talk on the winter meeting circuit focused on the importance of knowing your cost of production.  OSU Extension’s Barry Ward is forecasting higher energy prices with most other input costs staying flat to slightly higher.  Rising interest rates, high health care costs, a strong dollar, and the potential for uncertainty with our trading partners are doing little to brighten the mood.  The dim outlook coupled with already razor thin profit margins are starting to remind some of the more seasoned producers of the 1980’s farm crisis.

The farm crisis of the 1980’s saw land values plummet as many operations were unable to pay high interest rates and saw their farms foreclosed on.   It is estimated that nationwide around 300,000 farms were put out of business during the decade.  The fallout led to the creation of the Farm Financial Standards Task Force in 1989.  Their job was to develop standardized guidelines for agricultural producers.  Today, the name has changed to the Farm Financial Standards Council (FFSC), which currently uses 21 financial guidelines to evaluate farm data.  These guidelines are used by banks and lenders to help make decisions on extending credit to farms.  While the backstory might be a little bit of the unknown to producers, the terms liquidity, working capital, solvency, and several others are not.

While farmers have been relying on OSU Extension for help with developing nutrient management plans, herbicide plans, and analyzing data from on farm research, they have not yet realized the full potential of farm financial planning.  A grant was awarded from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to expand access to farm business analysis and benchmarking resources with the goal of helping Ohio farmers gain a better understanding of their financial health.  The program gives producers a farm finance scorecard that shows how they stack up in each of the FFSC’s 21 categories.  These numbers are then shown on graphs showing the trend from previous years for that specific operation, as well as their standings compared to the national average of all farms that submit their records.  Benchmark reports are used to identify successes and opportunities to improve.   Each farm that participates in the analysis program will receive personalized benchmark reports that include their farm’s numbers.  These individual values are then highlighted to show where their farm falls in the benchmark report for each item compared to participating Ohio farms.

Farm Business Analysis isn’t just for farms focusing on grain production.  There is a large network of dairy farms, primarily in Eastern Ohio, already participating. When multiple enterprises are present, the analysis can help producers allocate expenses between different areas in their operation.  Whether the farm wants to compare their crops on owned versus rented land, their crop operation compared to their livestock, or the profitability of an individual crop or custom farming operation there are tools available to analyze the data provided.  It has been estimated that the value of the benchmarking data, financial scorecard, and enterprise analysis is well over $1000.  Thanks to the grant from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, OSU Extension is able to provide this service at a cost of only $100.  Several lenders have also stepped up and agreed to reimburse operations that successfully complete an analysis.

If you would like more information on the program, visit our website at https://farmprofitability.osu.edu  There you will find the completed business summaries for previous years and other resources that can help farm businesses.  The Farm Business Analysis team has also grown from the original location in Mahoning County with the addition of four new regional technicians.  To learn more about Farm Business Analysis, contact the technician closest to you:

  • Defiance County:  Clint Schroeder, 419.782.4771, schroeder.307@osu.edu
  • Licking County: David Grum, 740.670.5315, grum.1@osu.edu
  • Miami County: Sharon Harris, 937.440.3945, harris.2835@osu.edu
  • Pickaway County: Trish Levering, 740.474.7534, levering.43@osu.edu
  • Mahoning County (Headquarters): Christina Benton, 330.533.5538, benton.132@osu.edu
    • Program Coordinator: Haley Shoemaker, 330.533.5538, shoemaker.306@osu.edu
    • Field Specialist: Dianne Shoemaker, 330.533.5538, shoemaker.3@osu.edu

Market Reacts to Proposed Tariffs

Source: Ben Brown, Program Manager- Farm Management Program, College of Food, Agricultural, & Environmental Sciences, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics

Here is an update on where we stand today on corn and soybean exports and how the markets are responding to the tariff announcements between the US and China. Several of you have probably followed the story in the news and are already aware of what’s going on.

Quick recap of the timeline- The Administration imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on steel and aluminum imports for all trading partners and then started to provide exemptions for countries that were willingly working on a free trade agreement. The United States is a net importer of steel with most of our imports coming from Canada and the European Union. China is the world’s largest producers of steel but only 2% of their product is exported to the United States. President Trump removed the steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada, Kora, EU and some of the other trading partners but left the tariff on China. This accounts for about a 3-billion-dollar loss to the Chinese. On Monday the Chinese announce tariff on U.S. pork imports at 25%. This is a huge blow to an industry that was already seeing breakeven to negative per head returns. Our estimate given current budgets was a loss of about 10 dollars per head.

Yesterday the Administration announced proposed tariffs on intellectual property rights and other Chinese products to the tune of about 50 billion dollars. That was met with response today with China announcing tariffs on 100 plus agricultural good at a rate of 25% to be enacted the day the U.S. enacts their tariffs. Important to note that the tariffs are not in place, but the market is reacting to uncertainty.

That brings us to where we are today. Half of the U.S. soybean crop is exported and 62% of the exports go to China, meaning that one third of the U.S. production of soybeans goes to China. Given tariffs at 25%, my estimate from the model shows that we could lose 60-70 percent of our export market to China. That means that if these tariffs go into effect only a fifth of our soybean production would go to China or 1 in 5 soybean rows. Those soybeans will need a buyer. Some will be kept in the United State and fed for feed grain and some will be exported to other world markets because of the lower price.

Argentina has mostly harvested their crop and while it was down in total production due to a drought, they will pick up some soybean market share in China. The big winner is Brazil. They had a relatively strong soybean crop and will be ready to export soybeans. Their second growing season this year is in large percentages corn, but they will also have some soybeans harvested in a couple of months. Like the U.S. drought of 2012, the U.S. will lose market share of soybean exports and it is not certain when we could gain that back. The lower soybean price will lower cost for hog producers and my estimate is now a 7 dollar per head loss.

The United States exports very little corn to start with, only 15% of production not taking into account ethanol exports, and of that the bulk goes to Mexico and Japan. The 25% Chinese tariff won’t affect the corn price as much as the soybean price. However, with a lower world soybean price an incentive to grow corn presents itself. More corn acres would pull down the price of corn. Right now the corn market is down about 7 cents but has been down 12 cents. The perspective planting report that came out Thursday showed an intention by U.S. producers to plant 88 million acres of corn or roughly 2% less than last year. Weather will be the big player between now and June when the next planting report comes out as a wet spring will push some corn acres into soybeans. Even with the tariffs on corn today, I’m still optimistic for a rally in corn prices this summer into harvest. I think we will see an increase in the marketing year average price for corn next week in the WASDE based on the assumption that our feed usage of corn stays between 35 and 40% for the second half of the marketing year.

To the average U.S. consumer these tariffs could cheapen food products at the expense of higher manufactured goods like technology imported from China. Food consumption makes up a relatively small portion of our expenditures meaning that the higher manufactured goods could be higher than the gain from cheaper food.

From a farm management stand point, this could mean higher equipment and input costs along with lower output prices. A double whammy for farmers.

In Ohio we saw a decrease in the amount of corn held in storage which likely means a weakening of basis while soybean on hand was larger signaling a strengthen in basis.

All in all, the markets are reacting to uncertainty. However, if the Administration does move forward with the tariffs we could continue to see decreases in soybean prices and possibly modest decreases in corn prices. The futures market for soybeans is down 38 cents right now but was 60 cents down when I woke up this morning. I look for a little bit of a rebound later today and tomorrow as I think the markets over reacted to some extent, but will not return to the level they were prior to today.

This will also complicate the farm bill adding another hurdle to the already narrow window that existed of getting it done this year.

SU Extension to Host 5th Annual East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference

Ohio State University (OSU) Extension will host the 5th Annual East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference.  The conference is planned for Friday, April 6 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. at the RG Drage Career Technical Center, 2800 Richville Drive SE in Massillon.  All women and young women (high school age) who are interested, involved in, or want to become involved with food, agricultural, or natural resources production or small business are encouraged to attend.

The conference program features a networking fair, sixteen breakout sessions, and two extended breakout sessions presented by OSU Extension educators, producers and partner agencies.  Sessions are focused around five themes: Business & Finance, Plants & Animals, Communication, Home & Family and Special Interest (branding and online marketing).  The keynote speaker will be Rose Hartschuh – farm wife, mother, Agvocate, and recent winner of the American Farm Bureau Excellence in Agriculture Award.

Registered participants, community organizations or businesses interested in sponsorship information, and/or securing an information/vendor table, should contact the OSU Extension Coshocton County office at 740-622-2265.

Interested individuals can register for the conference on-line at go.osu.edu/eowia2018 .Cost of the conference is $55 for adult participants and $30 for students.  Conference fee includes conference participation, continental breakfast, lunch and conference handouts.   A special discount is available for those women and students who also plant to attend the Northeast Ohio Small Farm Conference on Saturday, April 7. Deadline for registration is Friday, March 23. For more information contact the OSU Extension Holmes County Office at 330-674-3015.

 

 

Estimates for Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Payments for Program Year 2017

by: Ben Brown, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics- The Ohio State University

Click Here to Access the Entire Article With Figures/Tables

The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 2014 ushered in two programs to the safety net for producers in Ohio and across the country: Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC0-CO) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Both programs serve as shallow loss programs protecting against large variations in revenue and price respectively. The two programs operate differently and should not be compared as substitute programs. However, producers were allowed a one time choice at the beginning of the farm bill to enroll each commodity in either ARC-CO or PLC. Participation rates in Ohio largely followed the national participation rates for corn and soybeans but differed for wheat. The national participation rate for wheat favored PLC, whereas in Ohio, producers favored heavily toward ARC-CO. Nonetheless there are producers in Ohio that are enrolled in ARC-CO and PLC for corn, soybeans, and wheat. This report looks toward the end of the marketing year to estimate county level payments for ARC-CO and PLC in Ohio. As a reminder, payments finalized in October 2018 will be for program year 2017. This information will be important for producers and lenders wishing to estimate their autumn cash flow.

In October of 2017, the majority of producers in Ohio received some form of commodity program payment for the program year 2016. In fact, every county across Ohio triggered a corn ARC-CO payment except Ashtabula county. Soybean ARC-CO payments for Ohio in program year 2016 were smaller and sparce compared to corn.  The majority of Ohio counties triggered a wheat ARC-CO payment, but smaller base acres of wheat exist. In program year 2017, it is estimated fourteen counties triggered corn payments while nearly half triggered soybean payments and two thirds triggered wheat payments.

Data Source and Calculation:

ARC-CO payments are based on a formula separated into two parts: historical revenue benchmark and actual year revenue. The historical revenue benchmark is the Olympic average of yields and prices for the five previous cropping years at 86% of the total. The actual year revenue is the current year yields multiplied by the Marketing Year Average (MYA) price for each commodity. In the case where the current year revenue falls below the historical revenue benchmark, a payment is triggered up to a 10% cap. If the current year revenue is higher than historical revenue then no payment is triggered.

As a reminder both ARC-CO and PLC payments are calculated from a formula using Farm Service Agency (FSA) yields and marketing year average prices. The estimations for this report use National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) yields for 2017. It should be noted that FSA yields are historically lower than NASS yields and should be treated as a lower bound for possible payments. NASS does not provide county yields for all counties, particially due to a low survey response rate. Counties with a NASS yield are included.

The corn and soybean marketing year is September 1st to August 31st meaning that final prices won’t be known for several more months. Using World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) average prices from February, MYA prices of $3.30 for corn, $9.30 for soybeans, and $4.60 for wheat are applied. As the marketing year progresses, it is likely that these estimates will flucuate with price. Higher price results in a smaller payment, similarily, a lower price results a larger payment.

MYA prices used in the historical calculation are as followed:

MYA 2012/13 MYA 2013/14 MYA 2014/15 MYA 2015/16 MYA 2016/17
Corn $6.89 $4.46 $3.70 $3.70 $3.70
Soybeans $14.40 $13.00 $10.10 $8.95 $9.50
Wheat $7.77 $6.87 $5.99 $5.50 $5.50

Years where the MYA price finished below the fixed reference price are replaced with the respective value and represented in bold above. Payments would be lower if the actual MYA price was used in the calculation. Soybeans have never finished below the reference price. Crossed out prices represent the highest and lowest values; these are thrown out in the Olympic average.

Established in the program payment calculations is a limit for payments on 85% of base acres. For simplicity purposes, these figures are adjusted to rates that represent the payment on 100% of enrolled acres. Because of the Budget Control Act of 2011, a 6.8% government sequester has been applied similar to payments made in program years 2014, 2015 and 2016. There is uncertainty as to how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will impact the sequestration level.

Corn Estimates

Expectations for program year 2017 corn ARC-CO payments will be smaller and rare across much of Ohio. This is largely because of the formula benchmark lowering each year as a result of lower prices. In previous years the historical five year revenue included high prices from MYA 2011/12 and 2012/13. Those have been worked out of the formula and the probability of triggering a payment has lowered. The 5 year olympic average price in 2016 was $4.79 compared to a price of $3.95 in 2017. Payment variations across counties happen due to variations in yields. Highland County triggers the largest estimated payment at $37 per acre as a result of a 2017 yield of 167 bu/acre compared to a 2016 yield of 176. The average payment in 2016 was $57 whereas in 2017 it is estimated at $12. Fewer counties are expected to receive a payment with a smaller average payment in comparison from 2016.

Soybean Estimates

In a complete reverse of 2016, the majority of counties in Ohio are expected to trigger a soybean ARC-CO payment due to smaller county soybean yields and a lower historical revenue benchmark. County yields across Ohio were closer to historical trend than previous years and the five year MYA prce was $10.86 in 2017 compared to $11.86 in 2016. Payments are projected larger in the northern part of the state where soybean acres are more prevalent. In 2016, 29 Ohio counties triggered an ARC-CO payment whereas in 2017, 49 counties are expected to trigger a payment.  The average payment in 2016 was $23, whereas in 2017 the average payment is projected at $19. In difference to corn more counties are expected to trigger a payment, but similar to corn the payments are expected to be smaller in 2017.

Wheat Estimates

Corn and soybeans represent the majority of commodity base acres in Ohio with over 4 million base acres of corn and over 3 million base acres of soybeans. Wheat has just over 800 thousand base acres enrolled in ARC-CO or PLC.  However, 82% of wheat base acres have ARC-CO enrollment. In 2016, all but four Ohio counties triggered an ARC-CO payment with an average payment rate of $32. In 2017, the estimated average payment rate is $24 in roughly two-thirds of Ohio’s counties. The lower rate is a product of a higher expected MYA price for the current year of 2017/18. The largest payments are located along the Indiana/Ohio boarder.

PLC Payments

PLC county payments estimates can be made at this time, but with less certainty. Largely because the PLC program has a higher focus on the current MYA price, which is being replaced with the WASDE estimated average price. In Ohio, 3% of soybean base acres, 7% of corn acres and 18% of wheat acres are enrolled in the PLC program. PLC calculation includes taking the positive difference of the fixed reference price minus the current MYA price. Fixed reference prices are as followed: corn- $3.70, soybeans- $8.40, and wheat- $5.50. Given current WASDE projections for a high, low and average MYA price, a PLC payment is triggered at all three levels for corn and wheat with differing levels of size while soybeans do not trigger a payment at any level. PLC payments are expected to be larger for corn than last year while smaller for wheat. Soybeans have never triggered a PLC payment since the creation of the farm bill.

Summary

Payments for ARC-CO and PLC will not be made until later in the calendar year, but for cash flow, planning an estimate can be seen as important. Estimates for program year 2017 include fewer counties in Ohio triggering a corn ARC-CO payment in 2017 compared to 2016 with a smaller average payment of $12. This is due to a lower historical benchmark after high prices were removed from the five year Olympic average. In relation to 2016, more Ohio counties are expected to trigger a soybean ARC-CO payment with a smaller per acre average payment rate. Yields closer to a historical trend line have created a higher probability of a soybean payment for half of Ohio’s 88 counties. Like corn, a similar story exists for wheat where fewer counties are expected to receive a payment with a lower average per acre payment rate compared to 2016. A higher expected current year marketing year average brings the current year revenue above the historical benchmark for a third of Ohio’s counties. PLC payment rates are expected to be higher for corn and lower for wheat in 2017 than 2016, but applies to a small percentage of Ohio base acres. Soybeans are not expected to trigger a PLC payment. Estimates for ARC-CO and PLC for each county are included in the appendix.

These are estimates of what payment rates could look like in the majority of Ohio’s 88 counties. Yields and prices will be finalized by the Farm Service Agency later in the calendar year.

Data Sources:

United State Department of Agriculture- Farm Service Agency. ARC/PLC Program. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, 2018.

United States Department of Agriculture- National Agricultural Statistics Service. County Yields. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, 2018

United States Department of Agriculture- World Agricultural Outlook Board. World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, WASDE-574, February 8, 2018.

 

Management in Today’s Dairy Economy

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR – Tuscarawas County

The dairy economy is extremely difficult today and there is no definitive answer as to when it might improve.  I have talked and sat around the kitchen table with a number of families who are concerned about their situation and future.  Times are not easy and the decisions that need made are difficult and filled with emotion.  While it will not solve the problem, understand you are not alone and most of your peers are facing the same difficult decisions.

There are a number of potential options to consider when analyzing farm financial records and looking at ways to trim expenses.  There is no ‘recipe’ for solving each situation because each farm is unique.  Below are some things I’ve talked with farm families about when exploring options.

Communication – is always important and becomes more critical when finances are tight.  Open communication must occur between and with:

  • Business partners & spouses
  • Lender
  • Veterinarian, nutritionist, suppliers, etc.
  • Items such as new equipment purchases vs. repairing existing equipment, knowing your financial situation, developing a plan to stay or get current with your expenses, are examples of items to communicate.

Present Situation

Start by knowing where you are today.  Regardless of the system you use to track farm income and expenses, analyze the numbers you have.  Do you know your cost of production? Has your farm historically been profitable or have you struggled for a long period of time to be profitable?  What’s holding you back from achieving consistent profitability?  Have you analyzed the profitability of individual enterprises that make up your farm?

Potential Options

Every farm is different and each situation is unique when it comes to evaluating options.  Factors such as the number of cows, number of family and employees, level of milk production, debt, number and type of crop acres, among others, make it impossible to give a ‘recipe’ that will be appropriate for each farm.  Based on my discussions with families, below are thoughts on possible options.

  • Evaluate areas for potential cost savings.
    • Talk to your nutritionist. Ask questions about ration ingredients, their purpose and cost.  Can you remove something from a ration without negatively impacting animal health or milk production?  Can you adjust the dry cow diet or management to reduce expenses without a negative result?
    • Can changes be made in your cropping program? Are you soil testing?  If so, are you following the recommendations?  Lime is sometimes the first crop input to be reduced, but I caution you in doing so.  A pH imbalance can result in poor nutrient uptake and reduced yields.  OSU Extension has conducted a number of on-farm research studies you may find useful when looking to reduce costs.  Consult your OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator for more information.
  • Talk to your lender
    • Explain your situation, goals, and ask about options. Can you stretch any of your debt over a longer period?  What is your plan to pay the debt?  How will it cash flow?
  • Sell scrap and/or unused equipment
    • This is a one-time cash infusion that will not help over the long-term.
  • Sell timber/coal/other minerals
    • Selling timber or other resources provides cash for the immediate term, but does little to help in the long-term. In the case of timber, depending upon a number of factors, it may 20 or more years before another harvest can occur.
  • Sell livestock
    • Again, this gives some cash, but you can’t keep selling the cows that are producing milk. However, you should eliminate from the herd those cows that are poor producers, have health issues, are difficult breeders, etc.
  • Sell land
    • Is there some acreage that you don’t need, is poor quality, or doesn’t yield well? Depending upon your level of debt, this may be a viable option worth consideration.  Can you retain enough acres to continue with a different venture?
  • Off farm employment
    • You or your spouse may need to explore potential off farm employment. The extra income can help lessen the burden on the farm and reduce stress.
  • Sell the farm
    • It isn’t what you want to do, but may be your only option.

Consider Implications of Your Decisions

This list of potential options is not exhaustive, but is meant to serve as a starting point for discussion.  Some options may not be viable, while others may be worth giving consideration.  Regardless of the decision you make, keep in mind there may be tax or legal implications for which you must prepare.  Make certain you contact professionals in these areas who can answer questions and provide direction.

Seek  Outside Advice

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There are plenty of people, including family, clergy, friends, OSU Extension professionals, licensed therapists, and counselors, willing to listen, provide support, and assist you.  The decisions to be made are often filled with much emotion.  While understandable, allowing emotions to drive your decision making can result in poor outcomes.  Seek the advice of an outside party to help you and your family evaluate options and arrive at a decision that best suits everyone.

(Note: This article was originally published in Farm & Dairy on March 16, 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

OHIO SMART AGRICULTURE Programs to be held across Ohio in March

OSU Extension would like to invite producers from across Ohio to help plan for the future of Ohio Agriculture by attending one of the OHIO SMART AGRICULTURE programs which will be held across Ohio this March.  The meeting dates are March 5 ( OSU South Centers); March 8 (Clark County); March 14 (Wood County); March 15 (Wayne County); and March 16 (Fairfield County).

This series of meetings are seeking FEEDBACK from Ohio producers and agriculture stakeholders to help identify, design, and deploy strategies to support SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE in Ohio to feed not only the world, but especially our most vulnerable neighbors right here in Ohio.  The goal is an ACTION PLAN for RESILIENT AG.   Please join us to share your views and recommendations at this forum.  Meet and discuss with fellow stakeholders from the agricultural, environmental, food security and health fields about safeguarding agriculture for Ohio’s future.

There is no cost to attend any of these meetings.

 To help to plan for program handouts and refreshments, please RSVP to: Shannon Mott at smott@sfldialogue.net

More information can be found at:

http://go.osu.edu/InFACT

2018 NE Ohio Living Your Small Farm Dream Conference

The 2018 NE Ohio Living Your Small Farm Dream conference will be held on Saturday, April 7 at the RG Drage Career Center, located at 2800 Richville Drive SW in Massillon Ohio.  The conference provides education and topics of interest for small farm and rural landowners.  Participants will walk away from the conference with knowledge and ideas of how to improve existing enterprises or marketing opportunities.  For those who have some acreage but don’t yet know what to do with it, the conference is an opportunity to consider possibilities, gather information and make contacts.

The 2018 Living Your Small Farm Dream conference offers 26 different breakout sessions divided between five different track topics; Horticulture, Livestock, Marketing, Farm Management and Specialty Crop.  Presenters include OSU Extension specialists, Extension Educators, Business owners, and small farm producers/entrepreneurs.  Conference participants will have the opportunity to attend four different sessions over the course of the four breakout sessions.  The Small Farm conference trade show offers another opportunity to learn and gather information.  The trade show vendors/exhibitors feature goods and services used in small farm operations.  The conference schedule includes time between each breakout session and over an extended noon hour to visit the trade show.

The specialty crop track features sessions on malting barley and hop production to tap into the growing microbrewery businesses.  One session involves a panel discussion with several local microbreweries who will share their stories and use of locally sourced ingredients in their products.  The horticulture track offers sessions on growing grapes, brambles, vegetables, flowers, beekeeping, use of soil amendments, and managing soil health.  The livestock track includes sessions on raising and marketing pasture produced beef and poultry, as well as hay production and Ohio livestock care standards.  The farm management track includes Ag law, business planning, tax issues, farmland renting, health care issues, and creating profitable small farm enterprises.  The marketing track includes a two-hour super session focused on developing on-farm agritourism and agriculture entertainment businesses as well as sessions on how to scale up your small farm business to take advantage of marketing opportunities and a session on developing a distribution system for locally grown foods.

Conference registration/sign-in and the trade show opens at 8:00 am on April 7.  Following some brief conference opening comments at 9:00 am, the first breakout session begins at 9:30 am.  The conference concludes by 4:00 pm.  Conference registration is $60/person or, if attending the Women in Agriculture Conference at the same location on April 6, plus the Small Farm Conference on April 7; $100 for a combined registration.  Student discounts are $30 for attending the small farm conference alone or $50 if attending both the Women in Agriculture and the Small Farm conference. Pre-registration for both the Small Farm conference and the Women in Agriculture conference is due March 23.  On-line registration is available at go.osu.edu/NESmallFarmReg.  A Living the Small Farm Dream conference brochure that lists session topics and presentation times along with a mail-in registration form, and a document with descriptions of all the presentation topics is available at go.osu.edu/NEOHSmallFarms.

For more information about the Living Your Small Farm Dream conference contact Rory Lewandowski in the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722, email: lewandowski.11@osu.edu; or Emily Adams in the Coshocton County Extension office at 740-622-2265, email: adams.661@osu.edu .

Swine Contract Finishing What You Need to Know

by: Garth Ruff-  ANR Educator – OSU Henry County Extension

Napoleon, Ohio — With the new Clemens Food Group packing plant up and running in Coldwater, Michigan there is a need for contract finishing facilities within close proximity to the plant. Northwest and Northcentral Ohio offer tremendous opportunity as Ohio integrators continue to expand their herds in response to the increase in packing capacity. Furthermore, as corn and soy price projections look steady for the foreseeable future, contract swine finishing may be a way to diversify your farming enterprise.

If you have considered or are interested in becoming a contract swine feeder, join OSU Extension on March 1 at the American Legion Annex, 500 Glenwood Avenue, Napoleon. Topics will include barn siting, contract agreements, loan acquisition, manure management, and outlook for the pork industry.

Contact her for Program Flyer

On hand, to present the above topics will be OSU Swine Specialist, Dale Ricker, lenders from AgCredit, Garth Ruff, Henry County Extension Educator, and a panel of Northwest Ohio’s newest swine growers. Plan today to be part of the swine industry tomorrow.

 

Economic Contribution of Agricultural and Food Production Cluster to Ohio Economy – County Level Analysis

 

Contributors: Ben Brown, Ryan Brune, Connor Frame, and Megan Ritter

Click here for the entire PDF Article for the County Level Report

In November of 2017, researchers in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics released The Economic Contribution of Agricultural and Food Production to the Ohio Economy report with analysis of Ohio’s entire Agricultural and Food Production Cluster. Details of that report are included, but this serves as a parallel analysis of agriculture to each of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties. Key results match initial assumptions in those counties with large concentrations of equipment manufacturing, professional services and diary & milk production led total economic contribution by the production agriculture subsector. In addition, counties containing relatively high food processing see the largest total sector contributions, and that counties with relatively small populations experience a higher percentage of employers involved in food and agriculture related careers. Large population centers within Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton counties produced high economic contributions, but had low total population participation in agriculture. Data obtained from IMPLAN, a North Carolina based economic software company, provided the most recent total values, while the North American Industry Classification System was used to determine the percent agriculture contributed to each sector. The IMPLAN model estimates value added for 536 separate subsectors within Ohio’s economy. Unlike the statewide report, these county level calculations do not include the contribution from restaurants and bars. It also includes Farm Inputs, Equipment and Farm Professional Services in the agricultural production subsector.

Key findings in the statewide report: Ohio’s Agricultural and Food Production Cluster plus Restaurant and Bars account for $1 in every $13 of Ohio’s GSP and 1 in 8 jobs in Ohio. Each county differed in these ratios, but as expected large population counties were negatively correlated with small population counties in economic contribution and percentage of workforce involved in agriculture. The total statewide economic value added contribution of the Agricultural and Food Production Cluster minus Restaurants and Bars was $32.5 billion dollars and accounted for a little over 5 percent of the state’s gross state product. Value added being the sum of sales minus input costs for each sector. Example: corn production minus seed, fertilizer, ext. The sector employed 402,874 Ohioans in 2015 and because of purchases outside the cluster; a multiplier of 1.6 was used for every dollar of valued added making the total contribution $53 billion. Multipliers are a way of capturing the money spent within Ohio made from an agricultural sector that is then used to purchase additional products, like household items, into the economic contribution.

Declining commodity prices for corn, soybeans and milk in recent years have lowered the value added contribution of some counties, especially those that have corn, soybeans and milk ranked in the top three subsectors. Other subsectors including fruit and vegetable production have shown an increase to the value added contribution. Along with decreasing commodity prices, increasing productivity due to technology advancements have correlated with a decrease in employment within agriculture and food production. Ohio’s characteristic as a top agriculture producing state remains strong, but external factors like increasing pressure on land values could be seen as a potential challenge for the production agriculture subsector.

The three main divisions of the Agricultural and Food Production Cluster: Agricultural Production, Agricultural and Food Processing and Food Wholesale/Retail are included in Table 1 with subsectors broken out under their respective division. Different from the statewide report is the inclusion of Farm Inputs, Equipment and Professional Services under the division of Agricultural Production instead of an isolated division.

Table 1: Classification of Sectors

Agricultural Production Agricultural and Food Processing Food Wholesale/ Retail  
Farm Inputs, Equipment and Professional Services Processed Meat, Fish, Poultry & Eggs Food and Forestry Wholesale
Dairy Cattle and Milk Production Dairy Processing Food and Forestry Retail
Beef Cattle Production

 

Processed Food & Kindred Products
Poultry & Egg Production

 

Grain Milling & Flour
Hogs & Other Farm Animals Fats & Oils Processing
Grain Production

 

Beverage Processing
Soybeans & Other Oil Seeds Wood/ Paper/ Furniture Manufacturing
Misc. Crops, Hay, Sugar, Tobacco & Nuts
Fruit & Vegetable Production
Greenhouse, Nursery & Floriculture Production
Forestry, Hunting & Fishing
Sum of Agriculture Production Sum of Food Processing Sum of Food Wholesale/ Retail Total Agricultural and Food Production Cluster

 

Starting with Total Value Added from the Agriculture and Food Production Cluster it is not surprising to see in Figure 1 that the top five counties also match five counties with large population centers. With Franklin, Hamilton, and Cuyahoga counties being the location of Columbus, Cincinnati, and Cleveland respectively, it was expected and found that the contribution of production agriculture in terms of both value added and employment was the smallest division contributor, with food processing being the largest contributing division in Franklin, Hamilton, Butler, and Stark Counties. Food wholesale/ retail was the largest contributing division for Cuyahoga County.  Statewide, the food processing sector was the largest contributing division at $14,986 million and 2.43% of the states’ Gross State Product (GSP).

Franklin County had a high food processing contribution due to the beverage processing sector at $916 million. Notable companies in the area include Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc., BrewDog USA, Coca-Cola and others according to the Columbus Economic Development Annual Report. Employment within the Cluster was also largely contributed from the beverage processing subsector. For Hamilton county, the beverage processing subsector was also the largest contribution to the food processing division. Boston Beer Company, the parent company of Sam Adams Beer, and The J.M. Smuckers Co., parent company to Folgers Coffee are major contributors to the subsector. Boston Beer Company produces 20 percent of all Sam Adams Beer within Hamilton County. Cuyahoga County was the lone county in the top five where the top contributing division was Food Wholesale/Retail. Multiple subsectors in this division contributed to the large value, but noticeable was the smaller value for the beverage processing subsector in the Food Processing division. Analysis was not conducted across all 88 counties, but based on the top total value added counties, counties with large beverage processing subsectors had food processing divisions that made up the largest portion of the county’s Agricultural and Food Cluster contribution. While Cuyahoga, Franklin and Hamilton Counties are only 3 out of 88, the population represents roughly 29 percent of Ohio’s population based on U.S. Census Bureau data and make up a large portion of the Cluster’s impact to Ohio.

Figure 1: Top Five Value Added Counties

In Figure 1, counties producing the largest total values of economic contribution from agriculture and food were identified, and it isn’t surprising that counties with relatively large total economies also had the largest contributions of agriculture. However, in none of the top five producing counties was production agriculture the top contributing division. To look at the relative value of production agriculture to a county’s economy we can use the value added from agricultural production as a percent of the counties total economic output and indeed counties with larger agricultural output in regards to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) do rise to the top.  However, this should not be interpreted as the five counties with the largest total value contribution from production agriculture. The 2016-2017 Ohio Agricultural Statistics Annual Bulletin shows that land use for agricultural purposes in Mercer, Darke, Paulding, Putnam and Union Counties are 93%, 89%, 83%, 99% and 88% respectively, where land use is the sum of cropland, pastureland, and woodland. Figure 2 illustrates where the five counties lie within Ohio.

Figure 2: Top Five Counties

County agriculture contribution profiles for Mercer and Darke counties were similar as both counties had the same two subsectors contributing the majority of value added products to the county economies: Poultry & Egg Production and Pork Production. For Paulding and Putnam counties there was not a specific subsector that stood above the rest, but more of a balanced distribution. Soybeans & Other Oil Crops had relatively high values for both counties. In contrast, Union County had a top contributing subsector of Farm Inputs, Equipment & Other Professional services that made up 9% of the entire counties economy. This subsector made up 90% of the contribution of the Agricultural and Food Cluster.

While one indication of contribution to a county’s economy is through the value added calculation, another indicator is the number of people employed with-in the Cluster. Similar to the total contribution illustration above in Figure 1, counties with high food processing and relatively large populations also have the largest total number of employment in agriculture, but have a low percentage in relation to the entire county population. Figure 3, identifies the five counties with the highest percentage of the population involved in the Agriculture and Food Cluster. As seen above, Franklin County had the largest total value added to the economy and the highest employment at almost 38 thousand people, but represents roughly 4% of the counties workforce. Whereas Jackson County did not make the top five in total value added contribution, but has 25 percent of its workforce involved in the Cluster.

Figure 3: Percent of Population involved in Agriculture and Food

Summary

Understanding components of the statewide economy are important, as trends within the sector help identify strengths and weaknesses. However, county analysis helps those within and around the industry become stronger more informed decision makers in issues relevant to the Agricultural and Food Production Cluster. Not surprising, counties with larger populations had the highest total value added contribution to the county’s economy and the highest number of employees within the work force, but had lower percentages of the county total in values and employees to those counties with small populations. In counties with large value added from the entire cluster, Food Processing was the largest contributing division for the majority of counties in the top five. A strong beverage-processing subsector helped elevate the Food Processing division for these counties.  Isolating the Production Agriculture division including Farm Inputs, Equipment and Professional Services as a percent of the county’s total economy identified five counties that have relatively high land use in agriculture and high total sales from agriculture commodities.

Individual county fact sheets for all eighty-eight Ohio counties are listed here:

https://aede.osu.edu/research/osu-farm-management/agricultural-impact/contribution-agriculture-county

Appendix I. includes a list of counties and their value of total contribution, value of production agriculture contribution, and employment. State rankings are in parentheses.

References:

“Columbus Region: Food and Beverage.” Columbus 2020, 2017.

DiCarolis, Janice. et al. The Economic Contribution of Agricultural and Food Production to the Ohio Economy. 2017.

IMPLAN. 2017. 2015 Ohio state data package. www.implan.com

Turner, Cheryl, and Brooke Morris. Ohio Agricultural Statistics 2016-2017 Annual Bulletin. USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2017.

US Census. 2017a. County Business Profiles. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/cbp.html

  Agriculture Production Value Added Ag Production % of Employment Total Cluster Value Added Total % of Employment
Adams $26,132,407 (72) 10% (5) $56,773,236 (77) 14% (13)
Allen $78,125,934 (19) 2% (65) $319,126,539 (24) 7% (64)
Ashland $74,074,340 (24) 5% (36) $184,902,491 (48) 10% (38)
Ashtabula $46,313,267 (52) 3% (56) $170,069,071 (50) 8% (59)
Athens $10,832,931 (82) 2% (63) $84,474,544 (69) 6% (74)
Auglaize $71,793,513 (25) 4% (39) $265,307,529 (34) 10% (33)
Belmont $48,773,321 (50) 3% (58) $145,203,550 (55) 8% (54)
Brown $32,761,777 (68) 7% (20) $61,715,467 (76) 11% (28)
Butler $49,768,789 (48) 1% (81) $1,323,431,575 (4) 6% (73)
Carroll $27,087,761 (71) 6% (22) $52,115,212 (78) 10% (37)
Champaign $41,533,589 (62) 5% (28) $106,563,182 (65) 11% (30)
Clark $49,500,983 (49) 2% (69) $287,447,821 (29) 7% (62)
Clermont $38,145,667 (65) 2% (70) $290,746,554 (27) 6% (75)
Clinton $53,920,762 (42) 4% (42) $132,673,146 (57) 8% (51)
Columbiana $56,804,685 (35) 3% (54) $264,737,172 (35) 9% (41)
Coshocton $60,830,386 (31) 7% (17) $187,589,390 (47) 15% (7)
Crawford $56,705,986 (37) 4% (40) $94,785,325 (67) 8% (57)
Cuyahoga $97,944,901 (9) >1% (86) $2,870,230,295 (3) 4% (88)
Darke $239,806,461 (4) 8% (12) $301,799,993 (25) 12% (23)
Defiance $74,738,470 (21) 5% (33) $132,202,917 (58) 9% (43)
Delaware $71,115,273 (26) 1% (78) $414,656,942 (15) 5% (81)
Erie $40,597,271 (64) 2% (62) $168,143,020 (51) 6% (68)
Fairfield $57,092,509 (34) 2% (64) $286,483,386 (30) 7% (66)
Fayette $41,430,653 (63) 4% (44) $203,165,951 (45) 13% (19)
Franklin $163,203,968 (5) > 1% (87) $4,233,913,386 (1) 4% (86)
Fulton $74,574,695 (22) 5% (34) $195,829,037 (46) 10% (32)
Gallia $15,592,444 (77) 6% (27) $37,233,957 (81) 8% (49)
Geauga $56,208,056 (38) 3% (61) $237,554,367 (40) 7% (63)
Greene $43,688,591 (56) 1% (77) $215,452,629 (43) 4% (83)
Guernsey $20,965,101 (75) 6% (26) $74,530,511 (72) 10% (35)
Hamilton $111,589,093 (8) >1% (88) $3,094,701,906 (2) 4% (85)
Hancock $56,118,896 (39) 2% (67) $385,962,349 (18) 9% (46)
Hardin $82,800,471 (14) 8% (13) $138,666,355 (56) 15% (11)
Harrison $10,621,659 (83) 7% (18) $28,975,047 (84) 13% (16)
Henry $54,239,652 (41) 6% (24) $334,766,774 (21) 18% (3)
Highland $45,616,926 (55) 9% (9) $76,818,531 (71) 13% (18)
Hocking $6,799,259 (87) 5% (32) $47,538,393 (79) 12% (22)
Holmes $132,411,907 (7) 7% (16) $385,876,069 (19) 22% (2)
Huron $89,862,265 (11) 5% (37) $324,490,460 (22) 11% (26)
Jackson $22,937,105 (74) 4% (47) $239,977,669 (39) 25% (1)
Jefferson $9,879,886 (84) 2% (71) $79,391,785 (70) 6% (69)
Knox $50,521,887 (47) 5% (30) $122,081,622 (62) 10% (34)
Lake $82,942,001 (13) 1% (80) $630,592,252 (10) 6% (76)
Lawrence $6,325,381 (88) 4% (41) $40,616,956 (80) 8% (55)
  Agriculture Production Value Added Ag Production % of Employment Total Cluster Value Added Total % of Employment
Licking $80,959,369 (17) 3% (57) $290,176,991 (28) 7% (61)
Logan $47,525,570 (51) 4% (45) $129,164,871 (61) 8% (58)
Lorain $75,209,443 (20) 1%  (73) $376,334,667 (20) 5% (78)
Lucas $65,557,760 (29) >1% (84) $745,401,227 (9) 4% (87)
Madison $69,435,722 (27) 4% (38) $113,507,126 (64) 8% (53)
Mahoning $43,627,477 (57) 1% (82) $413,002,404 (16) 5% (80)
Marion $82,089,222 (16) 3% (50) $261,902,767 (36) 10% (36)
Medina $67,362,783 (28) 2% (72) $492,849,630 (13) 6% (67)
Meigs $12,179,096 (81) 9% (6) $22,478,977 (87) 13% (17)
Mercer $287,020,607 (2) 7% (15) $486,428,489 (14) 16% (5)
Miami $41,628,715 (61) 3% (59) $320,490,163 (23) 9% (44)
Monroe $13,856,148 (79) 12% (2) $21,979,543 (88) 15% (12)
Montgomery $53,434,618 (43) >1% (83) $965,102,826 (8) 4% (84)
Morgan $13,011,573 (80) 9% (8) $23,902,013 (86) 14% (14)
Morrow $42,743,432 (59) 9% (7) $70,494,294 (73) 12% (20)
Muskingum $30,721,596 (70) 3% (55) $272,726,649 (33) 8% (47)
Noble $8,823,935 (85) 10% (4) $29,242,985 (83) 16% (6)
Ottawa $42,511,100 (60) 4% (43) $89,869,973 (68) 8% (56)
Paulding $54,709,543 (40) 12% (1) $66,561,674 (75) 15% (9)
Perry $14,860,292 (78) 8% (14) $30,646,479 (82) 12% (24)
Pickaway $58,449,378 (33) 5% (29) $104,937,335 (66) 9% (42)
Pike $20,526,229 (76) 4% (48) $69,036,918 (74) 11% (25)
Portage $33,902,467 (66) 1% (75) $282,939,009 (31) 5% (79)
Preble $52,009,567 (46) 9% (10) $171,486,943 (49) 15% (10)
Putnam $145,093,953 (6) 10% (3) $299,022,297 (26) 13% (15)
Richland $60,865,434 (30) 2% (66) $241,549,299 (38) 6% (72)
Ross $33,267,855 (67) 3% (52) $281,600,791 (32) 10% (39)
Sandusky $74,346,534 (23) 3% (53) $212,843,255 (44) 8% (48)
Scioto $24,304,785 (73) 3% (51) $117,445,217 (63) 7% (60)
Seneca $56,748,780 (36) 6% (25) $153,350,740 (52) 10% (31)
Shelby $80,446,033 (18) 3% (49) $226,462,435 (42) 9% (45)
Stark $82,669,192 (15) 1% (79) $1,225,863,198 (5) 7% (65)
Summit $53,052,421 (44) >1% (85) $1,086,245,523 (6) 4% (82)
Trumbull $46,191,278 (54) 1% (74) $256,092,067 (37) 6% (77)
Tuscarawas $52,437,891 (45) 3% (60) $227,995,907 (41) 8% (52)
Union $459,647,601 (1) 7% (21) $549,639,730 (12) 9% (40)
Van Wert $89,276,531 (12) 7% (19) $131,848,326 (60) 11% (27)
Vinton $8,559,330 (86) 8% (11) $27,107,972 (85) 17% (4)
Warren $46,224,334 (53) 1% (76) $552,430,711 (11) 6% (70)
Washington $30,966,222 (69) 4% (46) $132,119,584 (59) 8% (50)
Wayne $283,008,467 (3) 5% (31) $1,002,275,825 (7) 15% (8)
Williams $43,262,519 (58) 5% (35) $145,407,816 (54) 11% (29)
Wood $97,920,671 (10) 2% (68) $387,193,635 (17) 6% (71)
Wyandot $60,516,234 (32) 6% (23) $149,052,657 (53) 12% (21)