Farm Office Live Webinar to be Held on February 17 at 10:00 a.m.

Ohio’s farm and agribusiness industry are invited to attend OSU Extension’s  “Farm Office Live” webinar on Friday, February 17, 2023 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.  The Farm Office Team providing farm management and agricultural and resource law updates during this webinar.

This month’s session topics and featured speakers include:

Ohio Land Values and Cash Rents- Barry Ward

Making the 2023 Farm Bill Decision- Chris Bruynis

Legislative Update- Peggy Hall

Understanding Farm Insurance Policies – Robert Moore

Farm Accounting: Chart of Accounts with a Purpose- Bruce Clevenger

Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) & USDA Disaster Declarations- David Marrison

There is no fee to attend this session. Register or watch replays at:

Agricultural Guestworkers in Ohio: What We Know and Where We’re Going

Please join OSU Extension, with support from the Farm Financial Management and Policy Institute, and the Ohio Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs (OCHLA) on n February 15 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. to learn more about agricultural guest workers in our state.

Each year, OCHLA publishes Latino Community Reports designed to educate and facilitate discussion on particular challenges and opportunities facing Hispanic Ohioans. This season’s publication focuses on the H-2A guest worker population in Ohio. During this event, Anisa Kline, author of the report, will present original research results from her survey of 285 H-2A workers across Ohio.  Following her presentation stakeholders from across sectors will respond to her findings.  These panelists will include

Silvia Hernandez (Starting Point Outreach Center), Dr. José Salinas (Ohio Migrant Education Center), Phil Riehm (Riehm’s Produce), and Dr. Margaret Jodlowski (Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics, OSU). This panel will be moderated by OCHLA’s Executive Director, Lilleana Cavanaugh.

This program will be held  in Room 250A of the Agricultural Administration Building at The Ohio State University located at 2120 Fyffe Road in Columbus, Ohio.  A reception with light refreshments will follow starting at 2:30 p.m. This hybrid event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Click here for registration link.

Click here to access a program flyer about this event


OSU Extension Offering Quarterly Grain Market Update – Grab your Coffee for First Update on February 13

OSU Extension invites Ohio grain producers to grab a cup of coffee and join a quarterly grain market conversation with Dr. Seungki Lee, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (AEDE) from 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. on February 13, April 14, September 15, and November 17, 2023.

During these webinars held via Zoom, Dr. Lee will provide his insights on the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) crop report. “These early morning webinars will be a great way for Ohio farmers to learn more about the factors impacting the corn, soybean, and wheat markets” said David Marrison, Interim Director for OSU Extension’s Farm Financial Management and Policy Institute.  Producers are encouraged to bring their questions to this early morning conversation.

Click here for Coffee with Seungki Lee Flyer

There is no fee to attend these quarterly webinar sessions. Pre-registration can be made at These webinars are sponsored by: OSU Extension, Farm Financial Management & Policy Institute (FFMPI), and the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (AEDE) all located in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Valuing Growing Crops on Your Balance Sheet

by: Eric Richer & Clint Schroeder, OSU Extension

With the January USDA Winter Wheat Acreage Report indicating an increase in planted acres up 11% nationally, and more specifically, up 27% in Ohio (USDA-NASS), we thought it might be an opportune time to discuss how to accurately value growing crops (winter small grains and perennial forages) on your farm’s balance sheet. If the average Ohio farm increased winter wheat acreage by 20-30%, then that current asset schedule (or account) on the balance sheet should be impacted similarly.  When completing the balance sheet after the end of the year, it is quite easy to find precise values for the liabilities side (right side) of your balance sheet. However, we often see farmers taking very quick estimates (guesstimates?) of several current asset accounts.  This article will focus on how to accurately and precisely value three current asset schedules on your year-end balance sheet: growing crops, market livestock and crops on inventory.

Growing Crops

As indicated earlier, the growing crops schedule can often be determined with a very rough estimate or ignored completely. Valuing a winter small grain (wheat, barley, rye) that is anticipated for harvest is quite simple.  Simply add all the variable production costs that you have invested into that crop on the current tax year (as of December 31).  Generally, those costs include seed, starter fertilizer, fall herbicide, and perhaps, custom seeding. Often a Growing Crops schedule on the balance sheet asks you to include acres planted multiplied by the costs incurred per acre to date.

For late summer or fall seeded perennial forage crops like alfalfa and other hay, you should show a value of the growing crop in the seeding year.  In the seeding year, you are likely to incur expenses for starter fertilizer, seed, and perhaps, custom seeding. Once that perennial forage crop has been harvested, it is assumed that the crop is at full production. In subsequent years the acres of the crop should be noted on the balance sheet with no associated cost value unless a fertilizer or crop protection application was made after the final harvest for that calendar year.

For both small grains and perennial forages, do not include future land rent, as that will occur in the next tax year, and you already paid rent in the current tax year.

Market Livestock

For market livestock, getting a precise balance sheet value comes down to counting the head of market livestock and estimating approximate weights.  For prices, we encourage you to use your preferred livestock market to place a per pound value on those animals. Some prefer to “use round numbers” to estimate prices, but we would suggest you use exact values at the close of the last trading day (or week) of the year, that is, as of December 31st. Documenting this price in your balance sheet schedule allows you to reference those market prices in the future. It communicates to you “what the price was exactly one year ago”. We acknowledge that marketing on a per head basis may be the standard for some livestock, and in those situations, your judgement and experience should be used to value those livestock at the end of the year.

Crops on Inventory

For grain on inventory, use a similar approach as suggested for market livestock. Determine a good estimate of the bushels you have on inventory (on farm and at the elevator) and use the price at the close of the last trading day of the year from your preferred grain elevator. An exception to this rule would be for any bushels that have a pricing contract in place for the new year. The quantities and values set in the contract should be the numbers used on the balance sheet. If the grain has already been sold, but payment is being deferred until after the first of the year for tax purposes, that number should be reported as Accounts Receivable and not as Crops on Inventory.

For stored forages, we prefer using tonnage of hay and straw for a more universally recognized unit of measure.  In some cases, bales of forage may be the preferred unit. For forage price on December 31st, you can reference your preferred local hay auction yard or use your sales average for the current year.


When completing your balance sheet at the end of the year, we encourage you to use costs incurred for growing crops (wheat and first-year hay) and inventoried units of market livestock, grain on inventory and forages stored times the closing price at your preferred market on December 31st to arrive at accurate and precise current asset values.


Using Your Balance Sheet to Measure Financial Health of Your Farm

Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County &

Eric Richer, Field Specialist, Farm Management

At the start of the new year, you likely updated your farm balance sheet to accurately reflect the assets, liabilities, and net worth of your farm.  What can you learn from your current balance sheet?


The balance sheet is one of four financial statements critical to the management and operation of a farm business.  It is probably the simplest of the four but can provide you with a tremendous amount of information about the financial health of your farm, including the ability to measure the liquidity and solvency of your business.

A balance sheet includes two columns, on the left is a listing of the assets of the business and on the right is a list of the liabilities incurred by the business.  Subtracting liabilities from assets provides the calculated net worth or equity of the business.  The balance sheet represents a snapshot in time of the business.

If you have questions about developing a balance sheet, speak with your lender or review the OSU Extension Fact Sheet, The Basics of a Farm Balance Sheet, available at

Using Your Balance Sheet

If you are completing this statement each year only to check a box that satisfies your lender, you are missing an opportunity to use and learn from your balance sheet.  The balance sheet can be used for these purposes (not an exhaustive list):

  • It is a useful instrument to determine farm (LLC) valuation
  • It provides fundamental financial communication between generations
  • It tells us what assets a farm has and how they are financed (debt vs. equity)
  • It gives insight on how much risk a farm can bear, and
  • It is the best measure of farm financial health (growth, liquidity, solvency, ratios)
  • As mentioned previously, values recorded on the balance sheet can help you gauge financial performance by calculating ratios and comparing your performance to industry standards.

This article focuses on the farm financial health measures. Let’s review each of these calculations, what they mean, how they are calculated, and what you can learn as a result.

Liquidity – measures the ability of a farm business to pay short-term (less than one year) debts.  Two ratios can be calculated to assess the liquidity of your business:

Current Ratio – is considered strong if it is greater than 1.5 and is determined by this formula:

  • Current Farm Assets/Current Farm Liabilities

Working Capital – will vary by business size but should be positive.  It is calculated using this formula:

  • Current Farm Assets – Current Farm Liabilities

The Farm Financial Standards outlines the following suggestions for evaluating liquidity measures:

  • Current Ratio: 0 or Greater (Strong)  1.3 – 2.0 (Stable)              Less than 1.3 (Weak)
  • Working Capital – should be positive and will vary by size of business. A review of FINBIN Whole Farm Summaries from 2021 provides a measure of working capital based on gross farm income:
  • Farms with less than $100,00 gross farm income reported Working Capital of $39,889
  • Farms with $250,000 to $500,000 gross farm income reported Working Capital of $214,812
  • Farms with $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 gross farm income reported Working Capital of $636,000

Solvency – is the ability of a farm to meet its long-term debt obligations and three ratios can be calculated to measure the solvency of the business.

Debt to Asset Ratio – is calculated using this formula:

  • Total Farm Liabilities/Total Farm Assets

Equity to Asset Ratio – is calculated using this formula:

  • Total Farm Equity/Total Farm Assets

Debt to Equity Ratio – is calculated using this formula:

  • Total Farm Liabilities/Total Farm Equity

Use these guidelines to compare your performance against industry standards:


Ratio Strong Stable Weak
Debt to Asset Less than .30 .30 – .60 Greater than .60
Equity to Asset Greater than 70 40 – 70 Less than 40
Debt to Equity Less than .43 .43 – 1.5 Greater than 1.5


Monitoring financial performance and measuring it against established standards is critical.  These measures should be conducted annually, at a minimum, and used in making business management decisions.

We encourage you to take time to review your balance sheet, complete the calculations described in this article, and compare to industry standards.  Consult your lender or Extension professional for more information.


Farm Financial Scorecard (2022).  University of Minnesota.  Available at:

Griffith, C., Mills, B., Kim, K., Johnson, J. (2021).  Farm Financial Analysis Series: Ratios to Measure Farm Financial Health, Mississippi State University Extension.  Available at:

Richer, E. and Shoemaker, D. (2018). The Basics of a Farm Balance Sheet, Ohio State University Extension, ANR-64.  Available at:

Stuttgen, S. (n.d.). Understanding the Farm Balance Sheet Part II: Interpretation and Analysis, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Available at:

Renewable Energy for America Program Offering Grants and Low Interest Loans

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

This USDA Rural Development program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers can also apply for new energy-efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.  Applications are due no later than March 31, 2023.

How Can Funds be Used?

Funds can be used for renewable energy systems such as:

  • Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels)
  • Geothermal for electric generation or direct use
  • Hydropower below 30 megawatts
  • Hydrogen
  • Small and large wind generation
  • Small and large solar generation

Funds also can be used to buy, build, and install energy efficiency improvements such as:

  • High-efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC)
  • Insulation
  • Lighting
  • Cooling or refrigeration units
  • Doors and windows
  • Electric, solar, or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots
  • Switching from a diesel to an electric irrigation motor
  • Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Agricultural producers who generate at least 50 percent of their gross revenue from farming and small businesses in rural areas may apply for low interest rate loans and grant funding.  Small businesses interested in applying must be in an eligible area.  Check this website for additional information:

Additional Requirements

  • Applicants must provide at least 60 percent of the project cost if applying for a grant only.
  • Applicants must provide at least 25 percent of the project cost if applying for loan.
  • All projects must have technical merit and utilize commercially available technology.
  • Energy efficiency projects require an energy audit or assessment.

Getting Started

Additional program information, including application instructions can be found here:


Farm Bill Decisions and Risk Mitigation in 2023

Source: Chris Bruynis, Extension Educator, Ross County

If I could accurately predict the future, I would then know which Farm Bill decision to elect for my farm. Even without knowing future yield and prices, I can determine what risks I face, and which are mitigated by the different farm bill programs. Each farm might have its own inherent risk related to yield and price, making the farm bill program election different for each FSA farm number.

Price Loss Coverage (PLC) – PLC is considered a disaster loss program and covers price risk when the market year average price falls below the reference price. The reference price can adjust over time, but even with the higher prices in recent years, they will remain the same for 2023 at Corn $3.70; Soybeans $8.40; and Wheat $5.50.  The market year average price (MYA) for the 2023 crops is from harvest to the following year’s harvest (July through June for Wheat and September through August for Corn and Soybeans).  PLC is paid on 85% of program (base) acres not planted acres as well as the program (base) yields not actual yields. If your actual planted acres vary significantly from the base acres, this may not cover your actual risk. In a November 2022 article from Chad Hart, Extension Economist from Iowa State University, prices were projected to be $5.70 for corn and $13.00 for soybeans click here .  These projections are clearly above the PLC reference prices for corn and soybeans.

Agricultural Risk Coverage County (ARC-CO) – ARC County is a revenue risk management program compared to the price loss component of PLC. It is considered a shallow loss program that works well when there is a 1- or 2-year revenue decline. Is compares actual revenue to a calculated county revenue guarantee which is different in each county.  The ARC-CO benchmark revenue is the 5-year Olympic average MYA price multiplied by the 5-year Olympic average county yield. Benchmark yields and MYA’s are calculated using the 5 years preceding the year prior to the program year. The ARC-CO guarantee is determined by multiplying the ARC-CO benchmark revenue by 86%. Payments under this program are also tied to 85% of the base acres and not actual planted acres. Calculating the eighty-six percent of the revenue guarantee, using an Ohio average yield and the estimated MYA for 2023, results in a $645.65 guarantee for corn and $466.35 guarantee for soybeans.  With the previously mention projected prices, it is unlikely that ARC-CO will make a payment for the 2023 crop year unless there are significant production issues.

Agricultural Risk Coverage Individual (ARC-IC) – ARC Individual is similar to ARC County with a few adjustments. This program still compares a benchmark revenue calculated the same way as ARC County with the 86% reduction factor. The difference is this program uses 65% of the base acres to calculate payments. Additionally, the actual revenue is based on the actual planted crops, not the base acre crops, tying this closer to actual crop income. This is a good option under certain circumstances such as high year-to-year production variability or relatively large acreage of fruits and vegetables.

2023 Program Year Decision – If crop yields and market prices were predictable, then electing the farm bill program that protects the farm business best would be easy. The question one should be asking is which component of revenue am I more concerned with, price or yield. If one believes that prices will not fall below the reference prices, then one of the ARC programs would be a better election. This is especially true if one believes that yields in 2023 may be reduced by weather conditions such as a widespread drought. However, if one uses the Supplemental Crop Insurance (SCO) product in their crop insurance portfolio, then PLC would need to be elected. The reason is that SCO insurance and ARC Farm Bill programs cover similar risk and the USDA will not permit farms to participate in both at the same time on the same acres. Either Farm Bill election, PLC or ARC, is not expected to make a payment with the current price and trend yield projections for 2023. The real question is will price and yield expectations be realized in 2023?  If you want additional information on the Farm Bill programs, go to








Thinking about selling home-based or farm-raised foods? Our webinar series offers help

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law

Direct food marketing in Ohio is hot. The latest USDA survey identified 7,107 Ohio farms with direct food sales–third highest in the nation.  That might be why our program receives more legal inquiries about food sales than any other area of law.  And that is also why we’re hosting a three-part webinar series on “Starting a Food Business,” providing an introduction to what a producer needs to know about selling home-based and farm-raised foods directly to consumers and retailers.

The free webinar series will be from 7—9 p.m. on January 24, February 28, and March 28 in 2023, with these different topics each night:

January 24:  Start-Up Basics.  What do you want to sell?  We’ll review initial considerations for selling your food product.  We’ll cover food safety, licensing, legal, and economic considerations for starting up a food business.

February 28:  Selling Home-Based Foods.  Learn about food product development, Ohio’s Cottage Food and Home Bakery laws, and requirements for selling canned foods.

March 28:  Selling Meat and Poultry.  A look at the economics, processing options, and labeling and licensing requirements for selling meat and poultry.

Our teaching team for the webinar series includes:

Nicole Arnold, Asst. Professor and Food Safety Field Specialist for OSU Extension.  Nicole supports food handlers, consumers, and educators with food safety education and risk communication efforts.

Peggy Kirk Hall, Assoc. Professor and Agricultural Law Field Specialist for OSU Extension.  Peggy directs OSU Extension’s Agricultural & Resource Law Program and regularly teaches and writes on food laws.

Emily Marrison, OSU Extension Educator in Family and Consumer Sciences.  Emily’s food science background provides expertise and insight on food safety, product development, and selling home-based foods.

Garth Ruff, Beef Cattle Field Specialist for OSU Extension.  Garth has a background in animal science and specializes in livestock production and marketing, farm management, and meat science.

The webinar series is free, but registration is necessary.  Find details and the registration link at

USDA ERS America’s Farms and Ranches at a Glance – 2021 Financial Performance

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

The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) released this report ( in December 2022.  The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service America’s Farms and Ranches at a Glance summarizes a number of metrics about U.S. agriculture.  This paper highlights two indicators (Operating Profit Margin and Current Ratio) of the financial performance of U.S. farms and ranches.

Two Definitions

Since the 1970’s, USDA ERS has defined a farm as any place where, each year, $1,000 of agricultural goods were produced and sold.  USDA ERS uses acres of crops and heads of livestock to determine whether the definition is met.  Farm size is measured by Gross Cash Farm Income (GCFI), a measure of revenue, including acres of crops or numbers of head of livestock produced and sold.

Types of Farms

USDA ERS classifies farms into several types.  The following definitions are taken from the report:

Small family farms (GCFI less than $350,000)

  • Retirement farms: Small farms whose principal operators report having retired from farming, though continuing to farm on a small scale.
  • Off-farm-occupation farms: Small farms whose principal operators report a primary occupation other than farming.
  • Farming-occupation farms: Small farms whose principal operators report farming as their primary occupation. Farming-occupation farms are further sorted into two classes:
  • Low-sales: Farms with a GCFI of less than $150,000.
  • Moderate-sales: Farms with a GCFI between $150,000 and $349,999.

Midsize family farms (GCFI between $350,000 and $999,999)

  • Farms with a GCFI between $350,000 and $999,999.

Large-scale family farms (GCFI of $1,000,000 or more)

  • Large farms: Farms with a GCFI between $1,000,000 and $4,999,999.
  • Very large farms: Farms with a GCFI of $5,000,000 or more.

Nonfamily farms

  • Any farm where any operator and any individuals related to them do not own a majority (50 percent) of the business.

The table below summarizes farms by type, number, acres, and value of farm production.

Financial Performance

The Operating Profit Margin (OPM) is one measure of farm financial performance.  The OPM is the share of gross income that is profit.  In 2021, between 50 and 81 percent of small family farms had an OPM in the danger zone (less than 10 percent).

Large family farms, in 2021, were more likely to have a positive OPM (of at least 25 percent).  Positive on-farm income was also more likely for this classification.

Farms in the medium-risk category had an OPM greater than 10 percent and less than 25 percent.  Between 5 percent and 32 percent of these farms were in this category in 2021.


The current ratio is another measure of financial performance.  This ratio is calculated by taking current assets divided by current liabilities and is a simple method to determine whether a farm has enough capital to pay current liabilities.  A ratio less than one indicates a farm is unable to pay its current liabilities if all current assets were liquidated.

In 2021, 57 percent of farms had a current ratio greater than one.

In 2021, 52 percent and 47 percent of retirement and off-farm occupation farms, respectively, had the highest percentage of farms with a current ratio of less than 1.  However, many of these farms rely on off-farm income to compensate for the lower current ratio.

Between 23 percent and 25 percent of moderate, mid-size, and large family farms were in danger of being unable to meet current obligations in 2021.


If you are interested in learning more about your financial performance, talk to your lender or your local OSU Extension professional about the OSU Extension Farm Business Analysis and Benchmarking Program.  Additional information is available here:


America’s Farm and Ranches at a Glance, 2022, United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, available at:

ODA Restructures Marketing Division:

Source: Ohio Department of Agriculture

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is restructuring its Marketing Division to expand outreach and marketing opportunities for Ohio’s food and agricultural businesses. The restructuring will establish a Director of Marketing and add the new Ohio CAN program to the Division.

Christy Eckstein will assume the role of Director of Marketing. She has been with ODA for 20 years, serving as Executive Director of the Ohio Grape Industries Committee (OGIC) since 2007. The Marketing Division will include OGIC, Ohio Proud and Ohio CAN. OGIC promotes Ohio’s grape and wine industry, Ohio Proud promotes products grown and produced in the state, and Ohio CAN helps regional producers provide their products to underserved areas in Ohio.

Eckstein looks forward to revitalizing ODA’s Marketing Division by implementing programs that will assist farmers and agricultural businesses in promoting and marketing their products, expand existing markets, and develop new markets for their goods and services. The Division will also focus on direct farm marketing, education, and outreach. The addition of two new employees will strengthen these efforts.

“I’m honored and excited for this opportunity to create a stronger connection between Ohio’s agricultural producers and our consumers,” Eckstein said.

Eckstein graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and a minor in Communication. She grew up on a dairy farm in Champaign County where she was involved with both 4-H and FFA, serving as a State Officer. She and her husband, Aaron, have two children.