Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents 2018-19

by: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, Director, OSU Income Tax Schools

Ohio cropland values and cash rental rates are projected to decrease slightly in 2019. According to the Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents Survey, bare cropland values in western Ohio are expected to decline by 1.3 to 2.9 percent in 2019 depending on the region and land class. Cash rents are expected to decrease from one-half a percent to 2.5 percent depending on the region and land class.

The Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents study was conducted from February through April in 2019. The opinion-based study surveyed professionals with a knowledge of Ohio’s cropland values and rental rates. Professionals surveyed were farm managers, rural appraisers, agricultural lenders, OSU Extension educators, farmers, landowners, and Farm Service Agency personnel. The study results are based on 162 surveys returned, analyzed, and summarized. For the complete survey summary go to the OSU Extension FarmOffice website at:

https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farm-management-tools/farm-management-publications/cash-rents

 

 

Ohio Ag Law Blog—Prevented planting, idle land, and CAUV taxation

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Tuesday, June 18th, 2019
Original Source: https://farmoffice.osu.edu/blog
The decision on whether to take prevented planting is a tough one, but don’t let concerns about increased property taxes on idle land enter into the equation.  Ohio’s Current Agricultural Use Valuation program allows landowners to retain the benefit of CAUV tax assessment on agricultural land even if the land lies idle or fallow for a period of time.

Ohio’s CAUV program provides differential property tax assessment to parcels of land “devoted exclusively to agricultural use” that are ten acres or more or, if less than ten acres, generated an average gross income for the previous three years of $2,500 or more from commercial agricultural production.  Timber lands adjacent to CAUV land, land enrolled in federal conservation programs, and land devoted to agritourism or bio-mass and similar types of energy production on a farm also qualify for CAUV.

There must have been some farmers in the legislature when the CAUV law was enacted, because the legislature anticipated the possibility that qualifying CAUV lands would not always be actively engaged in agricultural production.   The law allows CAUV land to sit “idle or fallow” for up to one year and remain eligible for CAUV, but only if there’s not an activity or use taking place on the land that’s inconsistent with returning the land to agricultural production or that converts the land from agricultural production.  After one year of lying idle or fallow, a landowner may retain the CAUV status for up to three years by showing good cause to the board of revision for why the land is not actively engaged in agricultural production.

The law would play out as follows.  When the auditor sends the next CAUV reenrollment form for a parcel that qualifies for CAUV but was not planted this year due to the weather, a landowner must certify that the land is still devoted to agricultural production and return the CAUV form to the auditor.  The auditor must allow the land to retain its CAUV status the first year of lying idle or fallow, as long as the land is not being used or converted to a non-agricultural use.  If the land continues to be idle or fallow for the following year or two years, the auditor could ask the landowner to show cause as to why the land is not being used for agricultural production.  The landowner would then have an opportunity to prove that the weather has prevented plans to plant field crops, as intended by the landowner.  After three years, the landowner would have to change the land to a different type of commercial agricultural production to retain its CAUV status if the weather still prevents the ability to plant field crops on the parcel.  Other agricultural uses could include commercial animal or poultry husbandry, aquaculture, algaculture, apiculture, the production for a commercial purpose of timber, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, ornamental trees, sod, or flowers, or the growth of timber for a noncommercial purpose, if the land on which the timber is grown is contiguous to or part of a parcel of land under common ownership that is otherwise devoted exclusively to agricultural use.

Being forced out of the fields due to rain is a frustrating reality for many Ohio farmers today.   One positive assurance we can offer in the face of prevented planting is that farmers won’t lose agricultural property tax status on those fields this year.  Read Ohio’s CAUV law in the Ohio Revised Code at sections 5713.30 and 5713.31.

New Podcast Episodes

by: Amanda Douridas, OSU Extension Educator

The Agronomy and Farm Management Podcast has been releasing new episodes every other week since May 2018 and is set to release its 29th episode next Wednesday. To make it easier for listeners to find past episodes, the podcast has a new landing page at http://go.osu.edu/AFM.

Here you will find a listing of all past episodes, descriptions of what we talked about and links to additional resources. We cover a wide range of topics for corn, soybean and small grain farmers on agronomic and farm management topics. Episodes include legal topics such as leases, LEBOR, and hemp; timely seasonal topics like disease, insects and weather; and operational improving strategies related to nutrient management, precision agriculture and grain marketing.

Stay up to date on the latest episodes by following us on Twitter and Facebook (@AFMPodcast) and adding us to your favorites in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Give us a good rating and review if you like the podcast! If there is a listening platform you would like us to broadcast on or you have a topic suggestion, reach out on social media or by email at Douridas.9@osu.edu.

 

Ohio Corn, Soybean and Wheat Enterprise Budgets – Projected Returns for 2019

by: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences- Ohio State University Extension

Production costs for Ohio field crops are forecast to be largely unchanged from last year with slightly higher fertilizer and interest expenses that may increase total costs for some growers. Variable costs for corn in Ohio for 2019 are projected to range from $356 to $451 per acre depending on land productivity. Variable costs for 2019 Ohio soybeans are projected to range from $210 to $230 per acre. Wheat variable expenses for 2019 are projected to range from $178 to $219 per acre.

Returns will likely be low to negative for many producers depending on price movement throughout the rest of the year. Grain prices used as assumptions in the 2019 crop enterprise budgets are $3.60/bushel for corn, $8.20/bushel for soybeans and $4.25/bushel for wheat. Projected returns above variable costs (contribution margin) range from $150 to $308 per acre for corn and $144 to $300 per acre for soybeans. Projected returns above variable costs for wheat range from $102 to $202 per acre (assuming $4.25 per bushel summer cash price).

Return to Land is a measure calculated to assist in land rental and purchase decision making. The measure is calculated by starting with total receipts or revenue from the crop and subtracting all expenses except the land expense. Returns to Land for Ohio corn (Total receipts minus total costs except land cost) are projected to range from $23 to $182 per acre in 2018 depending on land production capabilities. Returns to land for Ohio soybeans are expected to range from $84 to $254 per acre depending on land production capabilities. Returns to land for wheat (not including straw or double-crop returns) are projected to range from negative $2 per acre to a positive $143 per acre.

Total costs projected for trend line corn production in Ohio are estimated to be $753 per acre. This includes all variable costs as well as fixed costs (or overhead if you prefer) including machinery, labor, management and land costs. Fixed machinery costs of $66 per acre include depreciation, interest, insurance and housing. A land charge of $187 per acre is based on data from the Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents Survey Summary. Labor and management costs combined are calculated at $69 per acre. Returns Above Total Costs for trend line corn production are negative at -$120 per acre.

Total costs projected for trend line soybean production in Ohio are estimated to be $518 per acre. (Fixed machinery costs – $52 per acre, land charge: $187 per acre, labor and management costs combined: $45 per acre.) Returns Above Total Costs for trend line soybean production are also projected to be negative at -$76 per acre.

Total costs projected for trend line wheat production in Ohio are estimated to be $488 per acre. (Fixed machinery costs: $52 per acre, land charge: $187 per acre, labor and management costs combined: $39 per acre.) Returns Above Total Costs for trend line wheat production are also negative at -$137 per acre.

These projections are based on OSU Extension Ohio Crop Enterprise Budgets. Newly updated Enterprise Budgets for 2019 have been completed and posted to the OSU Extension farmoffice website:

https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farm-management-tools/farm-budgets

 

Should I Continue Farming?

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

 It’s no secret that all of agriculture is suffering from years of low commodity prices and rising input costs. The economic struggles have affected you financially and physically. You’ve looked at the numbers, met with advisors, and talked to family.   The thought of selling part or your entire farm brings with it added worry and concern. What can you do?

Find someone you trust and with whom you feel comfortable discussing your situation. This person may not have many answers to your questions, but they can listen to your frustrations and worries. They may be able to help you sort through the confusion and develop a course of action. Think of your situation as a picture – a set of eyes looking at the picture from the outside may see things you can’t because you are caught up in the picture.

Understand that you are not alone. Nearly every farm and farm family is in a similar situation. Don’t live in the past or dwell on what could or should have been done. Take control of the situation and develop a plan for managing the things you are able to control.

Assessment

Evaluate your financial position by meeting with your lender to discuss options for restructuring debt. Can you extend the repayment terms to provide more cash flow? Contact your Extension Educator about completing a FINPACK analysis (https://farmprofitability.osu.edu/).

What are your Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Timed (SMART) goals? How are your goals similar and different from those of family and/or business partners?

Develop a list of your education, experiences, and skills. How can you use these in another career? What career opportunities fit you best?

Evaluation

If you come to the decision that selling all or part of your farm is the best option, there are several items to address. Begin with a balance sheet and other financial information to understand your present financial situation. Doing so will help you decide how much money (and approximate number of assets) you must sell. You may want to meet with an appraiser, auctioneer, or real estate professional for help determining the expected value of assets.

Professionals

Your attorney can answer questions and advise you about legal considerations related to a sale. An accountant will help minimize your tax liability and give an estimate of what you may expect to pay in taxes.

Help is Available

There are people and agencies/organizations that can help with the transition and the emotions that come with the sale. Clergy, licensed counselors, and medical professionals can help you cope. Other sources of help include:

Ohio State University Extension (extension.osu.edu)

National Suicide Prevention (1-800-273-8255)

National Alliance for Mental Illness (1-800-950-6264)

Ohio Workforce Training (ohio.gov/working/training)

Ohio Job & Family Services, Office of Workforce Development (jfs.ohio.gov/owd)

Additional Information

Coming to the decision to sell all or a part of your farm is not an easy decision. Find someone with good listening skills. Talk to professionals, reach out for help, get answers, and make the best possible decisions. More information about this subject is available at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-71.

 

REMINDER- Registration will close soon…Come Join Us for the…Small Farm Conference & Trade Show

The two day conference will be held on Friday, March 29th and Saturday, March 30th at the OSU South Centers in Piketon, Ohio.

The conference is designed for small farm owners wanting to learn more about how to make their farms work better for them. Many topics will be offered to help landowners expand their operations. Land owners can attend workshops and seminars taught by Extension professionals and industry leaders on a wide variety of agricultural enterprises.  Attendees will also get to meet various vendors at the trade show.  The trade show will be open part of the day on Friday, and all day Saturday.

Attached is the brochure that includes a mail-in registration, the agenda with session descriptions, and the registration letter for vendors.

Please see the flyer below for additional information.

For full details, please go to go.osu.edu/OSUFARMConference2019.

Landowners Leaving a Legacy

by: Amanda Douridas

Land is an important investment. One that is often passed down through generations. Farmland needs to be monitored and cared for to maintain the value and sustainability if it is to be enjoyed and profitable for future generations. Following the success of Lady Landowners Leaving a Legacy offered this past summer, Landowners Leaving a Legacy is open to everyone. If you want to learn more about your land, farming and conservation practices and how to successfully pass it on to the next generation, this program is for you!

Farming has changed dramatically over the last several decades. The thought of trying to understand it all can be overwhelming, especially if not actively farming. This series is designed to help landowners understand critical conservation and farm management issues related to owning land. It will provide participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence to talk with tenants about farming and conservation practices used on their land. The farm management portion will provide an understanding of passing land on to the next generation and help establish fair rental rates by looking at current farm budgets. We will also visit a local farm to view practices currently implemented and hear from the landowners involved.

The series runs every other Monday, February 25 – May 13 from 6:00-8:30 pm in the Champaign County Community Center Auditorium in Urbana, Ohio. It is $70 for the series. If you are only able to attend a couple of session, it is $15 per session but there is a lot of value in getting to know other participants in the series and talking with them each week. Materials and dinner included. The registration flyer can be found at http://go.osu.edu/agevents. For questions or more information, please contact Amanda Douridas at 937-484-1526 or Douridas.9@osu.edu. Please register by February 19. The detailed agenda is below.

Feb 25- Building Soil Structure

    • Introductions
    • Soil Structure Discussion and Demo
    • Tillage Methods and Compaction
  • Soil Coverage Discussion and Demo

March 11- Implementing Conservation

  • Conservation Activity
  • Aquifer Demonstration
  • Watershed Maps of Participants Farms
  • Explanation of Conservation Practices

March 25- Value of the Land Beyond the Dollar

  • Land Value Diagram
  • Landowner/Tenant Relationship Panel
  • Wildlife Habitat Programs

April 15- Transition and Succession Planning

  • Peggy Hall and Wright Moore Law Firm

April 29- Leasing and Budgets

  • Good Leasing Contracts
  • Hunting Leases
  • Overview of Commodity Budgets

May 13- Farm Visit

Some activities developed by Women, Food and Agriculture Network for its Women Caring for the Land program.

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