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

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)

 

 

 

 

 

Farm Management Series to be held in Fulton County in February

by Eric Richer, Extension Educator

Ohio State University Extension-Fulton County will again be offering its Farm Management Series on Tuesdays in February.  The series is for any farmer who raises commodity grain and livestock. This year’s program will focus on farm succession, financial and production planning. Additionally, the series will help farmers look at options for taking your farm a different direction to complement commodity production. This year the series is offered as a daytime program from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and includes lunch. Each session will feature guest speakers and content relevant to today’s farm management. The series, which runs February 6, 13, 20 and 27, is taught by a combination of Extension Educators and state specialists and private sector individuals.

On Tuesday, February 6, the series will emphasize transition and estate planning (farm succession).  Topics will include working together to develop your farm’s business plan, answering 9 key succession planning, legal structures, getting your financial affairs in order and family communication.

Tuesday, February 13th will focus on financial planning.  Time will be spent reviewing key farm financial statements and strategies including an Ag Lender/Professional panel at lunch.  The afternoon will address ways to reduce family living expense and financial stress as well as taking a hard look at the value of enterprise analysis on your farm.

February 20th will be spent looking at key production planning areas of farm management.  Speakers will address the outlook for inputs, best management practices for leasing or buying, and calculating your cost of production.  Additional sessions will focus on the CAUV property tax production formula and converting your farm to natural gas.

The final session of the series on February 27 will conclude with a day full of guest speakers who will offer options for “taking your farm a different direction” to complement commodity production.  The buffet of topics will include transitioning to organic, swine production, agri-tourism, barley production in Ohio, and non-GMO grain opportunities.

The total cost for the series is $60 or $20 per day session if pre-registered by February 1.  Registration after the deadline will still be accepted but the cost goes up to $70 for the series or $25 per session. Registration includes materials and lunch.  Support for this series is provided in part by Farm Credit Mid America, Farmers & Merchants State Bank, Metamora State Bank, Sherwood State Bank and Ag Credit.  The farm management series will be held at the Robert Fulton Ag Center, 8770 State Route 108, Wauseon, Ohio 43567.  The registration form can be downloaded at www.fulton.osu.edu or call 419-337-9210 or email richer.5@osu.edu for more information.

 

 

Completing the Farm Balance Sheet

by: Eric Richer, OSUE Fulton County & Diane Shoemaker, OSUE Field Specialist, Dairy Production Economics

It is never too late to complete your farm’s balance sheet. The balance sheet is a “snap shot” in time of your farm’s financial position, including what assets you own and how they are financed. The balance sheet is also known as the net worth statement. When completed accurately and in a timely manner, the balance sheet and corresponding ratios are a very valuable tool to evaluate farm financial health. The balance sheet objectively measures farm business growth, liquidity, solvency, and risk-bearing capacity.

Categorizing Balance Sheet Items

The assets and liabilities on the balance sheet (including the financing of the assets) are used to determine the equity, or net worth, of the farm owner. The owner’s equity is used by lenders and insurers to determine a farm business’ value.  Calculation of  owner’s equity, or net worth is simple. Simply subtract the total liabilities from the total assets:

Assets – Liabilities = Owner’s Equity

Terms of Assets and Liabilities

Beyond the broad categories of assets or liabilities, a balance sheet categorizes items into “time compartments” or terms of useful life. Useful life is a term for the amount of time an item can be utilized for the farm business. Depreciation allocates the cost of this asset over its useful life. Both assets and liabilities can be categorized into current, intermediate, and long, or fixed, terms of useful life.

Assets – Current assets can be converted to cash in one year or less. Common current assets are cash, growing crops, harvested crop inventory, market livestock, accounts receivable, and other similar items. Intermediate assets have an assumed useful life or depreciable value of one to ten years. Common intermediate assets are breeding livestock, machinery and equipment, titled vehicles, and not-readily-marketable bonds and securities. Long term, or fixed, assets are typically permanent items with value—depreciable or not—for more than ten years and include farmland, buildings, farmsteads, and other similar items.

Liabilities – Current liabilities are obligations that are due and payable in the next twelve months. Most common current liabilities include accounts payable (bills), credit card bills, operating lines of credit, accrued interest, and the current portion of principal on loans due in the coming year. Intermediate liabilities are obligations that are due to be paid back within two to ten years and are usually associated with intermediate farm assets on the left side of the balance sheet. Common intermediate liabilities are the principal remaining on machinery and equipment loans or breeding livestock purchases. Finally, long term, or fixed, liabilities are debts with terms greater than ten years like the principal balance remaining on a farmland or building mortgage.

Assets: Market Value vs. Cost Value

Market value – Today’s market values minus selling costs are used to determine market value. For example, a fully depreciated 15-year-old tractor certainly has a current market value greater than zero. A realistic current market value for this tractor can be obtained with an appraisal, or by looking at current sales of similar tractors online. Similarly, farmland bought 30 years ago likely has a different current market value today. In general, lenders prefer the use of current market values in a balance sheet for asset valuation.

Cost value – The net book value, or the cost of the item minus accumulated depreciation, is the cost value. For example, a fully depreciated 15-year-old tractor may have a cost value of $0 in a cost-based balance sheet. No appraisal is needed; only record the cost minus accumulated depreciation. Farmland (a non-depreciable, long term asset) purchased 30 years ago has a balance sheet value of the purchase cost.  In general, accountants prefer cost value balance sheets as a more clear reflection of business success, based on business decisions rather than inflation, depreciation, or appreciation of investments.

In an accurately completed balance sheet, the cost value and the market value columns usually produce different total asset values.

Keys to Completing the Balance Sheet

Several keys can help farmer improve their accuracy, effectiveness, and efficiency when completing year-end balance sheets.

  • Complete the balance sheet on the same date each year, usually as of December 31st. The information will never be more accurate than immediately after the end of the year.
  • Inventory all assets, including standard weight and measure units (ie. lbs, head, bushels, bales, etc).
  • Utilize current market prices for crop and livestock inventories.
  • Calculate cost value for growing crops such as wheat, new hay seedings or cover crops.
  • Include government payments and insurance indemnities yet to be received in accounts receivable.
  • Apply conservative breeding livestock values, avoiding large year-to-year changes.
  • Maintain a separate, easy-to-update depreciation schedule for depreciable assets.

Balance Sheet Tools

 

 

Balance Sheet Ratios to Evaluate Financial Health

A balance sheet is an accounting statement needed by a farmer to evaluate his or her financial health. An income statement and a statement of cashflows are also needed to provide the entire financial picture. These three statements can be used with the Farm Finance Scorecard available from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Health at https://www.cffm.umn.edu/Publications/pubs/FarmMgtTopics/FarmFinanceScorecard.pdf.

The scorecard uses these three accounting statements to determine financial ratios and measurements to benchmark a farm operation against acceptable industry standards.

An annual comparison of the same farm, referred to as a vertical analysis, can be used to evaluate the health of a balance sheet. With vertical analysis, one year’s balance sheet totals can be added to a spreadsheet with entries from previous years for comparison. Additionally, the spreadsheet would be used for upcoming years to continue the vertical analysis. This analysis does not benchmark a farm against the industry but, instead, shows the growth achieved and trends developed by the farm over time.  This analysis is one of the features provided for farms that participate in the Ohio Farm Business Analysis and Benchmarking Program.  Contact Dianne Shoemaker at shoemaker.3@osu.edu for more information about this program.

References:

Hachfeld, G. A., D.B. Bau, C.R. Holcomb. 2016. Balance Sheet. Farm Financial Series, #1, University of Minnesota Extension.

Langemeier, M. R. 2011. Balance Sheet—A Financial Management Tool. MF-291, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University Extension. Available online at: www.agmanager.info

 

What are Lenders Looking For?

Source: Amanda Douridas

During my farm management school in December in Urbana, I invited a panel of ag lenders to answer questions about what they are looking for in a potential client and what can clients do to build stronger relationships with their lenders. The panelists were Greg Kinght with Civista Bank in Urbana, Paul Lensman with Agri Business Finance in St. Paris and Rudi Perry with Farm Credit Mid-America. Here are the questions asked and a summary of their responses.

Q: What characteristics do you look for in a potential client?
A: Character is a big part of the lending decision. Is the person honest? Trustworthy? Do they have the responsibility, knowledge and experience to be successful?

Q: How does the current economic outlook for agriculture affect the lending decision?
A: The big questions is: what is the producer doing to protect themselves? We don’t see crop prices increasing anytime soon. Having a contingency plan is a great way to show us that they are planning for future and not taking each day as it comes.

Q: What about debt re-structuring? What does that look like and what are the options?
A: It is very situational dependent. We are proponents of constructive credit but sometimes it does not make sense. Replenishing working capital through selling assets or spreading debt out over several years can also be an answer. FSA guarantee loans may be an option or restructuring loans on longer terms can work for some farm operations.

Q: What land value, dollar per acre, are you willing to finance?
A: We mostly prefer not to put a dollar figure on land value and look more at loan to value. That figure has been reduced somewhat from 5 years ago and the borrower will likely have to make a larger down payment or add more equity than in recent years. Overall land will be a good long-term investment.

Q: What is your first impression of the new tax law and how it might impact agriculture?
A: It likely will not have an effect on lending but there is a concern about the overall increase in the deficit. Legislature could look to make the deficit up in the Farm Bill by cutting farm programs.

Q: Do you have programs for young and/or beginning farmers?
A: Farm Credit has recently created a Young and Beginning Farmer program. Some benefits include up to 85% loan to value and not quite 50% equity for loans. It also has a 2-day farm finance educational program. Lenders also work with FSA guarantees and are willing to work with new farmers.

Q: What information do you need from niche or specialty crop producers?
A: We want to make sure the producer has a very good understanding of producing and marketing that product. If the farmer knows what they are doing and can back it up with data, we will definitely consider it for a loan. The farmer just needs to be prepared to educate their lender. If the equipment being used as collateral is very specialized, it will likely have a lower loan to value ratio because it is a lot harder to move that equipment. Diversification can be a good thing!

Q: How do you determine the operating line of credit for a farm?
A: We want the customer to establish that number based on their farm and cash flow.

Q: How do you determine the value of collateral?
A: We use several different sources such as local sales, online equipment listings such as tractorhouse.com, Hot Line Farm Equipment Guide and even some outside appraisers. When using real estate as collateral, we always use an appraiser.

Q: What about if I’m putting it on my balance sheet?
A: Farmers can do it as cost less depreciation but most lenders prefer the market value using recent sales. We just ask that the farmer is consistent from year to year and if changes are made, be prepared to tell the lender why the value was increased or decreased.

Q: Where do you see farmers making errors on their balance sheets?
A: Missing pre-paid expenses on the assets side and missing accounts payable to go with them. Credit card debit is also often left off. Remember that long term loans have a portion that is due each year and that portion of the loan needs to be moved up to current liabilities. Accrued interest is another that can be missed.

Sole proprietorships have assets and liabilities for non-farm assets that need to be reported on the balance sheet or create a second balance sheet for the non-farm portion. We start looking into everything after meeting with the borrower. It is better for the borrower to bring up everything rather than us find it in our research afterwards.

It is important to the lender to know what the ownership structure is: LLC, sole proprietorship, corporation, etc. If you are making some risk separation business decisions using these entities, it can help us make a lending decision in your favor.

Q: How often would you like customers to communicate with you?
A: It depends on the situation but definitely when major life events occur and it is always better to share something with your lender before we hear it from someone else. It is also nice to hear from the farmer when they are considering purchasing a new piece of equipment, making changes to planned crops, or what their marketing plan might be.

Q: If a farmer participates in the FINPACK program, does that add value?
A: We are impressed when someone uses the program. It shows that they have attention to detail and discipline in record keeping. The benchmarking piece also allows them to discuss with us areas where they excel and where they would like to make improvements.

Q: What should a client bring to a meeting?
A:
• Entity paperwork such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, partnership operating agreement, LLC setup, etc.
• 3 years of tax returns, these are not always needed but if they are, we have them and don’t need to contact you to follow-up.
• A current balance sheet is a must and multiple year-end balance sheets are even better.
• We don’t always need to see your insurance information upfront but we may need it so have it ready.
• For new or expanding enterprises, we need to see a business plan.
• Cost of production and cash flow or budgets

They summed up the panel by asking the audience what they can do for the farmers. Lenders want to make loans so how can they serve farmers better? There are very few problems you can’t work through with your lender if you have a good relationship.

Greg Knight can be reached at 937-653-1165 or gpknight@civistabank.com
Paul Lensman can be reached at 937-663-0186 or pelensman@agribusinessfinance.net
Rudi Perry a regional vice president for Farm Credit and recommends contacting your local office to speak with a lender.

“Planning for the Future of Your Farm” Workshops to be Held Across Ohio

By David Marrison, Associate Professor – OSU Extension

OSU Extension will be hosting five “Planning for the Future of Your Farm” workshops across Ohio during the winter of 2018.  These planning workshops are designed to help farm families develop a succession and estate plan for their farm business. Attend and learn ways to successfully transfer management skills and the farm’s business assets from one generation to the next. Learn how to have the crucial conversations about the future of your farm.

This workshop will challenge farm families to actively plan for the future of the farm business.  The featured speakers for this event will include: Robert Moore, Attorney at Law, Wright & Moore Law Company, Peggy Hall, Agricultural & Resource Law Field Specialist for OSU Extension, David Marrison, Extension Educator for Ashtabula County, and Chris Bruynis, Extension Educator for Ross County. Farm families are encouraged to bring members from each generation to the workshop. Plan today for the future success of your family business!

The workshops will be offered at the following locations.

Knox County Join us in Central Ohio for this workshop split over two nights in January.  These sessions will be held on Thursday, January 11 & 18, 2018 from to 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. at the Brandon Baptist located at 13513 Sycamore Road in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

Pre-registration is required and is limited to 50 persons.  The registration fee is $35 per person or $50 per family. This fee includes a hot meal at 5:30 p.m. prior to each session.  The registration deadline is January 4, 2018.  Make Checks payable to OSU Extension. Mail checks and registration to: OSU Extension – Knox County, P.O. Box 1268 Mt. Vernon, Oh. 43050. More information can be obtained by calling the Knox County Extension office at 740-397-0401 or by visiting http://u.osu.edu/knoxcountyag

Clinton County– Join us in south central Ohio for this workshop on Friday, January 19, 2018 from 9:00 to 3:30 p.m.    This workshop will be held in the community room of the Clinton County Extension office located at 111 South Nelson Avenue in Wilmington, Ohio.

Pre-registration is required and is limited to 40 registrants. The cost is $20 per person or $45 for family. The registration fee includes lunch and one set of program materials per family. Registration deadline is January 12, 2018. Payment options are credit card, check or cash. Registration and payment by credit card may be completed in person at the Clinton County Extension Office. Make checks payable to OSU Extension- Farm Plan and mail with this registration form to: OSU Extension- Clinton County, 111 S. Nelson Ave., Suite 2, Wilmington, OH 45177.  More information can be obtained by calling the Clinton County Extension office at 937-382-0901.

Williams County– Travel to the far northwest corner of Ohio for this program on Monday, February 5, 2018 from 9:30 to 4:00 p.m.  This workshop will be held at the Williams County Extension office located at 1425 East High Street, Bryan, Ohio.

Pre-registration is required by January 26, 2018. The cost is $10 per person. This fee includes snacks, lunch and a program notebook.  Make checks payable to OSU Extension and return to the OSU Extension- Williams County, 1425 E. High St., Suite 112, Bryan, OH 43506.  More information can be obtained by calling the Williams County Extension office at 419-636-5608.

Coshocton County– Join us in historical Roscoe Village in Coshocton County on February 23, 2018 from 9:00 to 4:00 p.m. for this workshop. The program will be held in Montgomery Hall on the Central Ohio Technical College Coshocton Campus located at 200 North Whitewoman Street, Coshocton, Ohio.

The registration fee for this workshop is $20 which includes lunch and one binder of the program materials per family.  Additional binders can be requested for $15 each. The class is limited to 40 persons and the registration deadline is February 16, 2018. Payment options are credit card, check or cash. Registration and payment by credit card may be completed at: http://go.osu.edu/coshfarmfuture. Registrations by mail can be made by making a check payable to OSU Extension and mailing the registration form to: OSU Extension- Coshocton County, 724 South 7th Street, Room 110, Coshocton, OH 43812. More information can be obtained by contacting the Coshocton County Extension office at:  740-622-2265

Darke County– Join us in western Ohio in Darke County for our final workshop of the winter on February 27, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  This program will be held at Romers located at 118 East Main Street in Greenville, Ohio.

Pre-registration is required and is limited to the first 60 registrants.  The cost is $20 per person which includes program materials and lunch. The registration deadline is February 20, 2018.  Make checks payable to OSU Extension and return to OSU Extension, Darke County, 603 Wagner Avenue, Greenville, Ohio 45331. More information can be obtained by calling the Darke County Extension office at 937-548-5215.

More details:

Each of the program flyers can be obtained at: u.osu.edu/ohioagmanager/farm-management-workshops/

More information about farm succession can be obtained by contacting David Marrison at the Ashtabula County Extension office at 440-576-9008 or by email at marrison.2@osu.edu

 

 

Tax Webinar for Farmers and Farmland Owners

by Barry Ward, OSU Extension, Director, OSU Income Tax Schools

Are you getting the most from your tax return? Farmers and farmland owners that wish to increase their tax knowledge should consider this webinar that will address tax issues important to them. Mark your calendars for January 29th, 2018 to participate in this 2 hour webinar from 10 am to noon.

The webinar, which focuses on tax issues specific to farmers and farmland owners will offer insight into topics such as new and proposed tax legislation as well as buying and selling farmland.

OSU Income Tax Schools which are a part of OSU Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will offer this webinar on January 29th from 10-noon.

The two-hour program, which will be presented in a live webinar format, is targeted towards farmers and farmland owners who file their own farm taxes or simply wish to arm themselves with more tax information that will help them to better plan for tax filing.

Topics to be discussed during the webinar include:

  • New and Proposed Tax Legislation
  • Ag Income and Expenses
  • Net Operating Losses
  • Buying and Selling Farmland
  • Rental Property
  • Demolition of Structures

The cost for the webinar is $35. To register for this live webinar, go to https://farmoffice.osu.edu/osu-income-tax-schools

Registration will be open on December 15th.

The OSU Income Tax School Program is a part of OSU Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

2018 Northeast Ohio Small Farm Workshop Scheduled for January 20, 2018

by David Marrison, Extension Educator

The Ashtabula County Extension office is pleased to offer the 2018 Northeast Ohio Small Farm Workshop for new, existing, and aspiring farm businesses. This workshop will be held on Saturday, January 20, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Ashtabula County Extension office located at 39 Wall Street in Jefferson, Ohio. This workshop is designed to help landowners increase profits from their small acreage. This program is open to all new or aspiring farmers, new rural landowners, small farmers, and farm families looking for new ideas.

During this workshop, participants will be challenged to develop realistic expectations for their small farm. Participants will learn how to develop a business plan for their operation. During the workshop, participants will learn more about the current opportunities in small-scale farming; how to identify the strengths & weaknesses of your farm; how to keep records and develop budgets; and how to effectively price & market your products to consumers. Learn more about farm insurance, governmental assistance, farm taxes, and ways to mitigate risk.  This workshop will provide the road map for small producers to move their hobby to a viable farm business.  Make connections to resources, information and people that will help your farm business grow!

The registration fee for this workshop is $25 per person. This includes a small farmer resource notebook, refreshments, and a hearty lunch! Reservations are requested by Friday, January 12, 2018. Space is limited to the first 35 registrants. We thank The Kellogg Insurance Company for co-sponsoring this event.  Pre-registration is required by January 12, 2018. Registration fee is $25/per person. Make checks payable to OSU Extension, and mail to Ashtabula County Extension office, 39 Wall Street, Jefferson, OH 44047. If you have any questions please call 440-576-9008.  A complete registration flyer can be obtained at: http://go.osu.edu/ne-events

Retreat Empowers Women to be Better Farm Managers

by: Amanda Douridas & Emily Adams, OSU Extension Educators

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

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

Two weekend retreats are being offered in Ohio this winter. Women will receive training in five areas of agricultural risk management: financial, marketing, production, legal, and human resources. Most importantly women are able to network and develop relationships with other women in agriculture.

Past participants have had this to say about the program:

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

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

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

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

The firs retreat will be held Dec 1-3 at Salt Fork State Park Lodge and Conference Center, 14755 Cadiz Road, Lore City, OH 43755. The participant fee is $105 per person, which includes all materials and meals. Lodging is $99 per room per night with up to four people per room. Registration deadline is November 17. For questions about this program, please contact Emily Adams at adams.661@osu.edu or 740-622-2265.

The second retreat will be Feb 2-4 at Western Buckeye Christian Camp, 5455 Roeth Rd, Houston, OH 45333. The cost is $95 per person and includes all lodging, materials and meals. Please bring bedding and towels. The registration deadline is January 19. For questions about this retreat, please contact Amanda Douridas at Douridas.9@osu.edu or 937-484-1526.

Registration for both workshops can be found at: https://u.osu.edu/ohwomeninag/.