Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2020 Released

by: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management, OSU Extension, Agriculture and Natural Resources, John Barker, Extension Educator Agriculture/Amos Program, Ohio State University Extension Knox County and Eric Richer, Extension Educator Agriculture & Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension Fulton County

Farming is a complex business and many Ohio farmers utilize outside assistance for specific farm-related work. This option is appealing for tasks requiring specialized equipment or technical expertise. Often, having someone else with specialized tools perform a task is more cost effective and saves time. Farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply, “custom work”. A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.

Ohio Farm Custom Rates

This publication reports custom rates based on a statewide survey of 377 farmers, custom operators, farm managers, and landowners conducted in 2020. These rates, except where noted, include the implement and tractor if required, all variable machinery costs such as fuel, oil, lube, twine, etc., and the labor for the operation.

Some custom rates published in this study vary widely, possibly influenced by:

  • Type or size of equipment used (e.g. 20-shank chisel plow versus a 9-shank)
  • Size and shape of fields,
  • Condition of the crop (for harvesting operations)
  • Skill level of labor
  • Amount of labor needed in relation to the equipment capabilities
  • Cost margin differences for full-time custom operators compared to farmers supplementing current income

Some custom rates reflect discounted rates as the parties involved have family relationships or are strengthening a relationship to help secure the custom farmed land in a cash or other rental agreement. Some providers charge differently because they are simply attempting to spread their fixed costs over more acreage to decrease fixed costs per acre and are willing to forgo complete cost recovery.

The complete “Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2020” is available online at the Farm Office website:

https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farm-management-tools/custom-rates-and-machinery-costs

Farm Office Live Scheduled for October 7, 2020

Join the OSU Extension Farm Office team for discussions on the latest agricultural law and farm management news.  The next session will be held on October 7, 2020 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.

Farm Office Live will be back for a review of the latest on round two of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), 2020 crop enterprise budgets, new custom rates and Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents survey summary, Ohio’s COVID-19 immunity legislation, and other current issues in farm management.

Join our experts for quick presentations and Q & A.   Go to https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farmofficelive  to register or view past webinars and PowerPoint slides.

 

Governor Signs Ohio Coronavirus Immunity Bill

By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Wednesday, September 16th, 2020

It took five months of negotiation, but the Ohio General Assembly has enacted a controversial bill that grants immunity from civil liability for coronavirus injuries, deaths, or losses. Governor DeWine signed House Bill 606 on September 14, stating that it strikes a balance between reopening the economy and keeping Ohioans safe.  The bill will be effective in 90 days.

The bill’s statement of findings and declaration of intent illustrate why it faced disagreement within the General Assembly.  After stating its findings that business owners are unsure of the tort liability they may face when reopening after COVID-19, that businesses need certainty because recommendations on how to avoid COVID-19 change frequently, that individuals who decide to go out in public places should bear responsibility for taking steps to avoid exposure to COVID-19, that nothing in existing Ohio law established duties on business and premise owners to prevent exposure to airborne germs and viruses, and that the legislature has not delegated authority to Ohio’s Executive Branch to create new legal duties for business and premises owners, the General Assembly made a clear declaration of intent in the bill:  “Orders and recommendations from the Executive Branch, from counties and local municipalities, from boards of health and other agencies, and from any federal government agency do not create any new legal duties for purposes of tort liability” and “are presumed to be irrelevant to the issue of the existence of a duty or breach of a duty….and inadmissible at trial to establish proof of a duty or breach of a duty in tort actions.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Diane Grendell (R-Chesterland), refers to it as the “Good Samaritan Expansion Bill.”  That name relates to one of the two types of immunity in the bill, a temporary qualified immunity for coronavirus-based claims against health care providers.  In its original version of H.B. 606, the House of Representatives included only the health care immunity provisions.  Of interest to farms and other businesses are the bill’s general immunity provisions, however, added to the final legislation by the Senate.

General immunity from coronavirus claims

The new law will prohibit a person from bringing a civil action that seeks damages for injury, death or loss to a person or property allegedly caused by exposure to or transmission of coronavirus, with one exception.  The civil immunity does not apply if the exposure to or transmission of coronavirus resulted from a defendant’s “reckless conduct,” “intentional misconduct,” or “willful or wanton misconduct.”  “Reckless conduct” means disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that conduct or circumstances are likely to cause exposure to or transmission of coronavirus and having “heedless indifference” to the consequences.

Government guidelines don’t create legal duties

Consistent with the bill’s stated intent, the new law clarifies that a claimant cannot assert liability based on a failure to follow government guidelines for coronavirus.  The law states that any government order, recommendation or guideline for coronavirus does not create a duty of care that can be enforced through a civil cause of action.  A person may not admit such orders and guidelines as evidence of a legal right, duty of care or new legal cause of action.

No class actions

Another provision in the new law also prohibits a class action that alleges liability for coronavirus exposure or transmission if the law’s general immunity provisions do not apply.

Time period covered

The general immunity provisions apply only to a specified period of time:  from March 9, 2020, when the Governor declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19, until September 30, 2021.

Workers compensation not addressed

An earlier version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives would have classified coronavirus as an “occupational disease” and would have allowed food workers, first responders and corrections officers to receive workers’ compensation benefits for the disease.  However, the Senate removed the workers’ compensation provisions from the final bill based on its belief that the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is already covering 85% of such claims.

What does H.B. 606 mean for agricultural businesses?

The new law provides certainty that agricultural businesses won’t be assailed by lawsuits seeking damages for COVID-19.  A person claiming harm from exposure to COVID-19 at an agricultural business will only be successful upon a showing that the business acted recklessly and with intentional disregard or indifference to the possibility of COVID-19.  That’s a high evidentiary standard and burden of proof for a claimant.

As is often the case when an immunity bill is enacted, however, there are several reasons why businesses should not let down their guards because of the new law.   Note that while the law rejects government guidelines and orders about COVID-19 as a basis for placing legal duties upon businesses, following such guidelines and recommendations can counter an allegation of reckless or indifferent behavior about COVID-19 exposure or transmission.  And there can be consequences from COVID-19 other than litigation, such as impacts on customer and employee health and safety, workers’ compensation claims, and negative publicity from an alleged COVID-19 outbreak.  Continuing to take reasonable actions to manage COVID-19 and documenting actions taken can enhance the certainty offered by Ohio’s new COVID-19 immunity law.

Read H.B. 606 here.

First Aid at Agritourism Venues during COVID-19 Pandemic

by: Dee Jepsen, PhD, Associate Professor and State Safety Program Leader, Agricultural Safety & Health

Lisa Pfeifer, Educational Program Manager, Agricultural Safety & Health

When agritourism operations are open for business during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to consider how first aid treatment will be impacted. No matter their size, medical emergencies require prompt attention. Having trained employees ready to handle the situation, shows responsibility and compassion of the agritourism venue.

First Aid Kits

Every agritourism operation should have a first aid kit available for employees (and possibly the public) to access. Kits are available in different sizes. Permanent kits can be mounted in a central location; portable kits are good to have in farm vehicles and also readily available to take to remote areas away from the main building. Items in the kit can be personalized to your operation and include:

  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Gauze pads & various sized bandages
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Burn cream
  • Insect sting relief
  • Sunscreen
  • Eyewash kit
  • Ibuprofen/Aspirin tablets

Extra precautions must be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additional items for first aid kits for this season are:

  • Hand sanitizer or foaming hand wash sanitizers
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Nitrile disposable gloves
  • Disposable face mask
  • CPR face shield

 First Aid Treatments

When providing first aid care, human nature will be to act urgently. However, continue to follow COVID-19 precautions while offering personalized attention.

  • Have the sick or injured person and the caregiver team wear face coverings.
  • Limit bystanders and non-essential responders to six feet distancing. Also, limit the number of persons in direct contact with the sick or injured person.
  • Wash hands before and after treatment.
  • Wear disposable gloves during any contact or treatment. Properly remove and dispose of the gloves.
  • Aftercare has occurred, clean and sanitize the area, and any items that have touched the patient.

Performing CPR

Cardiac emergencies can occur at any time. Being trained in CPR is a valuable skill to help adults, children, and infants during breathing emergencies. Due to the remote locations of agritourism operations, it is advised to immediately call 9-1-1 to start emergency vehicles en route.

  • CPR can be started at any time by trained individuals. Untrained individuals, or those uncomfortable performing CPR on the victim, can start Hands-Only CPR (continuous chest compressions without any mouth to mouth contact). Wear protective gloves.
  • Use a breathing barrier for administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The risk of disease transmission is low when using a CPR face shield.

OSU Extension Bulletin Forthcoming

OSU Extension has prepared a guidance bulletin to help farms develop their plans. The guide is based on publications from the state of Ohio, the CDC, and others. The guide is in the final stage of the approval process and will be available in the coming days. This guide can be used to develop opening plans or update existing plans for agritourism operations.

The guidance bulletin will be posted here on the Ohio Ag Manager website. To watch for updates on the guide, we encourage farms to subscribe to our Ohio Ag Manager Blog at http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu/

Keeping Agritourism Employees Healthy this Season

by: Dee Jepsen, Lisa Pfeifer, Eric Barrett, Rob Leeds, Peggy Hall & Brad Bergefurd 

Agritourism operations need to go above and beyond to plan for safe operations of their farms during the COVID-19 pandemic. The public is looking forward to participating in traditional autumn activities, especially when they know health practices are being followed by the venue.

Employees are a critical piece to any business. When key employees are ‘out sick’, the agritourism activities may be affected or not offered at all. Employers will want to safeguard their small staff during the pandemic to ensure they are providing the necessary protection for their staff, as well as their agritourism guests.

Worker safety starts with good workplace practices.

Start with the basics. All staff should practice the CDC guidelines of washing hands, wearing masks, keeping six feet physical distance, and staying home when sick. Additional precautions include:

  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer for remote locations.
  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
  • Use disposable paper towels. There should be no shared towels, including shop rags.
  • Discourage the sharing of any food or beverages.
  • Establish protocols for sanitizing common gathering places like the shop, lunch areas, and office spaces. Cleaning and disinfecting high touch areas, like door handles, phones, 2-way radios, keyboards, light switches, monitors/touchpads, faucets/sinks, and restroom areas.
  • Avoid ride-sharing in company vehicles, when possible.

Schedule employees to work in teams.

Employers should look at the functions of the total operation. Creating workforce teams or ‘pods’ can help ensure an operation minimizes the impacts should a worker become ill or test positive for the coronavirus. Try to schedule these employees to work together without co-mingling the pods. This will reduce the risk of quarantining the entire workforce, in the event, someone within a pod becomes ill or tests positive for the coronavirus.

Levels of risk will differ with different job descriptions. By thinking in advance, it will be possible to make appropriate plans for employee work shifts and have protective mechanisms in place for high exposure areas.

  • Group employees according to their contact with the general public, on-site service providers, or other co-workers. Manage employee schedules without overlapping work crews who work in the different areas of the operation. For example, keep the pick-your-own field staff in separate teams from the employees who handle checkout and re-stocking at the store.
  • You may also consider grouping employees based on their demographics or their personal environments. Do some of your employees face high exposure risks at home because of a spouse’s work setting? Is it possible to group younger workforces together to minimize exposure to senior workers or workers who are caregivers to elderly or susceptible family members?

Establish an employee health reporting system

Create a plan for how daily health checks and reporting illness will be handled. Discuss these procedures with employees. Workers that are experiencing COVID symptoms may be contagious. Follow your local health department requirements by asking sick employees to stay home or self-quarantine from the rest of the farm workforce.

  • Create a health screening assessment questionnaire and have employees take their temperature before reporting to work. Ask employees to stay home if they have any symptoms or temperatures over 100.4⁰F.
  • Encourage employees to reduce out-of-state travel, participation in mass-group events (weddings, funerals, graduations, etc.), and practice recommendations from the state for social distancing in their off-work environments.
  • Send sick employees to get tested as soon as possible to minimize the ‘wait period’ for test results. Treat employees who are feeling sick or waiting for test results the same, and assume they are positive for coronavirus.

 Prepare a business continuity plan.

Have a plan in place to accommodate a reduction in the workforce. If employees are not available to work, identify which activities will be closed or managed differently. When management is not available to work, have a contingency plan for keeping the operation open.

  • Are employees cross-trained to do handle additional tasks?
  • Are keys available to barns and gates and equipment?
  • Do employees have access to all needed information, like passwords to important accounts?

OSU Extension Bulletin Forthcoming

OSU Extension has prepared a guidance bulletin to help farms develop their plans. The guide is based on publications from the state of Ohio, the CDC, and others. The guide is in the final stage of the approval process and will be available in the coming days. This guide can be used to develop opening plans or update existing plans for agritourism operations.

The guidance bulletin will be posted here on the Ohio Ag Manager website. To watch for updates on the guide, we encourage farms to subscribe to our Ohio Ag Manager Blog at http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu/

Planning to Open Agritourism for Fall and Christmas Seasons

by: Eric Barrett, Rob Leeds, Peggy Hall, Dee Jepsen, Lisa Pfeifer & Brad Bergefurd

In big or small ways, COVID-19 has impacted aspects of farming and agribusiness. Safety, health, and wellness have become necessary concerns for all farm operations. Inviting the public to an agricultural operation for activities requires farm businesses to take additional safety measures for employees and customers. Agritourism is unique in that the activities offered by farms are enjoyed by the greater community in a managed, mostly outdoor environment.

Beyond agriculture, the pandemic has been especially difficult for businesses that focus on entertainment and related activities where large groups of people congregate. To the public, agritourism may seem similar to fairs and festivals. But agritourism is quite different. Agritourism farms are operated over a series of weeks and even months. Many have been operating pick-your-own activities and farm market/produce stands throughout the pandemic. Agritourism farms engage in emergency planning (i.e. – u.osu.edu/agritourismready). These farms are well staffed and have adopted effective tools over the years to manage all types of customer situations. Their livelihood depends on their ability to manage crowds and keep customers safe.

Agritourism operations need to go above and beyond to plan for safe operations of their farms during the pandemic. This is not only important for public safety; it is important for the future of the farm business. Additionally, customers may see well-planned safety measures as a reason to visit the farm during these challenging times.

As operations begin putting together COVID-19 safety plans for their fall and Christmas seasons it is important that the farm communicates and develops a working relationship with the local health department. The local health department is the entity that is charged with protecting the health of the community and ensuring that the standards outlined in the Responsible RestartOhio orders are met. When making the first call to the local health department, farms should have an outline prepared for the preliminary discussion. For Example, be able to explain What activities will happen, and the plan for disinfecting high touch areas of the farm. Some preliminary guidance is available that relates to agritourism farms. This includes:

Consumer, Retail, Services and Entertainment

https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Consumer-Retail-Services.pdf

Restaurants, Bars, and Banquet & Catering Facilities/Services

https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Restaurants-and-Bars.pdf

Ohio K-12 Schools (As it relates to operating school tours)

https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/schools/K-12-Schools-Guidance.pdf

Child Care (As it relates to operating school tours)

https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/responsible/Sector-fact-sheet-8-Child-Care.pdf

Local departments may also have additional resources and insights that will help put together a plan to allow farms to keep their guests safe and address situations that may arise during the season. The earlier you can meet with them the more help they can provide. Help them get familiar with your operation and how its operated. Talk to them about keeping your guests safe while sustaining the farm. This year our guests will be looking for fun and safe activities, working with our local partners will be one way we can show our commitment to safety.

OSU Extension Bulletin Forthcoming

OSU Extension has prepared a guidance bulletin to help farms develop their plans. The guide is based on publications from the state of Ohio, the CDC and others. The guide is in the final stage of the approval process and will be available in the coming days. This guide can be used to develop opening plans or update existing plans for agritourism operations.

The guidance bulletin will be posted here on the Ohio Ag Manager website. To watch for updates on the guide, we encourage farms to subscribe to our Ohio Ag Manager Blog at http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu/

 

 

 

U.S. Farm Liquidity Measures Projected to Decline in 2020

by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR

Click here for Article (access the figures)

Liquidity is a measure of the ability of a farm to use cash or ability to convert assets to cash quickly to meet short-term (less than 12 months) liabilities when due.  Data from the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) forecast a continued decline in 2020 of liquidity on U.S. farms.  This article discusses two metrics, the current ratio and working capital, to evaluate liquidity.

Working Capital

USDA-ERS projects farm working capital to decline from the 2012 level of more than $160 billion to $52 billion in 2020 (see Chart 1).  Working capital is the value of cash and short-term assets that can easily be converted to cash minus amounts due to creditors within 12 months.  These are considered “short-term” assets and liabilities.  Having adequate working capital is important for a farm to meet obligations as they come due, take advantage of pre-pay discounts, and manage through price declines or unexpected expenses.

Like many things in agriculture, knowing how much working capital a farm needs varies based on several factors.  These include farm size, farm type, and market volatility.  The working capital to gross revenue ratio is a measurement of the working capital divided by the gross sales of the business. This ratio measures the amount of working capital compared to the size of the business.  Lenders prefer a working capital to gross revenues ratio of 40 percent or better. This means that if the business has $1 million in gross sales, working capital would need to be $400,000 or 40 percent of $1M.  When the working capital ratio falls below .20, a farm may have difficulty meeting cash obligations .in a timely manner.

Chart 1. (Source: USDA-ERS, February 5, 2020) (see PDF version to access charts)

Current Ratio

The current ratio is calculated as total current assets divided by total current debt (or liabilities).  Current is defined as less than 12 months.  Current assets include: cash, accounts receivable, fertilizer and supplies, investment in growing crops, crops held for storage and feed, and market livestock.  Current liabilities include: accounts payable/accrued expenses, income and social security taxes payable, current portion of deferred taxes, current loans due within one year, current portion of term debt, and accrued interest.

USDA-ERS expects the value of current assets to decline 3.5% and current liabilities to increase 2.3% in 2020.  The current ratio of U.S. agriculture was 2.87 in 2012 and is projected by USDA-ERS to fall to 1.42 in 2020 (see Chart 2).  If a farm has $100,000 in current assets and $70,000 in current liabilities, the current ratio equals 1.42.  A current ratio of 2:1 or greater is desirable and indicates a farm has $2 in short-term assets for every $1 in short-term debt.

Chart 2.  (Source: USDA-ERS, February 5, 2020)  (see PDF version to access charts)

Management Tips

Farm financial management is critical in today’s volatile environment.  Consider the following management tips:

  • Complete an annual balance sheet. Using your numbers, calculate trends.
  • Compare your numbers with recommended benchmark values.
  • Discuss your numbers with your lender.
  • Contact your local Extension educator or enroll in the Ohio State University Extension Farm Business Analysis and Benchmarking Program (https://farmprofitability.osu.edu/).

References

Assets, Debt, and Wealth, United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-economy/farm-sector-income-finances/assets-debt-and-wealth/

Deterioration of Working Capital, University of Illinois Farmdoc, https://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2020/03/deterioration-of-working-capital.html

Improve Understanding of Your Farm’s Working Capital, Michigan State University Extension, https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/improving_understanding_of_your_farms_working_capital

Minding Your Balance Sheet and Working Your Working Capital, University of Illinois Farmdoc, https://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/2019/01/minding-your-balance-sheet-working-your-working-capital.html

The Basics of a Farm Balance Sheet, Ohio State University Extension, https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-64#:~:text=The%20farm%20balance%20sheet%20is,information%20about%20a%20farm%20business.&text=The%20balance%20sheet%20is%20also,solvency%2C%20and%20risk%20bearing%20capacity.

 

 

Farm Office Live Webinar Slated for Thursday, June 11 at 9:00 a.m.

OSU Extension is pleased to be offering the a “Farm Office Live” session on Thursday morning, June 11 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.  Farmers, educators, and ag industry professionals are invited to log-on for the latest updates on the issues impact our farm economy.

The session will begin with the Farm Office Team answering questions asked over the two weeks.  Topics to be highlighted include:

  • Updates on the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program
  • Prevent Plant Update
  • Business & Industry CARES Act Program
  • EIDL Update
  • CFAP- update on beef classifications and commodity contract eligibility
  • Dicamba Court Decision Update
  • Other legal and economic issues

Plenty of time has been allotted for questions and answers from attendees. Each office session is limited to 500 people and if you miss the on-line office hours, the session recording can be accessed at farmoffice.osu.edu the following day.  Participants can pre-register or join in on Thursday morning at  https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive 

 

Being and Maintaining an Economically Resilient Farm

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

The word “resilience” is used often in the agricultural press.  What does this mean?  Merriam-Webster defines resilience as:

  1. The capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress.
  2. An ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change.

We often see resilience used in agriculture when discussing climate and weather.  There is documented evidence of weather changes that have impacted agriculture, and farmers have done their best to adapt to these changes.  Examples include building soil health, managed grazing, the use of cover crops, water management strategies, technology adoption, and more.

Resilience can also be used when discussing the economics of agriculture and the resulting effects.  It is no surprise to anyone in agriculture that people are strained, are experiencing stress, and are trying to adjust to new and different ways of operating.

Strategies to Be Economically Resilient

  • Mission statement

A mission statement is a short description of the fundamental reasons your business exists – its critical purpose.  The statement aligns what the business says it does, what it actually does, and what others believe it is about.  The statement reflects the underlying values, goals, and purposes of the business.

Example mission statement:

“The mission of Brown Family Farms is to produce high-quality crops in sufficient quantity and quality to provide a good standard of living for our family and employees.  We believe a farm is the perfect environment to raise a family and strive to have the farm remain a viable business for future generations.”

  • Set Goals

An acronym commonly used to describe goals is SMART.  Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Timed to be useful management tools.  As you develop goals, it may be helpful to divide them into personal, production, and operational categories.

Goals should be:

Specific – and focus on a specific problem or need

Measurable – to have some means of tracking achievement

Action-oriented – action is the pathway to achieving goals

Realistic – aim high, but keep goals within the realm of possibility

Timed – to include a realistic completion date

  • Know Your Cost of Production

Do you know the true costs to produce every acre of a crop, every pound of milk, every ton of hay, and each pound of meat?   Are there some crops or livestock that make more money than others?  Are there some acres that could be converted to a use that provides a higher net return?  How does your farm compare with the established farm financial ratios?  An in-depth financial analysis can help answer these and other questions.

Visit the Ohio State University Extension Farm Profitability Program (https://farmprofitability.osu.edu/) for additional information or to enroll in the Benchmarking Program.

  • Postpone Major Capital Investments

Most everyone is already doing this, but it is a good idea to assess what investments are necessary, how urgent these needs are for your farm, and the cost of these investments.  Do you really need to buy a new piece of equipment?  Could you accomplish what is needed by hiring someone or renting the equipment?  If you need to make a major capital investment, consider not only the initial cost, but the associated “DIRTI 5” – Depreciation, Interest, Repairs, Taxes, and Insurance that must be accounted for after the purchase.

  • Restructure Debt

Discuss with your lender opportunities to refinance or restructure debt.  Do you have short-term liabilities that could be moved to intermediate notes to improve cash flow?

  • Evaluate Expenditures

Analyze your expenses to see where you might be able to trim costs without sacrificing production.  For example, can you reduce your seeding rates to reduce costs?  Ohio State University Extension has been conducting on-farm research to evaluate corn and soybean seeding rates.  Contact your Extension educator or review the trials reports here https://digitalag.osu.edu/efields/efields-reports.  Dairy farms will find helpful information and cost-control considerations here https://dairy.osu.edu/.

Talk with your nutritionist, agronomist, Extension educator, and other experts to evaluate inputs and expenditures.  Do you need every ingredient in your ration?  Do you need a seed variety with every available trait?

  • Reduce Family Living Expenses

The Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2018 indicate average family living expenses equaled $61,224 annually.   A February 2019 article published by the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota show a family of three averages almost $64,000 annually in family living expenses before paying income taxes or making other non-farm capital purchases and investments.  Are there “extras” that are costing too much?  Evaluate what you want versus what you need as a family.

  • Consider Non-Farm Income

The current pandemic may make finding off-farm employment more difficult, but there are opportunities.  Look in the local newspaper, conduct online searches, let family and friends know you or a family member could use help finding employment.  Calculate how much you need to earn at an off-farm job.

  • Seek Opportunities to Be Entrepreneurial

 Challenging times might not seem like the opportunity to get creative and extend the current workload further, but there likely are tangential opportunities to your existing business that meet the needs of the community. Maybe that is offering storage facilities, tree trimming, bookkeeping, or other enterprises. This can reenergize someone in a time when it is easy to feel down and creates a productive diversion. Some of the best creative work in this country came from a less than opportune economic environment.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

To say that operating a farm business in today’s environment is a challenge is an understatement!  There are plenty of people who want and are available to help you sort through the complexities, answer questions, and provide guidance to help you succeed.

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditures – 2018,  https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm

Characteristics of Financially Resilient Farms, University of Nebraska, https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2018/characteristics-financially-resilient-farms

Developing Goals for the Agricultural Business, Ohio State University Extension, https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-45

Family Living Expenses Add Up, Center for Farm Financial Management, University of Minnesota, https://finpack.umn.edu/family-living-expenses-add-up/

Whole Farm Planning Model, Ohio State University Extension, https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/anr-52

Farm Office Live Session Slated for Thursday, May 14 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.

OSU Extension is pleased to be offering the a “Farm Office Live” session on Thursday morning , May 14 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.  Farmers, educators, and ag industry professionals are invited to log-on for the latest updates on the issues impact our farm economy.

The session will begin with the Farm Office Team answering questions asked over the ten days.  Topics to be highlighted include:

  • Updates on the CARES Act, Payroll Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Update
  • Corn and soybean budgets
  • Supply and demand balance sheets
  • Other legal and economic issues

Plenty of time has been allotted for questions and answers from attendees. Each office session is limited to 500 people and if you miss the on-line office hours, the session recording can be accessed at farmoffice.osu.edu the following day.  Participants can pre-register or join in on Thursday morning at  https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive