The Management Calendar

Gordon Groover, Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Listed below are the items to consider including on your spring 2015farm business management calendar.

  • Make sure your Virginia state income taxes are postmarked by May 1.
  • Review first quarter livestock records and compare them to last year’s; look for both problems and successes and plan this season management strategies.
  • Livestock producers should develop a detailed feed budget each year. Include current feed costs, estimate this year’s production under average and drought conditions, and estimate demand a full year out.  Estimated deficits should be addressed now.  First, look locally for alternatives. For example, can you contract with a neighbor to buy their forages or grains, can you rent additional land, can you work with a grain farmer to harvest his grain crop as silage, can you buy grain at harvest at a discount, or consider high moisture grain?  Second, if you cannot find local solutions, then look to reputable brokers for forage and try to line up part of your supply needs this spring.  As the season progresses, keep the budget up-to-date to make sure you have covered your feed demand for the next year. Conversely, if you expect a surplus begin to consider alternatives to increase cash income and cash flow.
  • Follow up with your lender to review and update your line-of-credit needs with an eye on possible downside risk higher input price and/or lower output prices.
  • Prepare your crop record keeping system for a new year, updating soil tests and reviewing and problems from last season.
  • Update your marketing plan by collecting information on prices and world market situations.  Review USDA and other crop and price forecasts.  You can receive notification of all USDA reports now via many different media.  See the following web site for details: www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=USDA_STR

Listed below are the items that need to be included on the farm business managers’ reading list and calendar for the next two months.

  • Ten Tax Tips for Farmers can be found on the IRS website http://www.irs.gov/uac/Ten-Tax-Tips-for-Farmers and other tax tips for individuals and business are found at http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Tax-Tips
  • A must read for all of us involved in agriculture are the current articles from “Choices,” an online magazine published by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, found at http://www.choicesmagazine.org/choices-magazine. Topics include:
    • Theme Overview: China as the Leading U.S. Agricultural Export Market
    • Will China Import More Corn?
    • Emerging Markets for U.S. Meat and Poultry In China
    • Russia’s Economic Crisis and its Agricultural and Food Economy
    • Managing Marketing and Pricing Risks in Evolving Agricultural Markets
    • Community Economics of Local Foods
    • What Do We Mean by “Local Foods”?
    • What We Know and Don’t Know About the Economic Development Benefits of Local Food Systems
    • What Policy Options Seem to Make the Most Sense for Local Food?
  • Important articles for growers and feeders of grain are articles on the Ag Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) in their Renewable Fuels Monthly Report http://www.agmrc.org/renewable_energy/. Topics include
    • Impact of Crude Oil Price Collapse on Corn Starch Ethanol
    • Impact of Declining Oil Prices on the Future of Solar Energy
    • Prices, Profitability and Supply/Demand
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