The Management Calendar

Gordon Groover, Extension Economist, Farm Management, Department of
Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Listed below are the items that should be considered for inclusion on the farm business managers’ calendar for spring and summer of 2015:

  • Half the business year will soon be behind us and a six-month financial record check-up is in order.  Updating your records through the month of June allows you to quickly gauge financial progress by comparing the farm’s actual expenses and income to your budgeted amounts.  If you did not develop a budget, compare your mid-year expenses and income to half the items reported on your 2014 Schedule F.  Flag any items that are different from budgeted amounts.  These differences are not necessarily problems, just items that need to be examined and explained.

  • Watch your line-of-credit and be sure to keep in touch with your lender.  They all know that we are in a time of uncertain returns. Yet, it’s just good business practice to keep them informed of major changes (positive and less positive) and that you are managing the situation with alternative strategies for each conditional outcome.
  • Production records for livestock and crops should be updated for the first half of the year. Look for big changes from last year, and make sure to cross-reference these with production expenses.
  • ven with the time constraints of summer activities, try to plan and hold regular staff meetings with family members and employees to discuss work plans and set priorities for the next day/week.  Consider brainstorming about alternative ways to deal with problems.  Use some of the time to help discuss positive outcomes of previous plans, and recognize individuals for being creative and doing a good job.
  • Checking your credit rating in July should become an annual event. Independence Day should remind you that you should be independent from identity theft and credit mistakes. All individuals and business owners should annually check their credit rating.  Additional information on your rights to access your credit report and links to the site for obtaining a free copy of your credit report can be found at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) web site at www.ftc.gov/freereports.  The FTC cautions consumers to make sure they use the correct site because there are “Imposter” sites. In addition to information on credit reports the FTC web site has a lot of information for all consumers and is worth spending time exploring what available.
  • Identity theft has become a major concern for individuals with breaches of security at national retail stores, insurance providers, the Internal Revenue Service and so on. To become informed about this topic, see the Federal Trade Commission’s website on identity theft at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft and the IRS site “Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance” at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Identity-Protection.

Selective information available that might be useful for summer reading or bookmarking:

  • A must read for all of us involved in agriculture is the current issue of “Choices,” published by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and can be found at www.choicesmagazine.org/. The current theme is: “Revisiting the Evidence and Potential Solutions on Climate Change,” with an overview by introduced by Bruce A. McCarl and Brian C. Murray. Topical areas discussed are:
    • Climate Change, Vulnerability and Food Insecurity, John M. Antle
    • Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Crops, Elodie Blanc and John Reilly
    • The Inevitability of Climate Adaptation in U.S. Agriculture, Steven K. Rose
    • Elaborations on Climate Adaptation in U.S. Agriculture, Bruce A. McCarl
    • Why Have Carbon Markets Not Delivered Agricultural Emission Reductions in the United States? Brian C. Murray
    • GHG Mitigation in the Absence of a National Carbon Market, Jan Lewandrowski and Kathryn Zook.
    • Other articles of interest in Choices are:
      • Where the Grass is Always Greener: Dairy Farmer Location Preferences, Christopher Wolf, Marin Bozic, Mark Stephenson, and Katie Behnke
      • Trade Agreements: Impacts of the Uruguay Round and Prospects for the Future, E. Wesley F. Peterson
      • The Limits of Voluntary Conservation Programs, Marc Ribaudo
      • The Broiler Industry: Competition and Policy Challenges, Tomislav Vukina and Xiaoyong Zheng
  • Weights & Measurements conversions. William Edwards at Iowa State has developed a spreadsheet to help in converting many of the common weights, measure, and prices titled: “Conversions Between English and Metric Units (Decision Tool)” download at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/xls/c6-80conversions.xlsx.
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