The Management Calendar

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

Listed below are the items that need to be included on the farm business managers’ calendar for spring of 2014.

  • 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.     
  • 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 because higher feed, fuel, fertilizer, and input other prices may strain previous estimates.
  • 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.  Be sure to check with your local Farm Service Agency for changes in government programs and signup deadlines.  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.

·         2012 Agricultural Census – Preliminary state results can be found at the following National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) site:  www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/. During May county level results are scheduled to be released and will be available at this NASS web site.  Note: for individuals that want to expand their analysis of the 2012 Ag Census, download the “Desktop Data Query Tool.”  This application has not been released at this time, it will be available at the same Census web site. This tool provides a means to select data and save directly to other software for analysis, e.g., Excel, Access.

·         The National Ag Risk Library is a repository of excellent educational materials for farmers, educators, and service providers to agriculture and is found at www.agrisk.umn.edu. Some recent additions to the library are:

o   Publications on the 2014 Farm Bill at http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/Library/Topics.aspx?LIB=AR&ID=40180

o   Review of Lender Requirements for Beginning Farmer Loan Programs at http://www.agrisk.umn.edu/Library/Display.aspx?RecID=6738

·         The Western Farm Management Extension Committee maintains a web site Ag In Uncertain Times in both English and Spanish to provide current information to farmers, ranchers and educators about the challenges in today’s agricultural economy. There are  webinars and tools that maybe useful in your day-to-day management see:   http://www.farmmanagement.org/aginuncertaintimes/

·         Need to find information about Virginia’s Population, Income, Food Insecurity, Education, and Employment, Federal Funds, Organic Agriculture, Farm Characteristics, and much more (links to county-level data are included when available). Then follow this link to USDA-Economic Research Service State Fact Sheets: http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/state-fact-sheets.aspx#.UVrY2FeQMmx.

·         Contemplating a new business? If yes take a look at the Iowa State Ag Decision Maker New Business Development web page at:  www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wdvalueadded.html

·         Take a look at the March 2914 issues of Economic and Policy Update from the Ag Economics Department at University of Kentucky see http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agecon/index.php?p=209 for details.  You may be interested in one of the following:

o   Stocker Outlook for 2014, Kenny Burdine & Greg Halich

o   Changes to the Section 179 Expense Election, Laura Powers

o   Dairy Margin Protection Program Included in the Farm Bill,  Kenny Burdine

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