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 2014:

  • 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 2013 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.
  • Even 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.

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/. Two themes were highlighted in the second quarter issue of 2014:
    • Theme 1: Deciphering Key Provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014 with the theme overview written by  Jody Campiche.   
      • Jody Campiche, Joe Outlaw, and Henry Bryant discuss important issues for commodity programs titled: Agricultural Act of 2014: Commodity Programs
    • Theme 2:  Economic and Policy Analysis of Advanced Biofuels with the theme overview written by Gal Hochman. Additional articles on this theme are as follows:
      • Political Economy of Biofuel. David Zilberman, Gal Hochman, Scott Kaplan, and Eunice Kim.
      • Technology Forcing and Associated Costs and Benefits of Cellulosic Ethanol. John Miranowski.
      • The Potential for Aviation Biofuels-Technical, Economic, and Policy Analysis. Wallace E. Tyner and Ryan Petter.
      • Are Bioenergy Crops Riskier than Corn? Implications for Biomass Price. Ruiqing Miao and Madhu Khanna.
      • Biofuels at a Crossroads. Gal Hochman.
  • Are you contemplating a new business startup? Do you need information on improving management of your current business? If yes, there is a wealth of information at the Iowa State Ag Decision Maker New Business Development web page at:  http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/vdstart.html
  • Economic & Policy Update is published by the Agricultural Economics Department of the University of Kentucky is always a good sources of information and can be found at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agecon/index.php?p=209. This month’s topics are:
    • MarketReady Graduate Meet the Buyer Forum
    • Health Care Tidbits
    • Use of Measurements by Producers
    • Tobacco Census Data for Kentucky (includes Virginia)
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