Tag Archives: Farm Management

Value and implications of corn stover removal from Virginia fields

Gordon Groover, Extension Economist.

Read the full corn stover publication.


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The Great Debate: Harvesting vs. Grazing Forage

Contributed by Carl Stafford, Senior Extension Agent, Animal Science, Culpeper County

Wintering cost is one of the biggest expenses in producing beef cattle. John Howe, Spotsylvania Extension Agent, explained the difference in the cost of a pound of dry matter from pasture vs. that from harvested feed. He found that the equipment harvested feed can run 3 to 4 times the cost of that harvested by cattle.  Gordon Groover supports Howe in his article, “What I Know about Forage Economics,” Virginia Forager, Fall 2016, page 7.  He finds that each ton of hay could have more than $200 per ton equipment depreciation before “out-of-pocket” expenses are added.

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Overhead Costs to Employ Agricultural Guest Workers

***Update: The Event has been cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew. We hope to reschedule for the Spring Semester.

Jillian Broadwell, Communication Specialist, Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Please join us this Friday for a webinar with Dr. Derek Farnsworth, Ph.D.!

Dr. Farnsworth is an Extension Economist at the University of Florida and we look forward to sharing his insights as we broadcast the event live! Please find details for accessing the webinar below.


Friday, October 7, 2016 

3:00 – 4:00 pm, EST

How to join the meeting

Step 1.   Go to the meeting URL: https://virginiatech.webex.com/meet/KLMorgan

The WebEx meeting room will open by 2:30 pm EST for testing.  Enter your name and email address.  The meeting will begin promptly at 3:00 pm EST.  First-time WebEx users will be prompted to download and install the WebEx plug-in.  Once installed, you will be taken to the meeting Quick Start screen.

Step 2.  After joining the meeting, choose an audio option to hear the audio portion of the meeting.  Use the Call Me option with a telephone or the Call Using Computer option with your computer’s speakers or a headset.  You will not need a microphone or webcam for this meeting.

See the links below for more details about WebEx audio options.

A note about the WebEx plug-in for VA Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

The WebEx plug-in will not install if you do not have administrative rights on your PC.  To confirm you can install the WebEx plug-in, go to http://www.webex.com/test-meeting.html to join a WebEx test meeting.

If you do not have the correct privileges to download and install the WebEx plug-in, you should see a link on the WebEx set-up screen that says, “Run a temporary application to join this meeting immediately.” If you click that link the WebEx Meeting window will display without the plug-in being installed.

Consult with the IT professional for your organization for assistance.



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Managing Debt in Lean Years

Peter Callan, Extension Agent, Farm Business Management, Northern District

As a former dairyman and agricultural lender, I have sat on both sides of the table when a producer is faced with low milk prices and/or drought conditions. This has been the story during the spring and summer of 2016 with depressed milk and grain prices.  Many producers have been unable to pay their farm’s operating expenses and loan payments on a timely basis. Speaking from experience, this should not deter producers from communicating with their lenders.  Agricultural lenders understand that agriculture is a cyclical business. They realize that current milk and grain prices are below the breakeven costs for many producers. It is during these times that communication between lender and producer is most critical.

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What I Know about Forage Economics?

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

First, the key assumption behind this article is that the farm business in managed to make a profit. A second assumption is that the environment farm business managers face is not constant, or to quote Heraclitus, (535 BCE), “The only constant is change.” That is, as prices and technology change then management strategies, enterprises, and capital investments must change for the farm to remain profitable.  For example, few cow-calf producers harvest and feed corn silage to their beef cow herd as opposed to what was a common practice 40-50 years ago. Corn silage was and is still a high quality feed for ruminants, yet the capital investment to plant, harvest, transport, store, and feed has increased the total costs of corn silage. On a relative costs basis and with the help of round bale technology the cost of making hay was less than corn silage, leading to wholesale Continue reading

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Farm Financial Risk Management Publications for Beginning Farmers are now Available

There are many factors to consider before you start a new farm enterprise. Financial management is an important component in the start-up and decision-making process for beginning farmers. The purpose of this resource is to introduce you to the farm financial system and risk management for beginning farmers.  The topics covered in this resource are not all-inclusive, but after reading these papers, you should be prepared to move forward in planning for your farm.

Authors: Kim Morgan, Assistant Professor, Ag and Applied Economics, VA Tech;
Peter Callan, Extension Agent, Farm Business Management, Culpeper County;
Allyssa Mark, Graduate Research Assistant, Ag and Applied Economics, VA Tech;
Kim Niewolny, Associate Professor; Ag, Leadership, and Community Education, VA Tech;
Theresa Nartea, Assistant Professor, Virginia State University;
Kelli Scott, Extension Agent, Montgomery County;
Jim Hilleary, Extension Agent, Loudoun County

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The Management Calendar

Gordon Groover (groover@vt.edu), Extension Economist, Farm Management, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

Farm business managers should consider putting the following activities on their management calendar this winter. Continue reading

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2016 Winter Forage Conferences to Feature Experts on Tall Fescue

Theme: Tall Fescue in the 21st Century: Understanding and Managing Tall Fescue in Grazing Systems
Gordon Groover, Extension Specialist, Ag and Applied Economics, VA Tech

Dates: January 26-29, 2016

Tall Fescue in the 21st Century is the theme for the Virginia Forage and Grassland Council (VFGC) and Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) winter forage conferences. This year’s conference highlights current knowledge and practice that producers can apply to management of their tall fescue based grazing systems. This year’s speakers are nationally recognized experts in tall fescue production and management. The morning program will focus on understanding issues and problems with tall fescue and the afternoon program will explore potential solutions to these problems. Continue reading

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Tapping Into Big Data to Improve Agro-Environmental Outcomes

This article can be found in the the current issue of “Choices,” published by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

Private-public data partnerships have the potential to advance agricultural knowledge infrastructures while benefiting farmers, agribusinesses and the environment. These partnerships could collect information that improves on-farm management, food quality, and science-based environmental management. New communication technologies could lower the cost of better data while preserving privacy and confidentiality.


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Growing Farm Profits Online Courses, offered by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

Over the past five years, Southern SAWG and our partners have helped hundreds of diversified vegetable producers improve their profitability with our Growing Farm Profits program. Now the Southern SAWG training team has drilled down a little deeper into some of the recurring issues farmers face as they wrestle with profitability on their farms. This fall we will be addressing three of these issues in a series of one-hour webinars specifically designed for agricultural professionals who help diversified vegetable producers in the South. All webinars will begin at 3:30 p.m. (Eastern) and are free of charge. Here’s the rundown (see http://www.ssawg.org/growing-farm-profits for details):

  • Record Keeping for Profit Management for Vegetable Growers, October 22, 2015, 3:30 pm (ET)
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis for Vegetable Equipment Purchasing Decisions, November 19, 2015, 3:30 pm (ET)
  • Schedule F vs Profitability Accounting for Vegetable Farming, December 17, 2015, 3:30 pm (ET)
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