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The Management Calendar
Farm Business Management Update, June/July 2004
By Gordon Groover
Well, it is way past the time to have made the first cut of hay, yet it just keeps raining frequently enough to keep to keep folks out of the hay fields. I've seen only one farmer making hay along I-81 or in the New River Valley over the last two weeks. You cannot change the weather, but you can make good use of the downtime and include the following activities on your management calendar during June and July.
- Half the business year will soon be behind you, so a 6-month financial record checkup 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 2001 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 compare it to previous years, watching for large changes from your past experiences.
- 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.
- 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. The following web site shows the dates for USDA Agency Reports Calendar release with links to the appropriate agency web sites: http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/rptcal/calindex.htm
- Update estimates of harvest time and yields and develop new plans for possible delays or shortfalls of forages for late harvest.
- You can find up-to-date information on your county's Loan Deficiency Program (LDP) and Posted County Price (PCP) at the following Farm Service Agency web site http://www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/psd/ldp/default.htm
- Find out what you and other farmers said about agriculture in the 21st century. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) released the full results of 2002 Ag Census June 3. See the NASS web site for all the details http://www.nass.usda.gov/census/. If you want a printed copy or CD you may have to wait a few months.
- The Farm Foundation has started a new publication series (Issue Report) addressing important issues facing agriculture. May's Report addresses ³Production Contracts² and April's topic covers ³Farmland Preservation.² To read these reports go to http://www.farmfoundation.org and click on the link to Issue Report.
- Even with the time constraints of getting ready for hay harvest, plan 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 low quality hay.
- Checking your credit rating in July should become an annual event. Independence Day should remind you that you should be independent from identify theft and credit mistakes. All individuals and businesses should annually check their credit ratings. Three main companies track credit and will provide a copy of your credit report for a fee.
- Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Phone: (800) 685-1111
Web page: http://www.equifax.com/
475 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: (888) 397 3742
Web page: http://www.experian.com/
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
Phone: (800) 888-4213
Web page: http://www.transunion.com/
June-July marks the end of spring and the flurry of summer activities; enjoy!
Virginia Cooperative Extension