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The Management Calendar
Farm Business Management Update, June/July 2005
By Gordon Groover, Extension Economist, Farm Management, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
So far this spring folks in the New River Valley have experienced cooler temperatures and NOAA http://weather.gov/outlook_tab.php shows we are running about 5 inches low on rainfall. Yet we have seen almost 5 days of wet and overcast skies leading to poor field work conditions with little hay being made so far this year. Regardless of the weather, here are some management activities to consider putting 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. You can find the dates for USDA Agency Reports Calendar release with links to the appropriate agency web sites at 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.
- 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.
- Interested in share livestock arrangements? Look at William Edwards, extension economist, Iowa State, who has a news article on "Beef Cow Sharing Agreements." It can be found at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/articles/edwards/EdwMay05.htm.
- Perplexed by how to price valued added products? You might want to take a look at a news article by Nancy Giddens, Joe Parcell, and Melvin Brees, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri, titled "Selecting an Appropriate Pricing Strategy." The article can be found at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/html/c5-17.html.
- 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 business owners should annually check their credit ratings. Access to free reports started on the West Cost and has been progressing eastward. Southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) gained access June 1st and by September 1, 2005, the rest of the states, D.C. and territories (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and all U.S. territories) will be able to access free copies of their credit reports annually. By timing your requests, you can effectively check your credit three times a year. You'll just have to set up a calendar to keep track of which time of the year you should send out your request. Additional information on your rights to access your credit reports can be found at the Federal Trade Commission's web site at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit/ycr_free_reports.htm. The three main credit reporting agencies are:
June-July marks the end of spring and the flurry of summer activities; enjoy!
Virginia Cooperative Extension