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The Management Calendar
Farm Business Management Update, December 2008 - January 2009
By Gordon Groover (email@example.com), Extension Economist, Farm Management, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
Farm business managers should consider putting the following activities to put on their management calendars for December and January.
- Before the end of the year (calendar tax year filers), follow up on end-of-year tax
management strategies recommended by your tax advisor. Additional information can be
found in IRS publication 225 Farmer’s Tax Guide at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p225.pdf. Hard copies of Farmer’s Tax Guide can be obtained from your local
extension office or many of your public libraries.
- Begin closing out the farm books by collecting information for the farm net worth
statement. Around the first of the year when you need to walk off all that holiday food,
take a notepad or try out the new digital camera or cell phone as you walk around the
farm. Record the number and approximate value of all the farm assets (cattle, tractors,
machinery, buildings, inventories of grains and feedstuffs, chemicals, etc.) that can be
organized on the asset side of the balance sheet. Be sure to save the notes recording or,
better yet, place the notes recording in a safe location (safety deposit box or fireproof
box) for possible insurance claims. Review your end-of-year bank statements or contact
your lender for current listings for all personal and business liabilities.
- If you are using cash accounting methods for tax purposes (computerized business
records or hand kept), you need to make sure your actual records match the deposit and check dates for all claimed income and expenses. A quick check of the records will help
address any problems that might arise at tax time.
- Plan to get all tax records summarized and to your tax advisor by February 1, 2008, and
check with your Virginia Cooperative Extension's farm business management agent on
farm-related changes in state and federal taxes. A listing of Virginia tax credits can be
found at the following site: http://www.tax.virginia.gov/site.cfm?alias=TaxCredit. Make
sure that your tax advisor is aware of these credits. An abbreviated list of credits for
agriculture and forestry are listed below.
- Agricultural Best Management Practices Credit
- Conservation Tillage Equipment Credit
- Fertilizer and Pesticide Application Equipment Credit
- Land Preservation Tax Credit
- Riparian Waterway Buffer Credit
- Using 2008 financial and production records develop projected budgets, cash flow, and
income statements for 2009. If you are using Quicken or QuickBooks, use the automated
feature to create a budget based on last year as a starting place to create a detailed budget
to reflect your expected costs and returns for 2009. If you are using the Virginia
Cooperative Extension “Farm Record Book: Expenses and Receipts,” the back pages
provide the forms to summarize all your financial data.
- Depending on the type of farm, begin working on a marketing plan for 2009 by collecting
information on prices and world market situations.
- The 2007 farm Bill made a number of changes in farm programs, if you have not already
done so, be sure to check with your local Farm Service Agency for changes in programs
and signup deadlines. Contact information for your local FSA office can be found at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=us&agency=fsa.
- Keep up-to-date on release of economic, crop conditions and estimates, world
agricultural situation and outlook, and many other USDA reports by looking at the USDA
report calendar at http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/rptcal/calindex.htm.
- Check on crop insurance policies by visiting the Risk Management Agency website at
http://www.rma.usda.gov/ to find an agent and view the multitude of policies that are
available in your area. Hay and livestock producers should take a look at this month's
article by Scott Reiter titled, New Crop Insurance Option for Virginia Pasture and Hay
Producers Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Vegetation Index.
- Close out and summarize livestock and/or crop records for 2008, noting problems that
must be addressed when making cropping, feeding, and breeding decisions during 2009.
Compare 2008 records to previous years looking for strengths and weaknesses.
- Review 2008's crop, hay, and livestock records for labor problems, bottlenecks, and
down times. Include all employees in spotting and planning to correct labor bottlenecks.
Draw up a labor flow chart listing estimated times and identify employees who will be
responsible for major tasks.
- Schedule regular meetings with all workers and family members to discuss work
activities as you gear up for the spring push. Make sure all workers feel free to suggest
ways to improve efficiency. Think about creating an employee handbook for important
information on pesticide safety, farm bio-security, and safe operations of machinery and
Selective information that might be useful to farmers and their advisors:
- The Virginia's Use Value Assessment Program web site has been updated for Tax Year
2009 (TY) (http://usevalue.agecon.vt.edu/)
- Interested in a discussion of fertilizer prices? Then take a look at the November issues of
the University of Kentucky’s Ag Economics Newsletter titled, Economic and Policy
Update then read Greg Halich’s article “The Blinking Game” at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/AgEcon/pubs/bluesheet/november.pdf. This is an excellent newsletter and worth bookmarking to visit monthly.
- USDA-ERS has1960-2008 data on fertilizer consumption in the United States by plant
nutrient and major selected product, as well as consumption of mixed fertilizers,
secondary nutrients, and micronutrients. Share of crop area receiving fertilizer and
fertilizer use per receiving acre, by nutrient, are presented for the major producing States
for corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat. Additional data include fertilizer farm prices and
indices of wholesale fertilizer price. All of this data is at
Virginia Cooperative Extension