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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Farm Financial Conferences in Southeast Virginia

Farm Business Management Update, December 1999

By Mike Roberts

As a result of continuing low commodity prices, droughts, hurricanes Dennis and Floyd, and subsequent rains, farmers in Southeastern Virginia, like many others, are suffering tremendously. Their businesses are treading in turbulent waters and in some cases, trying to survive mortal financial wounds. In light of these circumstances, farm business managers are repeatedly asking the question "How are we going to survive?"

Farmers need answers and help understanding government programs. Many programs are available to assist the farm business owner/manager. Sometimes the trouble is many programs overlap and are often confusing. Many farmers know how to work with the system to efficiently and can more easily manage their business. Many do not.

Government programs and specifications may, and often do, change from one year to the next, especially when natural disasters occur. Congress has just passed legislation containing additional aid to assist those ravaged by recent weather events, as well as attempting to resolve other inequities plaguing agriculture. President Clinton has signed the package into law. Financial tools are now in place that the astute farm manager can use to manage the bottom line of the business.

As a result of numerous requests for information, four Farm Financial Conferences have been planned. They will take place in four different areas of Southeastern Virginia. The first conference will be held at the Southampton Agriculture Center at the Southampton County Fair Grounds on December 15, 1999. The second will occur at the Hickory Ruritan Club on December 16, 1999. The third event is scheduled for December 21, 1999 at the Rowanty School in Carson, Virginia. The fourth one will be held December 22, 1999 at the Essex County Extension Office in Tappahanock, Virginia. Each conference is scheduled to run from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

The purpose for the Farm Financial Conferences is to bring together information from five major sources and to identify and facilitate the distribution of money available to farmers.

1. Government programs-Lending
Government funds distribution
2. Conservation Funds-Natural Resource Conservation
Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation
Soil and Water Conservation District
3. Crop Insurance-Risk Management Agency
4. Lending-Conventional and Non-traditional
5. Farm Business Management-Virginia Cooperative Extension
Thematic questions for each segment will be
  1. What money is available?
  2. Who qualifies for the money?
  3. How does the farmer get the money?

All speakers will be from the national, state, or regional level. Every conference meeting will have local representatives from each Farm Services Agency, Natural Resources Conservation, and Soil and Water Conservation District on hand to answer questions specific to local issues. Participants will also receive help to sign up for financial programs. Local lenders and crop insurance agencies will also be invited to participate.

The conference is a must-attend meeting for anyone actively engaged in any form of agricultural business activity. There promises to be something for everyone. If you plan to attend, contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office or the Southampton Extension Office at (757) 653-2572 to register.

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