You've reached the Virginia Cooperative Extension Newsletter Archive.
These files cover more than ten years of newsletters posted on our old website
(through April/May 2009), and are provided for historical purposes only.
As such, they may contain out-of-date references and broken links.
To see our latest newsletters and current information, visit our website at
Newsletter Archive index:
The Management Calendar
Farm Business Management Update, August/September 2003
By Gordon Groover
Farm business managers should consider putting the following activities on their management calendar for August-September.
- Be sure to get your crop records in shape as harvest time approaches, include yields, machine times and equipment used (this will help with next year's budgeting), identify weed problems, and differences in hybrids. If you are looking for a listing of crop record keeping software, be sure to visit "Ropin' the Web," Alberta, Canada's Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development site at http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/econ4118?opendocument. This winter after harvest is completed make sure you allow time to review inputs, yields, and management of each field. If you are using yield monitors, they are a ready source of information to analyze using a spreadsheet. Nutrient management plans require that applied nutrients closely follow expected crop removals; however; if farm-level records of yields/removals are not kept then nutrient applications are driven by county or soil averages. Documentation of farm yields will allow silage and hay producers to profitable match nutrients with field specific potentials. Consider ways to weigh wagons: if you live near a site with truck scales, weigh a few sample loads and use the results to better estimate yields. Consider purchasing a set of portable scales (less $2,000) that could be used to weigh all silage and hay crops. The added knowledge about nutrient removal and yields will allow you to make more profitable decisions.
- Pay close attention to cash flow needs as generally low overall prices and higher costs of inputs will yield lower cash reserves. Almost all computerized recordkeeping software, e.g., Quicken® or Microsoft Money® and accounting software, e.g. QuickBooks® or FarmWorks, create cash flow reports that assist in managing cash available for debt service, family living, and paying cash expenses. Compare this year's cash flow to the budgeted amount and highlight deviations. If you did not develop a budget for this year, compare your inflows and outflow to last year's August totals. Make sure you have a series of possible plans to address any projected cash short falls.
- The time to make tax management decisions is quickly approaching. Make sure that you have set aside a few days in October to summarize all farm and family financial records and make an appointment now with your accountant to work on end-of-year tax management strategies. To get an overview of the 2003 tax changes take a look at Daniel Osborn's article, 2003 Tax Changes, in this issue and if possible, plan on attending one of the Farm Tax Session to get up to speed on changes effecting farmers (see the article titled "2003 Income Tax Conference - Ten Virginia Locations" in this issue for details).
- "Employees." The mere mention of the word strikes terror among many a farmer. There are all kinds of issues like state and federal labor laws and regulations, INS, IRS, FUTA, SS, FICA. SUTA., or just finding a good employee is a problem and then figuring out how to keep him/her. Then, what about when you have problems - how do you get problems resolved so that the work is done? Just thinking about all these issues makes some farmers wish for the good old days of 40 acres and a mule. If you have reached this point with your employees or maybe family members, a visit to the University of California Agricultural Labor Management web site may have a high payoff (http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/7article/articles.htm). The site has a wealth of information on hiring, training, farm family relations, compensation, discipline, conflict and mediation, dairy incentive programs, and more.
- Dairy producers considering retirement or exiting the dairy business should consider putting a bid in to the CWT program (Cooperatives Working Together). The window to get a biding in is narrow - just 22 days starting August 1, 2003 and ending August 22, 2003. Farmers can submit a Herd Retirement or a Reduced Production Marketings bid. Details about the CWT program are listed at the following site http://www.cwt.coop/.
- Having a hard time finding USDA forms or having to stop everything to hand deliver a CCC633LDP? Most of the frequently used FSA, NRCS, and Rural Development forms that farmers need to complete can be found at the following site: http://forms.sc.egov.usda.gov/eforms/mainservlet. The USDA Service Center eForms cover all bases from agricultural Conservation Program to Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program. If you registered with the eForms web site, some of the forms can be submitted electronically and might save you a trip to town.
Virginia Cooperative Extension