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The Management Calendar
Farm Business Management Update, June/July 2006
By Gordon Groover, (email@example.com), Extension Economist, Farm Management, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech
So far this spring folks in the New River Valley have experienced a wide range of weather and temperatures. Much of Virginia is considered to be experiencing a moderate drought (-2.0 to -2.9 Palmer Index) http://drought.unl.edu/dm/forecast.html; however, NOAA http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/season_drought.gif predicts improvement over the season.
- With half the business year soon be behind you, a six-month financial record check-up 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 2005 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, paying careful attention to 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 sign-up 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.
- Update estimates of harvest time and yields and develop new plans for possible delays or shortfalls of forages for late harvest.
- 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.
- Labor management or HR (human resource) management for agricultural related businesses is a rapidly growing area of interest. To find publications, computer tutorials, and links to other sites, visit Gregorio Billikopf Encina’s web site Agricultural Labor Management http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/ucce50/ag-labor/ at the University of California.
- 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. Additional information on your rights to access your credit report and links to the site for obtaining a free copy of your credit report can be found at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) web site at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit/ycr_free_reports.htm. The FTC cautions consumers to make sure they use the correct site because there are "Imposter" sites. To be sure, use the link above or go directly to http://www.ftc.gov/www and look for the links to consumer credit.
Need general facts about Virginia (population trends, educational levels, employment …) and agriculture statistics? Take a look at USDA Economics Research Service State Fact Sheet at http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/.
Virginia Cooperative Extension