Drought conditions across a growing number of South Dakota counties have many livestock producers facing forage shortages. The Agriculture Act of 2014, most commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill, includes programs designed to assist livestock producers facing extended drought conditions.
As drought conditions continue, counties within the hardest hit areas have an opportunity to apply for emergency funding for farmers and ranchers requiring assistance with water relief and water conservation measures through the USDA Farm Service Agency.
Creep feeding is the practice of supplying additional nutrition to calves to help fully maximize genetic growth potential. It is also a practice that should be evaluated for feed conversion, cost of gain and market price slide when considering the use of additional feed throughout the summer months.
Pounds of beef sold is a key number for cattlemen. Late calvers the cows that drag out the calving season, may cost producers more than extra work and management, they may actually be costing dollars. Standardized Performance Analysis (SPA) has been around for decades. This tool helps determine what the actual costs to raise a calf from breeding to weaning. Many producers create a budget for marketing and financing purposes, but SPA calculates the real, final costs.
In early 2017 cattle producers were frustrated by price levels below where fundamental indications suggested they could be. In recent weeks the cash and futures prices have moved higher, finally providing an opportunity for producers wanting solid price protection across different cattle sectors. It may also be a time for any hedgers that implemented protection strategies early in the year to revisit coverage and perhaps roll up to higher floor prices or lock in higher price levels available now.
Two methods of measuring farm income are used and reported on by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other reporting sources, Net Cash Farm Income and Net Farm Income. While the two use very similar words, the formulas and use of them is different, and should be understood when reading reports regarding one or the other to discuss and understand the current farm income situation.
As family farms and ranches grow, both in dollars handled annually, and the number of individuals involved, a business approach to family and non-family employee management should be considered. This article will focus on hiring and employment policies.
Answering the tough questions about transitioning the operation to the next generation is an important step for farm families. It is also a step that is often missed. “It’s family, it will all work itself out” is a common myth believed by fathers, sons, moms and daughters. This perception sets the family up for discord, unfavorable work conditions and the failure of the operation to pass to the next generation. Those three situations are rarely the goals the family has for personal relationships or the business.
Income tax season is a favorite for producers near and far (note the level of sarcasm in this statement). While it is a time to collect all the forms mailed to you, review all the forms you need to mail out and determine taxable income and deductible expenses, it is also a good time to evaluate the profitability of your operation.
January is behind us, hopefully taking the bitter cold with it. One thing will not move out with the running of the calendar is the need for producers to become better farm managers. The low market price trend is expected to last through 2017, into 2018. Managers will survive, and maybe thrive, based on the decisions and actions they make. Those viewing themselves as “just farmers” may not.