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    Ag Land Values Decrease Statewide on Average

    From 1991 to 2015, agricultural land values in South Dakota, and in most other major agricultural production states, appreciated each year. In 2016 on average all agricultural use land decreased in South Dakota except rangeland, which will be discussed in a future article.

    Read More »

    Decrease in Gross Cash Rent to Value Ratio: What does it mean for SD land investors?

    The current average cash rent to value rates of return on agricultural land in South Dakota remain very low. The rent to value (RTV) ratio is calculated by taking the cash rent per acre divided by the land value per acre. This calculation is an approximation for how rapidly an asset will pay for itself. The 2016 average RTV of land value was 2.7% for all agricultural land. Categorically, the average was 3.3% for cropland, and 2.4% for rangeland. During the 1990s, the same ratios were 7.4% for all agricultural land, 8.0% for cropland, and 6.8% for rangeland.

    Read More »

    Working Capital for South Dakota Farms

    Many farms in South Dakota built working capital and financial reserves between 2009 and 2012, a recent period of relatively high returns. Since 2013 the strong working capital position has been on a downward trend. Figure 1 shows average working capital positon per acre of farms enrolled in South Dakota Center for Farm and Ranch Management (SDCFRM) program.

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    Key Corn Production Costs Trends and Rent

    Crop production costs have not adjusted to the decrease in revenues received from them. The major costs (direct and fixed) which include seed, fertilizer, machinery, management and labor and cash rent, have not decreased as much as the revenues that farm operators have received in recent years. The costs for 2015 did decline from 2014 with most of the decrease coming from fertilizer and cash rent. Cost control will need to continue in 2017 as revenues are down and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC-CO) payments will likely decrease.

    Read More »

    Crop Rental Rates Down for Second Year in 2016

    This past year crop rental rates declined state wide compared to 2015. In 2015 the average rental rate for cropland across South Dakota was $145.10 per acre in 2016 the average was $141.00 per acre. This is a 2.8% decrease in the cropland rental rate state wide. This follows up a 3.3% decrease in 2015 as well. Some regions, such as the Northeast had greater decreases (12%), while others such as the Southwest had lower decreases (1.9%). The continuation of the decrease in crop rental rates is likely due to the current economic conditions.

    Read More »

    2016 Farm Family Income Expectations: What they mean

    The 2016 forecast of national net farm income was recently released by the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS). The ERS estimates a 3 percent decline compared to 2015 income figures. This is a potential decrease of $1.65 billion dollars in net farm income, a reduction in farm income from $56.45 billion in 2015 to $54.8 billion in 2016.

    Read More »

    Who Manages Your Business?

    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.

    Read More »

    Cover Crop Adoption: Farmers’ perceived benefits & barriers

    Cover crops are generally defined as crops planted between cash crops to cover and protect the soil. Some demonstrated benefits of cover crops include: reduced soil erosion, increased soil organic matter, increased biological diversity, increased nitrogen supply, and weed control. Depending on the farmers’ objectives, different species of cover crops can be planted. For example, if a farmer’s main objective is to increase nitrogen supply, then legume cover crops best suited to the farm area should be selected.

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    Farm & Ranch Taxes: 2016 Changes

    Tax rules and regulations change annually, so it is important for producers and tax professionals to stay up to date. For 2016 there have been some changes to the farmers and ranchers tax guide. This article will highlight the majority of the 2016 updates.

    Read More »

    Insuring Corn and Other Spring Crops

    With producers evaluating marketing strategies and the looming March 15 insurance sales deadline, several trends are emerging. By monitoring these trends, producers may be able to refine their marketing plans for corn, soybeans and spring wheat. New crop futures prices are tallied during February and their average during the month determines the projected price for insurance purposes.

    Read More »

    The Importance of Depreciation when Keeping Records

    Depreciation is an important part of keeping records in agriculture. Depreciation is a reduction in the value of an asset over time, due to wear and tear. Things such as tractors, trailers, etc. all depreciate over time. Depreciation is also a way to make an income tax deduction to recover the cost of qualifying assets. Careful consideration of how to report tax depreciation helps producers comply with IRS regulations and can result in a reduction of income taxes paid.

    Read More »

    Agricultural Generational Communications: Part 2

    As we continue with the series on ‘Agricultural Generational Communications’, we introduced you to a mock farm called “ABC Farm” consisting of senior generation, 71-yr-old (John) who started the farming business, his son (Tom) a 51-yr-old, farming alongside his dad for nearly 25 years, and grandson/son 24-year old (Brandon) who returned to the farm after completing college. This farm example will be used to provide tips on working across generations in agriculture.

    Read More »

    Importance of Keeping Records for Filing Taxes on the Ranch/Farm

    While most people must file taxes by April 15, 2017, farmers’ and ranchers’ taxes must be filed by March 3rd. Due to the filing deadline many producers are beginning the process of gathering their important paperwork. In general, the law does not require any specific kinds of records (there are a few exceptions though). A producer can choose any kind of record keeping system they wish to use for their business (ex. Quicken, QuickBooks, Easy Farm, paper ledger, paper journal etc.).

    Read More »

    USDA-ARMS Survey Data: Benefits for university agriculture research & outreach

    Conducted since the mid-1990s, the USDA Agricultural Management Resource Survey (ARMS) is a multi-phase, multi-level nationwide survey of agricultural producers that collects information on a large sample of farms and their characteristics. Data collected includes financial performance, expenses, revenues, farm organization characteristics, farm management techniques, use of contracts, and operator demographic characteristics.

    Read More »

    Farm & Ranch Taxes: 2016 Changes

    Tax rules and regulations change annually, so it is important for producers and tax professionals to stay up to date. For 2016 there have been some changes to the farmers and ranchers tax guide. This article will highlight the majority of the 2016 updates.

    Read More »

    Insuring Corn and Other Spring Crops

    With producers evaluating marketing strategies and the looming March 15 insurance sales deadline, several trends are emerging. By monitoring these trends, producers may be able to refine their marketing plans for corn, soybeans and spring wheat. New crop futures prices are tallied during February and their average during the month determines the projected price for insurance purposes.

    Read More »

    Ag Land Values Decrease Statewide on Average

    From 1991 to 2015, agricultural land values in South Dakota, and in most other major agricultural production states, appreciated each year. In 2016 on average all agricultural use land decreased in South Dakota except rangeland, which will be discussed in a future article.

    Read More »

    Decrease in Gross Cash Rent to Value Ratio: What does it mean for SD land investors?

    The current average cash rent to value rates of return on agricultural land in South Dakota remain very low. The rent to value (RTV) ratio is calculated by taking the cash rent per acre divided by the land value per acre. This calculation is an approximation for how rapidly an asset will pay for itself. The 2016 average RTV of land value was 2.7% for all agricultural land. Categorically, the average was 3.3% for cropland, and 2.4% for rangeland. During the 1990s, the same ratios were 7.4% for all agricultural land, 8.0% for cropland, and 6.8% for rangeland.

    Read More »

    Key Corn Production Costs Trends and Rent

    Crop production costs have not adjusted to the decrease in revenues received from them. The major costs (direct and fixed) which include seed, fertilizer, machinery, management and labor and cash rent, have not decreased as much as the revenues that farm operators have received in recent years. The costs for 2015 did decline from 2014 with most of the decrease coming from fertilizer and cash rent. Cost control will need to continue in 2017 as revenues are down and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC-CO) payments will likely decrease.

    Read More »

    Crop Rental Rates Down for Second Year in 2016

    This past year crop rental rates declined state wide compared to 2015. In 2015 the average rental rate for cropland across South Dakota was $145.10 per acre in 2016 the average was $141.00 per acre. This is a 2.8% decrease in the cropland rental rate state wide. This follows up a 3.3% decrease in 2015 as well. Some regions, such as the Northeast had greater decreases (12%), while others such as the Southwest had lower decreases (1.9%). The continuation of the decrease in crop rental rates is likely due to the current economic conditions.

    Read More »

    The ‘Other’ Dakota Leads the Nation in Economic Growth

    It was a surprise when I read this headline a couple of months ago in the Wall Street Journal. We have been used to read about the oil boom in North Dakota and the incredible pace of its economic growth in the past several years. The refreshing surprise however was that the “other Dakota” referred to in that article was South Dakota! And what was even more important was that 75% of that growth came from agriculture.

    Read More »

    2016 Farm Family Income Expectations: What they mean

    The 2016 forecast of national net farm income was recently released by the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS). The ERS estimates a 3 percent decline compared to 2015 income figures. This is a potential decrease of $1.65 billion dollars in net farm income, a reduction in farm income from $56.45 billion in 2015 to $54.8 billion in 2016.

    Read More »

    Northeast South Dakota: 2016 Potential Crop Profitability

    An analysis of the potential profitability of crops for 2016 for Northeast South Dakota was performed. This study examined returns given modified South Dakota State University Extension crop budgets for central & east mid production areas that include estimates for both direct and fixed costs.

    Read More »

    Who Manages Your Business?

    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.

    Read More »

    Farm & Ranch Taxes: 2016 Changes

    Tax rules and regulations change annually, so it is important for producers and tax professionals to stay up to date. For 2016 there have been some changes to the farmers and ranchers tax guide. This article will highlight the majority of the 2016 updates.

    Read More »

    Insuring Corn and Other Spring Crops

    With producers evaluating marketing strategies and the looming March 15 insurance sales deadline, several trends are emerging. By monitoring these trends, producers may be able to refine their marketing plans for corn, soybeans and spring wheat. New crop futures prices are tallied during February and their average during the month determines the projected price for insurance purposes.

    Read More »

    The Importance of Depreciation when Keeping Records

    Depreciation is an important part of keeping records in agriculture. Depreciation is a reduction in the value of an asset over time, due to wear and tear. Things such as tractors, trailers, etc. all depreciate over time. Depreciation is also a way to make an income tax deduction to recover the cost of qualifying assets. Careful consideration of how to report tax depreciation helps producers comply with IRS regulations and can result in a reduction of income taxes paid.

    Read More »

    Agricultural Generational Communications: Part 2

    As we continue with the series on ‘Agricultural Generational Communications’, we introduced you to a mock farm called “ABC Farm” consisting of senior generation, 71-yr-old (John) who started the farming business, his son (Tom) a 51-yr-old, farming alongside his dad for nearly 25 years, and grandson/son 24-year old (Brandon) who returned to the farm after completing college. This farm example will be used to provide tips on working across generations in agriculture.

    Read More »

    Importance of Keeping Records for Filing Taxes on the Ranch/Farm

    While most people must file taxes by April 15, 2017, farmers’ and ranchers’ taxes must be filed by March 3rd. Due to the filing deadline many producers are beginning the process of gathering their important paperwork. In general, the law does not require any specific kinds of records (there are a few exceptions though). A producer can choose any kind of record keeping system they wish to use for their business (ex. Quicken, QuickBooks, Easy Farm, paper ledger, paper journal etc.).

    Read More »

    Generator Preparedness

    For many homeowners a power outage may be viewed as just and inconvenience with some potential repair cost associated with it. But for a lot of livestock operations, a power outage has the potential to be a very costly event. Although we are not able to control the weather, there are things we can do to be prepared when we are struck with a power outage. If you don’t have a generator but are thinking you would like to have one for when the power goes out, don’t wait till the power goes out to purchase one.

    Read More »

    USDA Provides New Cost Share Opportunities for Organic Producers & Handlers

    In recent times, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has shown increased interest in organic agriculture. As a result, on December 21, 2016, the USDA announced that starting March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices across the country to apply for federal reimbursement to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification.

    Read More »

    Agricultural Generational Communications: Part 1

    Since generational operations are primarily family members, we assume we know all there is to know about each other, right? On the surface we probably do know some key characteristics or preferences of family members, but is that the same as knowing them at a level of working alongside or reporting to them on a daily basis.

    Read More »

    End-of-Year Accounting: Just what do you have?

    Measuring the farm’s economic success can be accomplished by annually comparing the balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows and statement of owners’ equity. Comparing these financial statements can only be done if they are completed at a similar time of the year and if they are completed accurately and consistently.

    Read More »

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