Archive for the ‘Farm Management’ Category


Grain Marketing Webinar 3/16

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

The Grain Markets webinar for March is scheduled for March 16th at 9 am.  The webinar, featuring analysis by Dr Carl Zulauf, The Ohio State University with an analysis of grain markets and issues affect those market including planting intentions and grain stocks reports. An opportunity for discussion is provided.  For more information and to register for this program, go to

Grain Markets webinars follow the monthly WASDE reports and offer longer-term interpretation of what is happening with the markets and related policy.  They are produced and sponsored by OSU’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, and OSU Extension.  Future dates are also posted on the website.



Covering Two Crops with Insurance in One Year Requires Waiver

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

Farmers need to be aware of the Federal Crop Insurance (FCI) regulations on harvesting a second crop in a single season. If a crop is harvested and a second crop planted, the second crop may not be insured without further action.  For example, a farmer decides to plant soybeans after one cutting of alfalfa.  In this example, the soybeans may not be insured even if planted before the final soybean planting date of June 20, 2011.  If the alfalfa were destroyed without harvesting and the same acres were timely planted to soybeans, the soybeans may be insurable.

Farmers are encouraged to contact their local private insurance agent. A FCI “written” agreement may be obtained to permit harvest of a first crop and insuring the subsequent crop. However, time is running out.   The final FCI deadline for Spring planted crops is March 15, 2011. According to John Gaynor, a USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) director, farmers need to be prepared to report the same crop acreage use to FSA as they would to their FCI agent.

Several USDA disaster programs administered through FSA require all insurable crops to be insured.  The situation of harvesting two crops from the same acreage in the same crop year could jeopardize eligibility for disaster programs, including the FSA Supplemental Revenue (SURE) program.   Many farmers are good stewards of the land by planting winter cover crops. As long as the winter cover crop is not harvested in any manner, the final crop planted for harvest should be insurable. (See a previous post on cover crops)  To be sure, farmers are encouraged to contact their FCI agents to double check the FCI regulations with respect reporting, harvesting, and associated deadlines or “written” agreements.


Decision Making Resources for Crop Insurance

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

With the March 15, 2011 deadline to sign up for crop insurance  just around the corner for our spring planted crops you will be looking to make some decisions. Cost will be considerable higher when compared to 2010 and new insurance options exist as well,  so do not wait to start looking at the options. Some great on-line tools can be found from the University of Illinois which include options that provide pricing for Ohio county scenarios.

The Crop Insurance section of farmdoc has online 2011 Crop Insurance Premium Calculators. Also available for download is the 2011 Crop Insurance Decision FAST Tool, a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet useful in premium estimation and crop insurance evaluation.

The 2011 iFarm Crop Insurance Payment Simulator returns estimates of premiums, frequency of payments, average payments, net costs, and risk reductions associated with alternative crop insurance products and election levels.

On Demand Webinars are also available describing the new COMBO product.  Don’t miss the presentation entitled “Crop Insurance and Risk Managements Strategies for 2011” which gives suggestions for choices of crop insurance products.

All of these farmdoc Crop Insurance resources are available at:


Computerized Farm Recordkeeping: Quicken® or Quickbooks®

By: Bruce Clevenger, OSU Extension Educator

Hand written or Computerized farm records are the foundation from which many on-farm decisions are made.  “Good records” offer invaluable insights into business strengths and weaknesses. Agricultural producers seek inexpensive, easy to use tools that accomplish a variety of management tasks. If a computerized system is the next step, several commercial products have been developed that are customized for agriculture. However, some farmers report they are often expensive or cumbersome to use.

Many producers use commercial software marketed primarily for other uses, primarily, Quicken® which is sold for personal finance and QuickBooks® targeted to small business finance. Both tools can be used to help support farm management functions, including anticipating income and expenses in a changing economic environment; communicating with and reporting to business partners, lenders and government agencies; managing and paying employees; and analyzing the business. Recordkeeping software enables users to quickly record, then sort and summarize records in a variety of ways. It’s important to compare and contrast the applicability of two popular commercial software packages for use in farm/ranch financial records. The features of Quicken® and QuickBooks® have advantages and disadvantages in supporting farm management functions. Both tools are relatively easy to use and flexible. For many farmers, Quicken® is an inexpensive alternative with advantages for producers who want to track both family and farm income and expenses and/or have off-farm investments. For larger producers with multiple employees and/or the need to invoice and track accounts payable/receivable, QuickBooks® is clearly superior.



COLUMBUS, Ohio — Feb. 7, 2011 – Steve Maurer, State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), announced a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) sign-up to begin March 14, through April 15, 2011. This is the second consecutive year that USDA has offered a general CRP sign-up.

“Financial incentives available through CRP afford farmers and landowners a low risk opportunity to implement a variety of conservation practices that will benefit the environment in a number of ways,” said Maurer. “Over the past 25 years, CRP practices have improved water and air quality, increased wildlife habitat and prevented soil erosion,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Northern Ohio New & Small Farm College

Are you looking to do some farming on a small acreage, interested in local foods or looking for some new enterprises for your family farm operation then plan to attend the Northern Ohio New & Small Farm College being offered by The Ohio State University Extension.

How do I get started in planning for success? What options are there for growing vegetables or livestock? How do I market what I grow? What resources exist to help me pursue my business plans? These are the four essential questions that will be answered in the four sessions. Don’t miss this chance to increase your agricultural knowledge.

Sessions will be held once a week for four weeks during March, 2011. Each session will start at 6:30 pm until 9:00 pm. There are 2 locations to choose from. The Putnam County Extension office in Ottawa Ohio will be the site on Mondays, March 7, 14, 21 & 28. EHOVE Career Center in Milan Ohio will be the site on Tuesdays, March 8, 15, 22, & 29. The same program is offered at each site.

Cost is $50 with each additional registrant from the family or operation at $30. The fee includes course notebook, class handouts, and light refreshments. Registration deadline is March 1, 2011.

To register contact Greg LaBarge at- telephone 419-337-9210 or e-mail  More information about this program is available on the


New Grain Marketing Resources from OSU

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

The Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics Department is producing some new grain marketing information sources to help farmers and others in the grain industry take a look at the current grain market situation. Both in print and webinar form, these resources provide another look at grain market information helping to increase confidence in decision be made in grain marketing plans.

The resource for these materials is Dr. Carl Zulauf, Professor in AEDE at The Ohio State University. Zulauf’s areas of expertise are agricultural policy and commodity futures and options markets.

Printed materials in the series include a monthly look at the Supply/Demand situation and an additional report on trends and factors affecting grain market short and long term outlooks. The live monthly webinar sessions are scheduled through mid summer. The next session is scheduled for February 14, 2011 at 9 am and registration can be made now for that session. Sessions are also recorded and can be viewed at anytime. Links to both the printed reports and webinars both future dates and recordings can found at



by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

One of the hidden issues of cover crops have been how this practices affects crop insurance for corn and soybeans as a following crop. Recently USDA Risk Management Issued guidance on this issue for our region which clarifies a process to assure coverage for a corn or soybean crop following a cover crop. A factsheet more complete details can be found at:

Some  quick details below are an except from USDA-RMA Newsrelease 1/24/2011:

Generally, in the Springfield RO region, insurance is not available for corn or soybeans following another crop (i.e. cover crop) that has reached the headed or budded stage or that has been harvested in the same calendar year. If the cover crop growth is not terminated before reaching the headed or budded stage or the cover crop is harvested in the same calendar year, insurance may now be available through a Written Agreement provided certain criteria are met.

To request a Type/Practice Written Agreement to insure a crop following a cover crop, insureds should speak with their crop insurance agent. Insureds must submit a completed Request for Actuarial Change form; a completed Actual Production History (APH) form with separate databases for the “following a cover crop” practice; the location of the acreage where the practice is being used; the type of cover crop being grown; and the method of cover crop termination (if the termination has occurred at the time of the request).

If approved by RMA, the Written Agreement will specify a rate, a transitional yield (by crop) for the acreage, and that the cover crop growth must be terminated by May 15th of the current crop year. Producers may consider this offer and accept or decline coverage.


2011 Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program Announced

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

Our 10 county area has 35 of 274 farm currently enroll in development easement programs. A map of the state noting farms numbers by county participating is found at Below is the full ODA newsrelease. Note the deadline is April 6. If interested get started soon as the applications do require some leg work to gather the information and complete the application.

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (Jan. 6, 2011) – The 2011 Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program application is now available on the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website. All applications must be submitted electronically no later than 5 p.m. on April 6, 2011. A hard copy of the completed application must also be sent by registered or certified mail to the department, postmarked on or before April 6, 2011. Read the rest of this entry »


The Two Sides of Land Rental Questions

by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

One of the most frequently asked questions is “What cash rental rate is fair?” The question is asked by both landlords and tenants. The issue has two side that should be viewed as exactly that a question with two answers, with each party figuring out cost and returns for their investment. While everyone would like it to be one rate that fits all, the reality is every situation is different. It truly is a negotiation that needs to happen with each transaction.

For the landlord, the DIRTI five cost of ownership provide a baseline. The ownership costs are Depreciation, Interest, Return on investment, Taxes and Insurance which provides a starting point for negotiations. Considerations should also be given for things a tenant might do such as weed control on non-tillable acres, snow removal and other task that have value to the landlord.

From a tenant view, input cost of producing the crop, transportation, marketing, plus returns to the capital investment in machinery, management and labor need to be covered. The tenant will want to know the value of extra things they may do that adds or maintains the value of the land for the owner.

There are numerous resources that can be used in the rental development process. A listing of recent land rental surveys, sample agreements and other useful information can be found at