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  • Mike Wilson

    Why Good Farm Records Matter

    This Business of Farming

     by Mike Wilson
     on April 18, 2014

    Can you put together a cash flow statement? Should you lease your next combine? Do you know the best financial ratios to measure farm performance? Are you and your lender on the same page? Those were just some of the questions that really didn't matter much when corn was surging past $6 per bu. But they should mean quite a lot more to the health of your business if we settle into long-term lower prices through the next few years, as many economists predict. Farmers seem more interested in…

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  • Mike Wilson

    Exclusive Survey: Higher Health Costs with Obamacare

    This Business of Farming

     by Mike Wilson
     on April 1, 2014

    According to a December, 2013 Farm Futures survey of 1,630 farmers, 62% of U.S. farmers believe the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, will cause their health insurance premiums to go up. Only 3% of respondents believed premiums would go down, while 9% of growers believed there would be no change. Respondents were asked what type of health insurance they carried in 2013 and what type they expected to carry in 2014. In the survey, 29% of farmers say they carried a PPO policy in 2013 and…

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  • Mike Wilson

    We Could Use Borlaug's Wisdom Today

    This Business of Farming

     by Mike Wilson
     on March 25, 2014

    Today is Ag Day, and, more importantly, the 100th anniversary of Dr. Norman Borlaug's birthday.  We are mighty fortunate to live in a nation that makes agriculture a priority, a nation built on land and livestock and machinery and productivity, and most important, farmers. That's the story of U.S. agriculture, and it's one to be celebrated. Trouble is, that story doesn't have an ending, because ag's job is never complete. Agriculture is all about food and the…

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  • Mike Wilson

    Ruffled Feathers

    This Business of Farming

     by Mike Wilson
     on March 10, 2014

    California and Missouri have embarked on a battle over poultry cage standards, and someone's bound to get egg on their face. Call it a classic case of 'oops, we didn't think about that.' Now a questionable law is coming home to roost. Last month Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster formally filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, arguing that a California farming law violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution and…

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  • Mike Wilson

    How Does Your Farm Grow?

    This Business of Farming

     by Mike Wilson
     on March 7, 2014

    Most large farmers expect to continue expanding in the next five years, despite - or because of - expectations for poor prices. Farm growth was one question examined in Purdue University's 2013 large and commercial farmer survey. The survey took a closer look at expansion expectations among large commercial farms. Here's a few take home points: Just over 1,100 farmers responded to the survey.  Of those who responded, 511 said they expected no acre growth in the next five years…

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  • Mike Wilson

    Money Tips from our First Boot Camp: Part Three

    This Business of Farming

     by Mike Wilson
     on March 1, 2014

    We learned a lot at last week's first Ag Finance Boot Camp. But perhaps the biggest take-home message was this: now, more than ever, good records really do matter. Quality financial records help farmers manage risk, one of the biggest threats to farming. A good set of records helps you navigate around risks and make changes or decisions that strengthen the business. It also helps your lender feel confident in doing business with you. "My goal is to get a producer to do balance…

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  • Mike Wilson

    Money Tips from our First Boot Camp: Part Two

    This Business of Farming

     by Mike Wilson
     on February 26, 2014

    We had lots of questions asked and answered at last week's Ag Finance Boot Camp, held in St. Louis with help from our friends at John Deere, Farm Credit and the Farm Financial Standards Council. A good crowd of (mostly) farmers and spouses were looking to learn more about the dollars and cents of their business. Continuing the theme from part one of this series, here's a few more nuggets: Eric Edwards, senior vice president at NBH Agribusiness Banking Group, Denver, Colo., talked…

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  • Mike Wilson

    Money Tips from our First Boot Camp: Part One

    This Business of Farming

     by Mike Wilson
     on February 24, 2014

    Should your farm go public? Do you know how to put together a cash flow statement? Should you lease your next combine? Do you know the best financial ratios to measure farm performance? Are you and your lender on the same page? Those were just some of the questions asked and answered at last week's Ag Finance Boot Camp, held in St. Louis with help from our friends at John Deere, Farm Credit and the Farm Financial Standards Council. A good crowd of (mostly) farmers and spouses were looking…

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  • Mike Wilson

    The Goldilocks Farm Bill

    This Business of Farming

     by Mike Wilson
     on February 13, 2014

    Maybe I'm getting old, but when the first "deadline" to renew the farm bill came along in 2012, I laughed. And ignored it. Like a Pavlovian dog, I've been conditioned by repetitious behavior. Deadlines? Come now. That only happens in the real world. Over the past three farm bill cycles we've yet to see one get passed on a real deadline. Only when congressmen suddenly discover that milk prices might go through the roof, and even then, what did we get these past 500 days…

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  • Mike Wilson

    Farm Futures Re-launches Ag Finance Boot Camp

    This Business of Farming

     by Mike Wilson
     on February 3, 2014

    We won't let Old Man Winter beat us! After the polar vortex took out the first scheduled Ag Finance Boot Camp in early January, we're fired up and ready to go with a new date. Come join us Feb. 20 at the St. Louis Hilton Ballpark hotel to learn all about balance sheets, income statements, working capital and how to work with lenders and accountants more effectively. This one-day meeting could mean all the difference for your business – now and in the future. With potentially…

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