Minding Ag's Business

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  • Ask a room of 200 agricultural CPAs if Congress will tackle tax reform after the election and only one or two brave souls raise their hands. Revolutionary style tax laws see daylight only once every 30 years or so, if the 1954 and 1986 laws establish a pattern.

  • Lori Culler used her experience recruiting for Fortune 500 companies to help her family grow their 8,000-acre farm operation.

    With qualified labor in short supply, DTN has joined forces with a human resource specialist to advise readers on labor solutions.

  • Yes, over-heated farmland values are beginning to wilt, much like volatile markets in Las Vegas and Phoenix retreated after the last housing market collapse in 2008. It's the old rule--the bigger the rally, the harder the fall:

  • In our monthly banter on family business issues, small business consultant and mediator Lance Woodbury and I discuss his latest DTN column. "Storm Clouds Hit Succession Plans" describes how financial stress is disrupting the best laid succession plans and what to do...

  • With tax law, it's out with the old and in with the new every year, so pros need upgrades almost as often as your iPhone. Complicating tax codeobsolescence is that farm program rules, estate planning and best business practices often conflict with tax law.

  • USDA says premiums for organic field corn have collapsed 35% in the past year, from $12.86/bu to $8.38/bu. Still, that looks appealing compared to $3.20 cash corn.

    Randy Hughes raises conventional row crops, but premiums on organic production are what's paying the bills on his family's 5,000-acre Janesville, Wisconsin farm. The alternative agriculture route requires much more labor and attentiveness, as DTN's Elizabeth Williams...

  • In our on-going conversation about better business practices, DTN Farm Family Business Adviser Lance Woodbury and I delve into how to build and staff a board of directors.Seeking outside advisers is apractice that's mushroomed in other professional family businesses over the...

  • Assuming the same 170 bpa yields conventional or GM corn, someone who earned a 30-cent/bu. non-GM premium could be expected to capture a $61/acre net benefit. That advantage slips to $35/acre qith a 15-cent/bu. premium, Granular says.

    What's sacred about seed costs? Are they sharing the budget pain this season? Will a switch to non-GM seed really save money? Midwest land grant economists have been railing since last July that growers would need to slash 2016 corn budgets on rental ground about $100/acre...

  • Biggest 20% spenders in southern Minnesota Farm Business Association face formidable losses at current prices and nearly all reasonable yield expectations, figures economist Robert Craven, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Farm Financial Management.

    The Biggest Losers --those most successful at shaving corn production costs--will ride out 2016 at near breakeven at normal yields. But Big Spenders could easily lose nearly $200/acre.

  • Commodity producers attending this week's Commodity Classic in New Orleans are feeling the burn of two or three consecutive years of negative incomes. But modest profit margins could return sooner than farmers think if serious cost cutting accelerates, some agricultural...

  • Some appraisers found big variations in property values with AcreValue, but their sample was small.

    Online real estate sites like AcreValue promise to deliver benefits to users, but they are still a work in progress. That shouldn't discourage you from testing the product.