Contributed by Kelvin Leibold, Extension Farm Management Field Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you haven’t already started to talk to your landlords, lenders and grain dealers you may want to take some time to bring them up to date with what is going on with your farming practices. Plans that were put in place months ago are being revised due to events beyond anyone’s control.
Keeping them up to date with what is going on with your farm operation is critical. Some farmers are going to take “Prevented Planting” option for corn and possible for soybeans. Many of the landowners will not understand why tenants took that option. The idea of not planting may seem unreasonable. Producers are trying to maximize returns considering unpredictable outcomes such as yields, prices, and input costs such as drying costs or cover crops. You need to communicate this to your landlords. Negotiation of rental rates for 2014 will soon be underway so providing information such as satellite pictures of the farm can help “tell the story”.
Lenders, for the most part, understand the challenges you face. Most of the producers have some level of crop insurance. However, if the timing of the payments for claims or the total income available to service debt is going to be an issue you need to visit with your lender about restructuring or adjusting the timing of payments. You may also have some issue regarding your income tax liabilities and may need to spend some time with your tax advisors on how to deal with the change of timing of your income. There may be options if you need to defer income if you may end up with two years of income in one tax year.
Many producers have forward contracted grain to end users. These end users need the commodity to operate their plants, make feed, or meet their export contracts. The sooner these people are aware of challenges you may have in meeting these contracts the sooner that both of you can start to work on ways to mitigate the impact. Defaulting on these contracts is not a viable option.
Communicating early and often will go a long ways to deal with these issues. The Ag Decision Maker has several articles on improving your communication skills. File C5-116 Improving Business Communication Skills https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/pdf/c5-116.pdf gives some suggestions. In addition to landlords and lenders you may face challenges with your own family or co-workers in these stressful times. File C6-56 Good Communication Can Help Solve Problems http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/pdf/c6-56.pdf can help with communication with family.
If you feel overwhelmed or are looking for some answers check out the Iowa Concern website http://www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/ or call the HOTLINE at 1-800-447-1985.
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