Videos provide financial tips, explain mediation

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, highlights new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach videos for today’s current farm financial situation.

With commodity prices low and projected to stay that way over the next couple years, farmers have begun to feel the pinch in their pocketbooks. This has made managing the finances of the farm that much more important. With this in mind, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has released two videos that deal with the current farm financial situation and what can be done to alleviate financial pressure.

I host the first video, titled Tips for Managing Margins. It offers ideas for how to weather the next few years of low crop prices like protecting capital, reviewing production costs and renegotiating loans.

The second video, called Understanding Farm Mediation, was created in partnership with Iowa Mediation Service and is about the process of mediation. Mediation is an option available to farmers as they work with their creditors to find a mutually beneficial solution to a delinquent secured agricultural debt of $20,000 or more.

This short video provides tips to help farmers better understand what mediation is and when it may be necessary. It describes the process and provides a step-by-step guide on how to prepare for mediation.

While mediation is available should it be needed, ISU Extension and Outreach also provides these financial resources to help farmers create a financial plan for their operation:

  • The Iowa Concern Hotline provides free legal information to both rural and urban Iowans. Services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-447-1985.
  • The Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation provides information about the application of developments in agricultural law and taxation.
  • Farm Financial Associates are available to provide a no-cost look at a farm’s complete financial situation.
  • The Beginning Farmer Center helps inform and support those who are getting started in farming. It also works with established farmers on succession planning for when they leave the industry.

Cattle Marketing Decision Tools

Contributed by Lee Schulz, extension livestock economist

Lee SchulzReduced availability of feed and forage has some livestock producers making decisions now they hadn’t originally planned on for their livestock. Two Decision Tool calculators have been developed to aid in decisions regarding the sale and repurchase of cattle. The first spreadsheet, cow sell calculator, compares opportunities for marketing cows now or incurring additional costs to target other (later) markets. It evaluates alternative sale and cost scenarios and estimates the value of targeting other (later) markets. The approach used calculates the value per animal or other assets to generate the same revenue as a sale at an earlier date.

The second spreadsheet, cow repurchase calculator, estimates the costs saved and interest earned on sale proceeds between sale and repurchase date. It evaluates alternative sale, repurchase, and cost scenarios and determines the amount that could be paid for replacement animals. The approach used calculates the sum of interest earned on the proceeds of earlier culling and costs not incurred (e.g., feed, other, etc.) as a result of the sale. Then, the cash that could be available for repurchase, if saved and not used, includes the proceeds from the sale plus the interest earned on those proceeds. Both Ag Decision Maker Decision Tools are available on the Ag Decision Maker website.

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