The current, protracted combination of low milk prices and the glut of milk products in the market place has stressed producers. The stress has built to the point that families are often at a loss to know what to say to each other, to their bankers and suppliers. At that point, it’s hard to know where to turn.
Farmers are taught to “cowboy up, tough it out”, and are scripted to be afraid to reach out for help. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, farmers, as a group, have a higher suicide rate than any other occupation, even twice as high as veterans.
Communication skills not only help de-fuse the situation when farm family members live and work side-by-side, but are essential when seeking help from professionals outside the family.
The Iowa Extension Dairy Team recognizes the need to communicate with producers on several topics that can help find the right answers during this “perfect storm” of financial pressure, a sense of powerlessness in the milk market, and social isolation. Plus, their self-reliant spirit often makes them uncomfortable in seeking help.
These initial conversations will start with a series of webinars were producers can collect basic information on economic questions and how to use the information to make better decisions.
The first webinar will be from 12 noon to 1 p.m. on July 10. Larry Tranel, ISU and Megan Roberts, Mn Extension, will discuss:
- Knowing your costs of production
- Cash flow versus profitability
- Using 2017 Millionaire Model Farm Data to benchmark profits and costs
- What does FINBIN tell us
There will be time after the presentations to ask questions.
Over the noon hour on July 17, Jim Salfer, Mn Extension and Jennifer Bentley, ISU Extension, will discuss the production economics. A continuation from the early program will include what FINBIN says about production costs and capital efficiency.
More information will be coming out in the next few weeks on how to access the webinar and make registrations.