FINPACK Annual Update – What’s New?

The annual FINPACK update was released in November and there are several new features to be aware of as you use FINPACK for the upcoming renewal season.

Each year the FINPACK Team takes suggestions and requests from our users to enhance the software. Therefore, feel free to pass along constructive feedback! This year’s update includes:

[Read more…]

Starting Points Matter

Does helping the next generation start farming improve their profit potential?

By:  Joleen C. Hadrich and C. Robert Holcomb

Farmers are entrepreneurs and finding the resources to start their operation can have direct implications on their financial success over time, which is the topic of the second installment of the “Top Farmer”[1] newsletter series. Of the 334 survey respondents, 18% of the farms started independently without any help from family, 47% reported receiving help from their parents while operating their own farm independently, 25% are currently farming with family members in a partnership, and the remaining 10% used other strategies to start farming.

[Read more…]

ABA National Agricultural Bankers Conference

Make plans to join the FINPACK Team in Omaha at the 2018 ABA National Agricultural Bankers Conference Nov. 11-14.  FINPACK and Farmer Mac kick off the conference as hosts of the Pre-Conference Seminar on Sunday afternoon titled, “Sinkholes, Landslides, and Volcanoes:  How Can Your Customers Survive an Evolving Landscape?”.  This year’s session will focus on identifying where your customers are with continued tight margins and the impact on community banks. There will be a discussion of best practices and take-homes for managing the risk in this evolving landscape. Dr. David Kohl will be back with his view from the road.

Also, join the FINPACK Team as we host the Grand Opening Reception on Sunday evening.  Lastly, stop and visit with our team throughout the conference at our booth in the Exhibit Hall.  We love to connect with current and potential customers.  While at our booth, get a preview of this year’s FINPACK updates or ask those “how do I” questions.

We look forward to seeing you soon in Omaha!

What’s the Frequency?

What's the Frequency?Recently, there was a FINPACK News article on the basic functions of the FINPACK Loan Calculator.  This article goes in-depth on what the ‘Payment Frequency’ of the calculator means (i.e. the frequency of Annual payments, Monthly payments, etc.). Currently, the loan calculator payment frequency choices are Annual, Bi-monthly, Bi-weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-annual, Semi-monthly, and Weekly.

[Read more…]

Difficult Choices

Difficult Decisions - Grain Markets and LendingHarvest is here and it is time to assess storage opportunities in corn and soybean markets.  As a lender, here are a few items that should be on your customer’s minds.

Prices are low

In the Northern Plains, producers are looking at cash soybean prices of $7.30/bushel in southern Minnesota, and as low as $6.75/bushel in North Dakota. The last time we saw prices like this was the harvest of 2007. Corn prices are $3.00/bushel, +/- 20 cents in the same areas. $3 corn at harvest is not profitable and, unfortunately, not new. These prices are all too similar to levels seen in each of the last four harvests. [Read more…]

Does Grain Marketing Improve Profitability?

Does Grain Marketing Improve Profitability?By:  Joleen C. Hadrich and C. Robert Holcomb

Farm managers recognize the importance of having a marketing plan to improve their profitability.  And, the title of Ed Usset’s grain marketing book conveys an important truth- “Grain Marketing is Simple-it’s just not easy!”  In the “Top Farmer”[1] survey, crop producers were asked to categorize the percent of their crop marketed across 3 general categories: pre-harvest contracts (cash contracts, futures, and options), post-harvest contracts (cash contracts, futures, and options) and cash sales (harvest and post-harvest).

In order to compare the highest and lowest performing farms, farm profit performance was measured using an adjusted net farm income ratio[2].  Comparison across performance levels was completed for the “Top Farmers” who were in the highest 20% of financial performance, measured by the adjusted NFI ratio, compared to the lowest 20% of farmers.  In 2016, regardless of whether you were in the highest or the lowest 20% of producers, approximately 34-35% of the overall crop was sold using pre-harvest contracts, futures, or options while another 36-37% was sold through harvest or post-harvest cash sales.  The main difference in marketing between these two groups occurred with post-harvest contracts.  The highest performing farms contract approximately 29% of their crop using some combination of post-harvest cash contracts, futures, and options.  The lowest performing farms only contracted 22-23% of their crop with post-harvest contracts, futures, and/or options.  [Read more…]

Take Note

At times it is necessary and desirable to add notes in a FINPACK file.  Notes are a log of important items related to the specific FINPACK tool they are attached to.  Notes are often used to provide additional information related to the customer and the specific FINPACK tool.  Notes can give additional detail and further outline methodology used for FINPACK users.  For example, a Note can be added on a balance sheet to further describe the details of contracted grain.  Or a Note can be added to a cash flow projection to outline the procedure used and thought process behind a loan restructure proposal. [Read more…]

Cash Flow Planning Tools

Cash Flow Planning ToolsPutting together cash flow projections for farm clients can be tedious at times.  What is a reasonable feed expense for dairy operations?  Is the projected cost of production on corn acres in line with peers?  These are a few of the questions lenders and other professionals may ask when putting together projections, especially for new customers.  With that in mind, The Center for Farm Financial Management has put together two different cash flow planning tools.  The Minnesota Price and Cost Summary and the FINPACK Livestock Budget Estimates are two aides FINPACK users may find useful in cash flow planning.  These items and more are found in the FINPACK Knowledge Base.

[Read more…]

Need a Reminder?

FINPACK allows users to set a reminder related to a specific file.  A Reminder in FINPACK consists of a note related to the FINPACK file, as well as a due date for the action.  Reminders assist FINPACK users with completing tasks in a FINPACK file and can help track the progress of a customer file.  Reminders are accessed through the Reminder icon on the toolbar or going to File + Reminders.

Reminders

[Read more…]