The Impact of 5%

Each year as you work with customers you encourage them to set goals.  Undoubtedly, some of these goals revolve around financial management.  Within your credit analysis review, you are looking at the past financial performance of the individual farm or business operation.  In this process, you likely look at their individual trend performance and may also benchmark this against their peers.  Hopefully, the customer has also taken the time to evaluate their financial position and talks to you as their lender about the business goals they’ve set.  These may be things like, “Reduce fertilizer costs”, “Improve marketing”, “Improve yields”, “Improve profit margins”, etc. 

Have you ever considered with your customers the impact these relatively small changes actually have on the business?  I suggest challenging businesses to work to improve their margin management by 5%.  It may seem like a simple task, improving gross income and decreasing operating expenses by 5%.  But, this 5% improvement can have a significant impact on a business in any given year.  And then, think of the impact over the customer’s career!

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Dairy Revenue Protection as a strategy to stabilize dairy revenue

Dairy Margin Coverage

Dairy Revenue Protection (RP) is a new tool available to dairy producers which can be used in conjunction with the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.  RP provides protection against an unexpected decline in revenue (price and/or yield) on the milk produced from dairy cows on a quarterly basis. There are five choices a farmer must decide on when enrolling in Dairy RP: 1) method to value milk (class or component), 2) Amount of quarterly milk to cover, 3) Coverage level for revenue guarantee, 4) Protection Factor, and 5) which quarterly contracts to purchase.

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Credit Decision Scorecards

Every now and again there’s a FINPACK tool available we, the FINPACK Team, suspect is underutilized.  That may be because it doesn’t fit the bank’s analysis needs or maybe it’s because the tool is out of sight and out of mind (and if only given a chance, users would fall in love with it). We feel the latter may be true for Credit Decision Scorecards available in the Credit Analysis section of the FINPACK file navigator.

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2018 FINBIN Report on MN Farm Finances

Minnesota farmers continued to struggle with low prices and low profitability. Median net income was $26,055 in 2018, down 8%. After adjusting for inflation, Minnesota farms earned the lowest median farm income of the 23 years included in FINBIN. The economic pain was widespread; median incomes were $31,000 or lower for all of Minnesota’s major commodity farms; crop, dairy, pork and beef producers. Not every operation struggled though. Across all farms, the farms earning the highest net incomes, those in the top 20%, earned an average of $184,000. Those in the lower 20% lost almost ($72,000).  View the 2018 FINBIN Report on Minnesota Farm Finances to learn more about the financial health of the state’s agriculture industry.

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How Much is a Good Manager Worth?

How much is a good business manager worth? As you analyze commercial business credits you likely wrestle with this question often. The longer you work with businesses you can pick out the good managers versus the bad ones. But, how is this measured? The cash drivers report in FINPACK’s commercial analysis tackles this question.

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Dairy Margin Coverage and how it may help your borrowers

By: Joleen Hadrich, Associate Professor, Extension Economist

Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) is a voluntary federal program available to dairy farms across the country, which can be used to help stabilize dairy farm revenue.  DMC replaces the previous Margin Protection Program (MPP).  DMC makes payments to enrolled farms when the national average income over feed cost margin falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. A number of coverage levels are available for dairy farmers with varying premium rates. 

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Form 1040 Updates

Tax Time - FINPACK

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) is a major piece of tax legislation that has brought about changes to tax brackets and filing rules for individuals and businesses.  The TCJA has also lead to changes on Form 1040, the Individual Income Tax Return form, for 2018. With the changes to this tax form, the most recent FINPACK release – 5.10.4.1988 – includes the updated 1040 form.   This update will align with the changes you will see on the 2018 1040 Form.

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Minnesota Farm Income Hits Historic Low

After adjusting for inflation, Minnesota farms earned the lowest median farm income in the past 23 years of data tracked by University of Minnesota Extension and Agricultural Centers of Excellence within Minnesota State.  

In 2018, the reported median net income was $26,055, down 8 percent from the previous year. Farmers in the lowest 20 percent reported losing nearly $72,000. The analysis examined data from 2,209 participants in farm business management programs, as well as 101 members of the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association.  This is a collaborative project with the FINPACK Team and the Center for Farm Financial Management (CFFM).

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Does the Implementation of Technology Improve Farm Profitability?

Agriculture and Technology

By:  C. Robert Holcomb and Joleen Hadrich

In 2017, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Farm Business Management Program, the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association (SWMFBMA), and the University of Minnesota Extension conducted a survey to identify management skills and tendencies of highly successful producers. 

This month, we will discuss how the use of technology in the farm operation affects profitability.  (Previous articles in the Top Farmer series can be accessed here and here.) Only 6% of all farms considered themselves innovators, adopting technology at its earliest availability.  Forty-five percent of the respondents consider themselves early adopters, making investments in new technology once proven by a small number of success stories.  This group does not consider themselves innovators though. 

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2019 National School for Beginning Ag Bankers

The FINPACK Team wants to alert you to an outstanding educational opportunity – the 2019 National School for Beginning Ag Bankers, being held June 24 – 27 at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD. CFFM has had a long relationship with this school, our staff is integral members of the teaching team, along with a talented group of seasoned ag bankers.  This school is an intensive program designed to train in all facets of agricultural lending with an emphasis on credit analysis, credit score, risk rating, problem loans, and group case study.

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