Iowa State University Extension has scheduled a series of Pro-Ag Outlook and Management Seminars to be held across the state in November and December.
The program is designed to provide farmers and agribusiness leaders a concise evaluation of current market conditions, expected trends in crop and livestock income potential, and management implications. Participants also will receive an overview and update of the agricultural industry and learn how changes that are taking place may affect Iowa producers.
Speakers will vary by location but will include the following ISU Extension and Outreach state specialists: Chad Hart, associate professor in economics and Extension grain markets specialist; Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and Extension economist; Lee Schulz, assistant professor and livestock economist; Keri Jacobs, assistant professor and cooperatives economist; and Wendong Zhang, assistant professor and Extension economist. ISU Extension field specialists will also be present at the meetings.
This program takes a deep look into the outlook for agriculture in 2018 and provides an opportunity to discuss the current Iowa economic situation with university experts.
Seminar locations and dates
Registration can be done on-site 30 minutes prior to the start of each program. There is a registration fee for the program. Additional registration information can be found online.
Nov. 10 at 9:30 a.m. Hawkeye Community College, Tama Hall, Waterloo
Nov. 13 at 9 a.m. Polk County Extension Office, Altoona
Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. Webster County Extension Office, Fort Dodge
Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. Hardin County Extension Office, Mason City
Nov. 21 at 9:30 a.m. Carroll County Extension Office, Carroll
Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m. Spencer School Administrative Building, Spencer
Dec. 4 at 9 a.m. Warren Cultural Center, Greenfield
Dec. 6 at 12:30 p.m. Johnson County Extension Office, Iowa City
Dec. 7 at 7:30 a.m. Henry County Extension, Mount Pleasant
Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. Hotel Ottumwa, Ottumwa
Dec. 12 at 1:30 p.m. Pin Oak Conservation, South Highway 14, Chariton
Generating cash helps pay the bills
A related topic to be discussed at these meetings is how crop marketing strategies and tools can be used to generate money to help farmers meet cash flow needs. Some farmers are already feeling the cash flow crunch at the end of 2017, and more will face an increasing cash flow challenge in 2018. With big crops harvested this fall and continued low grain prices, farmers are storing a lot of bushels unpriced and are hoping for a price rise to generate cash to meet debt obligations. But will the price improvement come in time to pay the bills?
“While most lenders like to emphasize strong balance sheets, it’s the farming operation’s ability to generate cash that pays the bills,” says Steve Johnson, ISU Extension farm management specialist in central Iowa. Some farmers did a good job of forward-contracting 2017 new-crop bushels and hedging or buying “put options,” and will avoid many cash flow concerns this fall and winter. However, the farmers who are holding large quantities of unpriced crops could have cash flow problems, and need to focus on understanding and learning how to use other marketing strategies and tools rather than simply storing bushels unpriced.
“Marketing to help meet your farm’s cash flow needs will be one of the important topics discussed at these upcoming ISU Pro-Ag Outlook meetings,” says Johnson.