EDITOR'S NOTE: Steve Johnson, featured speaker at these upcoming meetings, is an Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist. Contact him at 515-957-5790 or [email protected].
Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) is hosting 17 "GrowingOn" meetings in Iowa during January to help farmers plan for the 2015 growing season. The meetings are free and you are encouraged to attend a meeting at a location near you. Preregistration is required.
Steve Johnson, farm management specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, is the main speaker. He will provide information to help farmers understand the decisions they face under the new Farm Bill and how to select the options best suited to their operations. He will share estimated crop prices and costs, as well as marketing and crop insurance strategies they can leverage to help manage revenue.
Marketing and risk management strategy are critical for 2015
"If the price trends of $3.50 corn and $9.50 soybeans continue, expenses will need to be scrutinized," said Johnson. "Marketing and risk management strategies are going to be more important than ever. Most grain farmers are well capitalized and will weather the challenging environment in 2015. And livestock producers are in a stronger position now. Another positive outlook for 2015 is the new USDA farm bill. It provides a robust crop insurance program that protects yield and revenue. But with a five-year enrollment, careful consideration will need to be given to the ARC or PLC election."
Also at these meetings, FCSAmerica crop insurance specialists will talk about the key crop insurance changes in 2015. This includes a discussion of a new crop insurance product, the Supplemental Coverage Option or SCO.
Several key changes in crop insurance to consider this year
The SCO adds an area-based protection to the familiar Revenue Protection or Yield Protection crop insurance policies. However, only those producers who sign up for the federal PLC program are eligible for SCO. Other changes include improved beginning farmers and ranchers benefits and there's a different way to calculate actual production history. Producers also should consider two other areas of discussion with their crop insurance agent – breaking native sod and conservation compliance.
"The new farm bill clearly makes crop insurance an increasingly important component of the federal safety net for crop farms," says Christa Wilson, vice president of crop insurance for FCSAmerica in eastern Iowa. Wilson advises producers to contact their crop insurance agents early this year. "With so many changes to consider and reconcile, and so much documentation to gather and submit, this is not the year to leave such an important decision for the last minute."
Minimize the risks of rising interest rates, and a look at land values
Bill Davis, chief credit officer for FCSAmerica, will share steps for minimizing the operational risks of rising interest rates; and Mark Jensen, FCSAmerica chief risk officer, will discuss land values and the risks present in today's farmland market.
The 2 ½ hour program will be held beginning January 5 and will continue to January 22 in the following locations: Festina, Manchester, Davenport, Mt. Pleasant, Cedar Rapids, Perry, Eddyville, S. Sioux City, Storm Lake, Emmetsburg, Webster City, Clear Lake, Carroll, Harlan, Red Oak, Newton and Marshalltown. Pre-registration required. Specific times, locations and registration details are at www.cropinsurancespecialists.com or by calling your local FCSAmerica office or 1-800-884-FARM.
For farm management information and analysis visit ISU's Ag Decision Maker site at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm; ISU farm management specialist Steve Johnson's site is at www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/farm-management.