Editor's Notebook: Navigating Through the Headwinds

Editor's Notebook: Navigating Through the Headwinds

I grew up in a farm family that knew where every single dollar was all the time. Of course, there often weren’t many to count! Like many farmers, my parents started with only a strong work ethic and a drive to succeed. The frugal habits they instilled and the “tighten your belt and do whatever it takes to make it” mindset is how my husband and I made it through his grad school years and many lean times since. With the financial headwinds ahead in the crop side of agriculture, it is time to remember the lessons from hard times in the past. 

My dad died soon after I started college, but my mom shared that weathering turbulent times—early and often—helped them become good managers. There wasn’t a choice. 

With lower commodity prices and tough times ahead, most crop farmers will become better managers—regardless of how sharp they are today.

Farm Journal readers and farmer friends I have talked to recently are putting cost-cutting strategies in place. Here’s a sampling of their tactics:

  • negotiating down land rents
  • walking away from high-rent ground with landlords unwilling to negotiate on price
  • delaying input purchases 
  • teaming up with farmers to buy seed in larger lots at reduced prices
  • hanging onto equipment longer
  • getting serious about using precision farming and conservation tillage to cut input costs and maximize yields
  • being a hawk about family living costs that escalated during good times
  • finally getting serious about a true marketing strategy
  • staying extra close to their banker so no one gets a surprise

One truism underpinned each conversation: Hard times make us stronger.

We Hope to See You at One of Our Upcoming Winter Events

Test Plots Research Results
Feb. 3, Heyworth, Ill.

Nutrient Management College
Feb. 4, Heyworth, Ill.

Pro Farmer Profit Briefing
Feb. 9, Dayton, Ohio 
Feb. 10, Champaign, Ill.
Feb. 11, Madison, Wis. 

Machinery Pete Updates on the Used Machinery Market
National Farm Machinery Show
Feb. 11, 11:30 a.m.
Presented by Greg Peterson

Marketing Outlook Seminar
National Farm Machinery Show
Feb. 12, 10 a.m.
Presented by Bob Utterback

“U.S. Farm Report” Live Market Roundtable Taping
National Farm Machinery Show
Feb. 12, 2:30 p.m.
Hosted by Tyne Morgan
Panelists: Matt Bennett, Mike North and Bob Utterback

Test Plots Research Results
Feb. 17, Ames, Iowa

Nutrient Management College
Feb. 18, Ames, Iowa

Wheat College
Feb. 24, Manhattan, Kan.

Wheat and Soybean College
March 3, Coldwater, Mich.

To learn more and register, call (877) 482-7203 or visit www.FarmJournal.com/trainings


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