Gulke: Farmers Must Evaluate Their Cost of Living

March 5, 2015 12:10 PM
Gulke: Farmers Must Evaluate Their Cost of Living

Producers must consider farm costs as well as family costs in order to accurately gauge their
financial health, notes Jerry Gulke, president, The Gulke Group.

“What’s the bottom-line cheapest cost of production I can arrive at if I just look at my actual cash
expenses?” Gulke asks. “In other words, what does it take me to put the crop in and take it off, and
will I make enough money then to worry about buying new machinery or doing new tiling or my personal
expenses for living?

“I don’t subscribe to the idea that just because I’m in the farming business that the farm owes me a
3% or 5% return to management.” In Gulke’s view, capable producers will obtain returns from what
is left over after they pay everyone else. In tough times, families must identify places to cut.


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Spell Check

Western, NE
3/6/2015 10:21 AM

  I get a chuckle out of those that are a little late to jump on this trolley. Wake up producers!! This is the late 70's all over again. How long do you think our equity will last when you start to live off of it and produce below the cost of production? The next couple of years will put us back into the eighties all over again. Only difference right now is interest rates. Farming is a way of life, business and vocation. You've got to meld all three to survive. Going forward, there will be CRP acres coming back into production since the 2014 farm bill eliminated contract extensions. The framers of the farm bill thought that commodity prices were too high to continue extending contracts already in the program. Write your congressman and senators to allow us as producers to pick on an annual basis whether to be in PLC or the ARC programs instead of locking us into them for the duration of the bill. That gives us a little control at least over our future.

Keith Larochelle
3/6/2015 08:59 AM

  I would say the biggest complainers right now are the row-crop farmer. You know what, most of us are going through tough times, farmer and non alike. As Jerry stated the large farm owner's magnitude is greater but the net result is the same. So time to cut back and lower our material expectations to what we can afford. What we need not what we think we need. If you think it's not fair and feel you deserver (or are owed) more and better, then you need to quit farming and pursue something else. In reality farming should be viewed as a vocation, a life-style and not purely as a business. If you get rich doing it, great, if not, well at least you're doing something you love and are passionate about and as long as you can still provide food and shelter for yourself and family your doing fine.

John Frey
madison, WI
3/6/2015 09:15 AM

  I was wondering what suggestions you have for dealing with health insurance for farmers and families. Obviously, health issues could be one of the things that might bankrupt farmers and wondering how that is being addressed in the country


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