Manager’s Corner

October 4, 2013 06:13 AM
Manager’s Corner

Managerial Accounting Workshop in February

Few farmers understand the cost structures and strategic decisions that differentiate successful farms from those struggling financially.

"Most real successful operations thrive due to the accumulation of a lot of small changes that make a big impact to the whole," explains Danny Klinefelter, Texas A&M University professor and Extension economist. "But you need to be able to understand and analyze your details. Traditional accounting methods don’t allow you to do this."

To help farmers dive deep into their numbers and determine which entities within their business are or are not carrying their weight, Top Producer is teaming up with Texas A&M University to host a Managerial Accounting workshop, which will be held Feb. 24-25 in Dallas, Texas.

Managerial accounting is designed to break out the costs and returns of different segments of a business.

Farm Business Consultant Dick Wittman will lead farmers through the two-day course, helping connect the dots between financial analysis and strategic decision making.

Workshop participants will go beyond financial reporting requirements and learn the newest guidelines developed by the Farm Financial Standards Council. This means everyone will be speaking the same language and terminology, from the farmer to the accountant to the lender, says Klinefelter.

For farmers who plan to attend, Klinefelter says to consider bringing others involved in the operation, such as your production managers and chief financial officer.

Contact Klinefelter at (979) 845-7171 or for more information and to register.  familiar with the new initiatives and guide "They will get hands-on access to training and implementation strategies necessary to adopt managerial accounting and leave with an improved understanding of the correlation between strategic goal setting and decision making."

What’s Your Field Office Look Like?

IPad Ben Potter 3 edited

Top Producer is looking for the best tractor and combine cabs that have been converted to an office during harvest. Have you installed an iPad or tablet mount? Do you keep a wireless keyboard in the cab? Have you tinted the windows to minimize the glare on the screen? Show us your office on-the-go and we’ll feature it in our online gallery. Just snap a photo or a short video explaining how you’ve retrofitted your cab. Then upload them at

Steve Irsik

Steve Irsik, Ingalls, Kan.
2005 Top Producer of the Year


We’re unlocking the mystery and getting inside the heads of Top Producer of the Year winners with the hopes that you’ll pick up a couple tips to incorporate on your own farm. We asked Steve Irsik, the 2005 winner, what he knows now that he wishes he knew 30 years ago.

Steps for executing your dream: 1) Dream or develop a vision for what you wish to do. 2) Develop a plan to execute your vision. 3) Execute on the plan. 4) Finally, and this might be the most important part, be brave. I emphasize bravery because most will say what you are trying to do cannot be done, that is not the way we do things, you will be broke in six months, etc. Many things will stand in your way, but be smart, look, listen, join in activities of all types and develop your network of peers and mentors.

Every community has mentors. It could be your mother, father or uncle. Look for the gray-haired person who will help you.

There are many opportunities in agriculture—I think more than when I started 40 years ago. Opportunities don’t necessarily need to be the traditional thing. Get out of the box, and look and study what new opportunities might exist.

Blown Away

Wind energy is forecast to provide $1.2 billion in new income for farmers and rural landowners by 2020, as well as 800,000 new jobs, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Some of the best wind resources are found on agricultural land, and farmers can make up to $5,000 per installed turbine annually, while continuing to grow crops and graze livestock on the land surrounding the turbines.

IBM recently launched a new Hybrid Renewable Energy Forecaster (HyRef), which can monitor and analyze data on wind speed, direction and temperature. It can also help forecast the performance of turbines and estimate the amount of energy it will produce in a given time frame, greatly improving overall efficiency and efficacy. The HyRef can also predict strong winds that can damage crops.

Better Scientific Debate


More scientists are engaging in debates based on bad science. For example, the Golden Rice debate generated reactions from researchers, including a 5,000-signature petition published on As CropLife America CEO Jay Vroom notes, the media’s reaction to Golden Rice, "which truly has no direct commercial interest and was donated to the developing world by Syngenta," brings more varying perspectives to the on-going GMO debate.

+ Head to the Web

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Discover Washington’s Palouse

After reading about Read Smith’s business ventures on page 18, take a closer look at the one-of-a-kind agriculture production region in a photo essay about the Palouse. Check it out at

Indemnity Revenue Estimator

Chris Barron designed a tool to help you better understand what your insurance payment could be with different yield and price scenarios. Download the spreadsheet at:

Farming 2025: How Will Farmers Use All That Data?

Technology companies and agribusinesses are developing solutions to help farmers manage the increasing number of data points associated with farming. Check out some of these early solutions at

Three things you must check out this month

1. Plan to Apply: Are you innovative? Do you have sound business practices? Apply to be the next Top Producer of the Year.

Leave a Legacy: You’ve worked hard to build your farm; now, preserve it. Check out the schedule of workshops.

Register for EWA: Registration is open for the 3rd Executive Women in Agriculture conference. Register today!

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