Farm Facts and Furrows Dec 23

Beef symposium web conference

The Manitoulin Cattlemen’s Association is sponsoring an upcoming beef symposium to be held on Saturday, January 18, 2014. This will be a web conference broadcast from the University of Guelph during the FarmSmart conference. The beef symposium runs from 9 am until 4:30 pm. Refreshments will be provided, however you are asked to bring your own lunch. Agenda topics include: Putting research to work, building an elite herd, traceability, grass fed beef production, direct marketing strategies, and the value of cover crops in a beef operation. The specific agenda and speaker times will be distributed by the end of December. Please note the Cattlemen encourage you to attend based on your schedule and choice of topic. This web conference will be held at the Central Manitoulin Council Chambers, 6020 Highway 542 in Mindemoya.

 

Evaluate your risk management strategies

Obviously, farming can be a risky business. While it is impossible to eliminate every risk, some of the most critical risks can be reduced. Make sure that your farm insurance coverage is sufficient to cover any losses that your farm business cannot absorb. Review the farm’s property and machinery insurance policy thoroughly even though the policy may not be due. Are the values current and are all the items listed? What are your deductible values if you are in a claim position? What perils are covered against loss? Liability coverage is a necessity on the farm. Review your liability coverage with your insurance agent. Every farm business operator should have his agent at the farm every year. Do you have life and disability insurance? Even a minimal amount of coverage will protect your family in the event of a tragedy. Crop and livestock insurance programs are important risk management tools as well. Risk management tools such as insurance may seem costly but an uninsured loss could cripple your farm business.

 

Evaluate your farm finances

Year-end is a time to reflect on the farm business’ finances. If, at certain times of the year, you find yourself putting farm expenses on credit cards or having to decide between paying the feed bill and paying the utility bill, it would be a good idea to establish an operating line-of-credit (OLOC) for the farm. The interest rate on an OLOC will be much lower than credit card interest rates. In addition, interest only accrues when you are carrying a principal balance. Using an OLOC is a good way to maintain the farm during months when cash flow is short. If you already have an OLOC, this is a good time to review it with your lender. Is your credit limit appropriate for your needs? Are you only using the line for operating expenses, or have you been using it to make capital purchases that should really be set up on a term loan? Have you been able to pay the principal balance on your OLOC down to zero at least one month each year?