Farmers today (and every day) hear about something he/she should be doing better, faster, and more efficiently. Every day brings another new technology to embrace, understand, and use. Every day there is news to digest, EPA warnings to heed, markets to watch, and opportunities to capture. Every day there is more to consider than there was than the day before. It seems that just when you upgrade to the latest/greatest whatever, someone comes out with a better idea. The speed at which information comes to us can be overwhelming and the volume of that information quite daunting. Perhaps the solution to riding the information train and avoid being left behind is this “Just One More Thing.” How can I adopt just one more thing for certain aspects of my operation over time rather than implementing dozens of them spontaneously just trying to keep up?
Earlier this month, Bauman Agency hosted a day-long training for our customers focused on crop market outlooks, crop insurance and planter updates, technology, and crop management. We called it our Just One More Thing training with the goal of providing at least one good take-home piece of information from each segment of the day.
We were fortunate to host crop market expert Rich Morrison from Jacksonville, Illinois of Diversified Services. Rich presented his crop market outlook for 2017 and highlighted the tools to use to capture prices to meet goals and manage risk. Crop insurance was included in his list of tools as well as a new private product called Price Select. Price Select allows insureds to add months other than February and October to set their crop insurance price guarantees. The concepts that Rich talked about that day were, in my opinion, right on the mark. While he was speaking, I am pretty sure I was nodding my head to many of the suggestions he made. He cautioned us all to know our historical cost of production in order to know when we are approaching a good marketing opportunity. Guess I now have my One Thing from that session.
We also heard Bill Lankswerth’s counsel on ag financial risk management. Bill, from Louisville, KY, representing Agri-Financial Services, specializes in the development of positive financial relationships with lenders. His advice centered on how and what to compile and document to gain the support of our bankers. The concepts that Bill talked about that day were, in my business partner’s opinion, right on the mark. (My business partner also happens to be my wife.) While he was speaking my wife was nodding her head to each suggestion he made. Having a documented management approach for our farms was paramount to long term success. He insisted that a written overall strategic plan, including yield protection with crop insurance, product marketing and cost control was essential to gain bankers support and ensure long term profitability. My wife was all smiles! She likes to remind me that if a plan or goal isn’t written down, it doesn’t exist! I am a shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy and I find this process annoying, but, I had to admit that I now had my One Thing to take home from Bill’s session.
Decisions made about crop insurance coverage prior to March 15th are long term and remain in effect throughout the entire crop year. I truly believe that crop insurance coverage choices must be made with your goals for your operation and your risk management needs and crop marketing goals in mind, with an agent that understands and supports your goals. There is no one size fits all to crop insurance. Your risk management and marketing plan needs to be tailored to your needs. Visit with us about your farms coverage and get a quote for Price Select. This might be the One Thing that brings your best returns in 2017.
Image Credit: Will Scullin