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Across the Editor’s Desk: What farmers want

LOREN KRUSE 01/12/2011 @ 2:44pm Editor-in-Chief Successful Farming

Family business consultant Don Jonovic, who writes our “Can Their Problem Be Solved?” column, always gets a confirming laugh at seminars when he explains the goal of most farmers. It is simple. “Farmers want to break even at a higher and higher level every year,” says Jonovic. Meaning: Farmers want to make more money without paying more in taxes.

Marketing consultant Al Kluis, who writes our “Your Profit” column, tells a similar story. “In the 36 years I’ve been working with farmers, I’ve figured out what most crop producers want each year,” Kluis explains. “They want a big crop and a big price.”

Of course, such double-good results rarely happen. “That’s because farmers had high prices when they had poor crops (or they were already sold out) or they had large crops and low prices,” says Kluis.

In recent years, however, the value of corn and soybean crops has surged to record levels. Kluis charts the growth and explains the reasons for the boom in his special report, “Crop Revenues Increase To Record Levels,” in most editions of this January issue. You can also find the article in the Successful Farming section of Agriculture.com.

Kluis cautions that high revenue alone is not by itself an indicator of high profit. “It is very difficult for most farmers to project a 2011 or 2012 profit that is equal to what was made in 2010,” Kluis says. “Be careful. Higher revenue does not guarantee higher profits. In fact, because of higher input costs and cutbacks in the farm program, farmers have even more risk.”

Staying Informed On-The-Go

Managing both ends of the margin spectrum – from input costs to commodity prices – requires rapid gathering of information and quick decisions. Over the past decade you’ve seen the cell phone in the holster join your holstered pliers as ready tools in your business. Now many more of those holsters are holding smart phones, while other mobile Web devices of various sizes, such as tablets, are kept nearby and ready to work.

If you are already connected to the mobile Web or are about to be, I invite you to bookmark M.AGRICULTURE.COM on your mobile device. Get up-to-the-minute ag news, weather, markets info, polls, discussion, timely management reminders, and more. Buy smartly. Grow big yields. Sell the rallies. Manage your taxes!  

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