Tax season is in full swing. And farmers who have updated the way they manage their farming operation’s accounting systems may be in for a wake-up call.

In her article, Management Accounting Helps Farmers Make Informed Decisions, Andrea Johnson writes about the shock many farmers experience when they realize their modest farm has blossomed into a multi-million dollar operation. Often without them even realizing it.

Quoted in the article is Norman Brown. For 32 years, Brown has provided farmers with computer financial systems. Brown says there are many farmers out there who need to make the switch to management accounting so that they can make their farming operations as efficient as possible.

Management accounting may look at the cost of feeding and raising livestock vs. selling crops. It can evaluate the cost of running a combine compared with hiring a custom harvester. Informed decisions can be made regarding hiring employees vs. the owner completing all tasks independently on the farm.

Management accounting allows farmers to make decisions using financial measurements that will optimize production and performance. This will help farmers to know if they are, in the long run, going to be able to be competitive and sustainable.

Most anyone who is farming today is a good producer, but we are looking at people that are starting to take a risk management viewpoint for marketing, for expansion, and for financing.

Farmers who are interested in converting to management accounting should work with a specialized accounting firm. They also can contact the Farm Financial Standards Council and the American Society of Agricultural Consultants for guidance.

Email marketing is an excellent way to cement customer relationships and convert prospects into clients. More importantly, it allows you to do these things without breaking the bank.

Marketing via email also helps to drive more sales conversions by enticing prospects to your website faster than other marketing methods. In fact, response to an email campaign can occur in just a day or two.

Of course, like anything else these days, email marketing must constantly evolve to remain relevant and effective. If you aren’t seeing the results you once you did from your email marketing campaigns, it may be time to freshen them up a bit. Consider the following:

  1. Farmers and ranchers don’t like to be just another name on a distribution list. If you aren’t sending personalized messages, you need to be. Engaging customers in a personal way can be as simple as including their name in the subject line of the email. Further, the more you are able to show that you are in tune with a particular farmer or rancher you are reaching out to, the more responsive that farmer or rancher will be to your message.
  2. Consider trigger-based emails. Trigger emails are literally “triggered” by an action taken by a farmer or rancher. Say a farmer goes to your website to make a purchase but then does not go through with that purchase. A trigger email is then sent to that farmer or rancher within a short period of time. Receiving an email from a business while a customer or prospect is still considering a purchase has been shown to increase the chances that a purchase will ultimately be made.
  3. Let farmers and ranchers decide how they want to engage with you. When you send a marketing email to a farmer or rancher, make sure you give them the option of deciding how they will contact you. Farmers and ranchers want to be able to choose the method in which they engage with an Ag business. Maybe they don’t want to fill out a web form. Perhaps they would like to engage offline and call you on the phone. Statistics show that the greater choices you give farmers and ranchers regarding how to contact your business, the more likely they will be to get in touch with you.

There are countless benefits to email marketing for your Ag business. By updating your methods of email marketing, you can make it even more effective for things like increasing customer loyalty, generating sales leads and closing sales.

 

 

 

There are a lot of political issues up for discussion this election year. For farmers, one of the biggest has to do with water.

Of course, there are a number of issues regarding farmers’ use of water but one of the biggest—and without which others don’t really matter—is the availability of water. Consumable water in the United States, for the most part, comes from one of two sources. These sources are precipitation, which is stored in reservoirs and upper soil formations, and underground aquifers.

The U.S. Geological Survey conducted their annual analyses of water levels in 32,000 wells that have been sampled over the past 20 years. This analysis showed there to be a shrinking water supply in the West and High Plains. Further, according to this analysis, water levels have diminished in wells across the country. The majority of the wells in the U.S. Geological Survey’s database rely on underground aquifers. Irrigation accounts for the use of about 90 percent of the water in the lower 48 states.

While some have argued that too much runoff ends up in the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. government does not agree with this assessment. Government agencies also dispute the argument that fishery, wetland, and wildlife regulations require too much runoff.

It is obviously good news for both the U.S. economy and the Ag industry that agricultural exports have doubled since 2006. However, there is a downside to this booming export business. Higher exports mean that the amount and quality of the U.S. water supply declines along with these exports.

Of course, U.S. farmers are very aware of the need to conserve water and are doing their part to help save this valuable resource. What follows are just some of the many ways the Ag industry is doing its part to be a good steward of water resources:

  1. Drip irrigation: delivers water directly to a plant’s roots, reducing evaporation.
  2. Pond construction: allows farmers to decrease reliance on municipal water or wells by capturing and storing rainfall.
  3. Scheduled irrigation: keeps a close eye on the weather, as well as soil and plant moisture, to schedule irrigation so it is used in the most efficient manner possible.
  4. Drought-tolerant crops: appropriate for the climate of particular region and more drought-resistant.
  5. Drying farming: relies on soil moisture to produce more flavorful but lower-yield crops.
  6. Rotational grazing: moves livestock from field to field to promote pasture regrowth.
  7. Cover crops: protect unused soil and help prevent erosion and compaction, allowing water to more easily penetrate the soil and increase its water-holding capacity.
  8. Conservation tillage: makes use of things like specialized plows to partially till the soil but leave a percentage of vegetative crop residue on the surface to aid in water absorption and reduce things like evaporation, erosion, and compaction.