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Recent Articles


2022 Farmland Values

Steve Isaacs  |  September 29th, 2022

Land values are a good indicator of profitability in agriculture. Profits tend to accrue to the land and are reflected in sale prices and rental values. Kentucky’s farm real estate values increased 8.8% according to the annual Land Values Summary released by USDA in August. Average real estate value in the Commonwealth increased to $4,350 per acre, up from the $4,000 per acre reported in 2021. 


Farm Employee Retention

Suzy Martin  |  September 29th, 2022

Hiring and managing employees is one of the least liked tasks a farm operator faces. Questions about the cost of hiring employees are an often-asked question of Kentucky Farm Business Management Program (KFBM) specialists. Farm employers need forward-thinking ideas aimed at keeping good employees. 


Fall 2022 Wheat Planting Decision

Greg Halich  |  September 29th, 2022

Corn harvest is now underway and Kentucky grain farmers will soon decide if and how much wheat they will plant this fall.  Compared to last year there are significant increases in wheat and soybean prices, major increases in all fertilizer prices, and fuel prices that have almost doubled.  The following analysis quantifies these relative changes to estimate the profitability for crops harvested in 2023.  


Carbon Programs for Woodland Owners in Kentucky

Jordan Shockley and Jacob Muller  |  September 29th, 2022

As carbon programs continue to evolve and expand throughout the country, many programs focus on agriculture, specifically sequestering carbon in row crop production. While carbon programs in the agriculture sector garner most of the attention, another opportunity is on the horizon for Kentucky woodland owners to participate in these programs. Forest-based carbon programs are beginning to take shape and expand across the U.S., including Kentucky. 


Optimism for Burley???

Will Snell  |  August 30th, 2022

For those of you who have gotten past the title, it is not a typo. Yes, the Kentucky burley sector has lost over 70% of its market over the past couple of decades, while the number of farms growing burley in the Commonwealth has dwindled by more than 90%. But market conditions have changed for 2022.


Relating Farm Financial Terms to Real Life

Kayla Brashears

Kayla Brashears  |  August 30th, 2022

A producer that works with any type of lending institution may hear their lender use words like liquidity, solvency, and profitability. A producer may know that their Debt-to-Worth is good or their Current Ratio is bad. However, oftentimes there is a disconnect between paper ratios and the daily farm operation. Outlined below are five pillars of financial health and their effect on daily operations.


USDA-FSA's Livestock Indemnity Program

Dr. Kenny Burdine

Kenny Burdine  |  August 9th, 2022

USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) is administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) and is intended to help compensate producers for greater than normal levels of livestock deaths from adverse weather, disease outbreaks, and predator attacks. As I try to process the disastrous impact of the recent flooding in Eastern Kentucky, I felt like it might be a good time for a reminder of how the LIP program works as there is potential for producers to receive payments from this recent event.


Mid-year Cattle Report Continues to Show Decreasing Cattle Inventory

Dr. Kenny Burdine

Kenny Burdine  |  August 3rd, 2022

In late July, USDA-NASS released their mid-year estimates of U.S. cattle inventory. As expected, the report showed lower inventory across most all cattle types. All cattle and calves were estimated to be down by just under 2%, while beef cow inventory was estimated down by 2.4%.


I Have This Farm, Now What?

Michael Forsythe

Michael Forsythe  |  July 29th, 2022

What do I do with the farm I just bought?  Although this sounds like a question that should be asked before you buy the farm, there may be circumstances that cause you to acquire a farm before deciding what to do with it. No matter the circumstance, deciding what to do with the farm requires careful consideration. In this article, we will look at several decisions that need to be made when purchasing or inheriting a farm. 


Hay Production Cost Increases in 2022 and Management Implications

Greg Halich  |  July 29th, 2022

Costs for hay production have skyrocketed in 2022.  Fertilizer is driving the bulk of the overall increase, followed by fuel, and then general cost increases for other categories.  While we can debate the exact causes of all these increases, we have a serious situation that needs to be understood and dealt with. 


Historical Farm Income and Expenses

Lauren Omer Turley

Lauren Omer Turley  |  July 29th, 2022

Agriculture seems to be on a roller coaster recently with the volatile commodity markets, energy costs, and the tough summer weather.  Looking back over the last ten years, grain farmers have seen a wide range of commodity prices and yields.  There has been much more variance on the income side than the costs per acre.  It is interesting to look at trends over the past ten years using data from the Kentucky Farm Business Management (KFBM) program. 


Consumer Covid Crisis Edges Back – A Little

Azita Varziri and Tim Woods  |  July 29th, 2022

Covid represented a significant shock in 2020 to the U.S. food system as well as to consumer perceptions about food.  While many consumers were forced to rethink where and how they sourced food, these sourcing options were also framed by values and perceptions consumers held about their food.  Issues of affordability, safety, local food economies, and choice were measured against rapidly emerging options to source. There is some initial evidence that some of the initially acute demand and values driven by Covid around food have edged back, at least a little. 


U.S. Ag Exports/Trade Policy Update as of June 2022

Will Snell  |  June 30th, 2022

USDA recently updated their trade forecast for FY 2022  projecting a record-high U.S. ag export level totaling $191 billion, 11% higher than last year’s record high and 35% above the 2016-2020 average. Gains in U.S. ag trade are occurring despite a slowing global economy and a higher-valued U.S. dollar.  However, the historic high export values for FY 2022 are in response to higher commodity prices as export volumes are projected to be lower for most agricultural commodities/products. 


High Path Avian Influenza Update and the On-Farm Financial Impacts from an Outbreak

Jordan Shockley  |  June 30th, 2022

In 2014/15, the U.S. poultry industry experienced one of the most significant animal health emergencies due to high pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), also known as “bird flu.” Federal expenditures to control the outbreak and pay poultry growers for lost birds exceeded $1 billion.  Unfortunately, the poultry industry is experiencing another outbreak challenging the scale of 2014/15.


Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence

Steve Isaacs  |  June 30th, 2022

Much of our discussion is on items of concern, like prices and input supply problems, certainly important, but largely beyond our individual influence. Is it important? Sure. Is it something we can influence? No. Do we have to manage around it? Yes. While an individual cannot manage the price, they can monitor and manage use and efficiency. While an individual cannot manage a supply chain interruption, they can anticipate and plan to accommodate disruptions and delays.


The Cost of a Bad Hire

Steve Isaacs  |  May 31st, 2022

You need help and you need it now! Add the competition from $15-18/hr service sector wages to the mix and the situation seems almost hopeless. Someone shows up looking for a job and it can seem like an answered prayer. The temptation is to say, “Can you start today?” That should be the last question you ask, not the first. 


Agricultural Sales Tax Exemption Now Streamlined

Laura Powers

Laura Powers  |  May 31st, 2022

On March 20, 2022, Governor Andy Beshear signed Senate Bill 121 enacting a streamlined process for eligible farmers to receive a sales tax exemption on eligible purchases. The recently approved legislation renames the AE as an “agriculture exemption license number.” The new streamlined bill appears to provide some relief to retailers by eliminating their requirement to maintain an exemption certificate on file. 


A Quick Look at Kentucky's Favorite Summertime Small Fruit: Strawberries

Savannah Columbia

Savannah Columbia & Katie Fortney  |  May 31st, 2022

Summertime is upon us, and strawberries are filling the refrigerators of many homes in Kentucky. Strawberries, along with blueberries and blackberries, are staple crops in the small fruits business. With higher consumption rates, comes the potential for increases in prices.


What is the Driving Force behind Carbon Programs in the U.S. and Why Agriculture?

Jordan Shockley  |  April 28th, 2022

As new carbon programs continue to become available to row crop farmers across the country, understanding the driving force behind why these programs exist in the first place is key to determining their longevity. This article goes in-depth to address the question of why?  Why do these carbon programs currently exist, and why are they focused on the agriculture sector?


Food Price Inflation - Trends and Implications for U.S. and Global Consumers

Will Snell  |  April 28th, 2022

Inflation dominates today’s conversation among the media, politicians, and everyone impacted–i.e., all of us. This article highlights the effects of inflation on ag (i.e., food) consumers and compares food price inflation in the U.S. versus global consumers.

  


3 Tips for Farm Management During Rising Inflation

Jennifer Rogers

Jennifer Rogers  |  April 28th, 2022

With input prices on the increase and so many things changing with our economy, it is important that producers think about how to manage during rising inflation.  There is nothing that we can do to control the prices that we have to pay for products, we can only make sound management decisions about what we purchase and how we manage cash, and the cost of money that is borrowed. 


The Importance of Agriculture for Kentucky: March 2022 Report Update Now Available

Sarah Bowker

Sarah Bowker  |  April 28th, 2022

Our unit, the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK), recently updated the 2015 report, The Importance of Agriculture for Kentucky. The report defines the economic impact of the Agricultural sector on the Kentucky economy. In our March 2022 update, the primary finding is that the total economic impact of agriculture in Kentucky in 2019 equaled $49.6 billion, representing an 8.8% increase from the economic impact of $45.6 billion in 2012.


Maximizing Value: 2022 Spring Application of Broiler Litter for Grain Crop Production

Jordan Shockley  |  March 31st, 2022

One of the many decisions producers have to make before planting is in regard to their nutrient management plan.  Broiler litter provides a great opportunity as a complete fertilizer and is being produced and used throughout the state in grain production.  However, the value of broiler litter can vary greatly depending on the management practices, nutrient content of the litter, soil test data and commercial fertilizer prices.


Grain Profitability Outlook 2022

Greg Halich  |  March 31st, 2022

The grain markets had already been climbing before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th.  Since then, prices have been on a tear, particularly for wheat and corn. Tempering the increased revenue from higher grain prices are steep increases in fertilizer and fuel prices.  Fertilizer prices have been rising steadily since last winter and we now have prices that are at all-time highs. This article will evaluate the combined effect of the increases in both commodity and input costs, and estimate profitability for the 2022 crop.


Summer Stocker Outlook for 2022

Greg Halich & Kenny Burdine  |  March 31st, 2022

Driving through the Commonwealth it is clear that spring has arrived and we are seeing signs of pastures growing.  Stocker operators are starting to place calves on pasture, which typically pushes calf prices to their seasonal highs.  As of late March, calf prices have increased by more than $20 per cwt from their lows last fall. Simply put, the futures market is suggesting that the price of heavy feeders between spring and fall should increase substantially, which should be reflected in strong calf prices this spring.


Pre and Post-COVID Analysis of Select Spring Crops at the Auction

Savannah Columbia

Savannah Columbia  |  March 31st, 2022

Spring is on the horizon in Kentucky. Many specialty crop growers have already begun thinking about which fruits and vegetables to cultivate and the ideal market channels in which to sell. There are many market channels available to producers – an important market channel for both Kentucky and many of our growers is the produce auction. While growers do not receive the same price premium at the auction compared to an urban farmer’s market, there are reasons the auction is a viable market channel.


Impact of Government Payments

Jerry Pierce

Jerry Pierce  |  February 28th, 2022

How important is a new farm bill? That depends on a number of factors like what you grow, where you farm, and what happens during a year to trigger payment to you. What impact have farm bills and other government programs had on Kentucky farms in terms of profitability over the last decade? They appear to have had a considerable effect. 


Cow-Calf Profitability Estimates for 2021 and 2022 (Spring Calving Herd)

Greg Halich, Kenny Burdine, and Jonathan Shepherd  |  February 28th, 2022

The purpose of this article is to examine cow-calf profitability for a spring calving herd that sold weaned calves in the fall of 2021 and provide an estimate of profitability for the upcoming year. Every operation is different, so producers should evaluate and modify these estimates to fit their situation.


2022 Tobacco Budgets

Will Snell  |  February 28th, 2022

The 2022 Kentucky-Tennessee tobacco budgets for burley, dark air-cured, dark fire-cured, cigar wrapper tobaccos are now available for download on our budgets page. As we always like to remind our users, budgets are just a tool that producers should draw upon in their decision-making. Every farm will have a different set of assumptions based on its unique production, management, and marketing outcomes.


Reducing Your Dependency on Commercial Fertilizers Strategies for Cattle Farms in 2022 and Beyond

Greg Halich  |  February 28th, 2022

Fertilizer prices have risen to all-time high levels in the last few months. Nitrogen and potassium fertilizers have both more than doubled over the last year. This article focuses on three practical methods that can significantly cut fertilizer costs on cattle farms, and to possibly eliminate the dependency on commercial fertilizer entirely.


Beef Cattle Numbers Continue to Decline

Kenny Burdine  |  February 2nd, 2022

USDA-NASS released their January 1, 2022 cattle inventory estimates on January 31st. Beef cow slaughter was significantly higher in 2021, so expectations were for continued contraction of cattle inventory. The USDA report confirmed that and provided some perspective on the magnitude of these decreases. Read more >>


IRS Extends March 1 Filing Date for Kentucky Farmers Affected by December Tornadoes

Jerry Pierce

Jerry Pierce  |  February 1st, 2022

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that certain farms affected by the December 10th severe storms and tornadoes now have until May 16, 2022 to file 2021 returns and pay tax due. Read more >> 

  


Update on Agriculture Exemption Number for Sales Tax Exemption on Farm Purchases

Jerry Pierce

Jerry Pierce  |  January 28th, 2022

The application deadline for farms with existing Exemption Certificates on file with farm suppliers was January 1, 2022. Applications are still being accepted for existing farms. Farms that do not have existing Exemption Certificates should also apply as soon as possible in order to qualify for the sales tax exemption.  Read more >>


Price Risk Management Tools for Cattle Producers

Kenny Burdine  |  January 28th, 2022

The last few years are unlikely to be remembered fondly by many cattle producers. Large cattle supplies, a global pandemic, weather challenges, and a sharp increase in feed prices have all impacted feeder cattle values. As I write this on January 21, 2022, there is more than a $15 per cwt increase in CME© feeder cattle futures from the March contract to the August contract. This article will briefly discuss some tools available to cattle producers should they want to protect themselves from downside price in 2022.  Read more >>


Demand for Certified Kitchen Use Nationally and in Kentucky

Camille Dant

Camille Dant  |  January 28th, 2022

Many Certified Kitchens saw a shock to their system and a halting of kitchen rentals and revenue as COVID-19 made its impact. Certified or commercial kitchens, also known as shared use kitchens, are commercially-licensed spaces where producers can prepare their products legally while providing budget and schedule flexibility that small businesses may need. Nationally and locally, these kitchens saw shifts in demand for the use of their space.  Read more >>


Inflation - "Good" or "Bad" for Agricultural Producers and Consumers?

Will Snell  |  January 28th, 2022

Inflation has been headline news for several months and certainly an issue impacting all businesses, industries, and all of us as consumers.  Last year the monthly inflation rate averaged just under 5% and in its latest report (January 12, 2022) the BLS indicated that prices over the past 12 months increased 7% -- the largest December to December percent change since 1981.  Read more >>


The Dairy Gauge Benchmarking Tool

Jerry Pierce

Jerry Pierce  |  January 28th, 2022

Benchmarking compares your farm’s performance to past performance or to established measures of success. The benchmark is some measure of a goal, or a range of what is desirable and what is not. You do this all the time, comparing this year’s yields to past years or this cow’s performance to others in the herd. These comparisons lead to informed decision-making, especially in managing the cow herd. Comparing your business performance is far less common, especially to the performance of other dairies.  Read more >>


Opportunity or Obligation

Steve Isaacs  |  November 23rd, 2021

Baby Boomers are in the process of transitioning trillions of dollars of assets to Millennials and Gen Zers. This includes farming Baby Boomers. Family discussions about passing the business to the next generation should start with, “do you want to farm?” and “do I want you to farm?” Read more >>


Economic Value of Applying Broiler Litter in the Fall | 2021

Jordan Shockley  |  November 23rd, 2021

Spring application of broiler litter is ideal for maximizing the economic value but faces challenges that include wet soil conditions, lack of time to spread litter near planting, and availability of litter in the spring. Litter applied in the fall to fallow cropland will suffer from ammonium volatilization and leaching resulting in little to no nitrogen available to the crop come spring. Read more >>


Building a Farm Balance Sheet

Kayla Brashears

Kayla Brashears  |  November 23rd, 2021

As December 31 approaches, producers should work towards developing a quality balance sheet. Doing so is critical to measure business growth year over year, liquidity, solvency, and borrowing power. It is best to complete the balance sheet at the same time each year. For most cash-basis taxpayers, such as farmers, December 31 is a great post-harvest time for completion. Read more >>


Family Living Expenses on Kentucky Farms

Steve Isaacs  |  October 28th, 2021

There is likely no single item in a farm business cash flow with more uncertainty and more variability than “family living expense.” We tend to live on what’s leftover after paying debt and taxes. However, the Kentucky Farm Business Management program does have accurate family living data for some of the farms in their records and management program. Read more >>


Bookkeeping Tips for Multi-entity Operations

Suzy Martin  |  October 28th, 2021

There are multiple reasons a farming operation might separate its business into multiple entities. If an operation is part of a program like Kentucky Farm Business Management, not only can they be advised about the pros and cons of multi-entity structures but can also be educated about the importance of following through with the changes new business structures bring. Read more >>


COVID-19 and Kentucky's Migrant and Resident Agriculture Worker Population

Savannah Columbia

Savannah Columbia  |  October 28th, 2021

Kentucky is home to a multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry which operates in part by the labor inputs of foreign-born residents and migrant or H2A workers. Exposure risk for COVID-19 among agricultural workers can be higher than expected because many farm crews carpool or travel together and share sleeping quarters or communal areas which may be difficult to social distance in. Read more >>


New Features to Enterprise Budgets

Greg Halich  |  October 28th, 2021

Enterprise budgets are designed to help farmers estimate profitability in the current and future growing seasons, and are also used by lenders and other agricultural-related professionals. Expected year-to-year changes in profitability can help farmers make decisions related to cropping decisions.  Read more >>


Tools to Manage Risk for Dairy Producers

Kenny Burdine  |  September 30th, 2021

While producer price differentials (PPD’s) have been less of an issue thus far in 2021, increasing feed prices are hammering dairy margins. Milk price volatility and rising feed costs continue to be risks that dairy producers are forced to manage. Fortunately, there are several tools available to dairy producers... Read more >> 


Fall 2021 Wheat Planting Decision

Greg Halich  |  September 30th, 2021

Corn harvest is now underway and Kentucky grain farmers will soon decide if and how much wheat they will plant this fall. Compared to last year there is a significant increase in wheat and soybean prices, as well as major increases in all fertilizer prices. Read more >>

  


Characteristics of Higher Profit Farms

Lauren Omer Turley

Lauren Omer Turley  |  August 31st, 2021

In today’s farming culture, the goal of most producers is to be at the top of the profitability curve in order to stay competitive. Although crop yields do play a major factor in management returns, the diversity of the operation also has an impact. Read more >> 

  


Small Fruit, Big Local Demand

Brett Wolff

Brett Wolff  |  August 31st, 2021

With Kentucky Farmer’s Markets regularly reporting strawberry prices between $5 and $8 per quart, blackberry prices between $5 and $12 per quart, and blueberry prices of $7-12 per quart, these fruits could be great supplemental products for sellers looking to expand their offerings with something customers want. Read more >> 

  


The Steer-Bull Price Differential: A Historical Perspective

Kenny Burdine  |  August 31st, 2021

In extension settings, I am often asked whether I think it pays for a cow-calf operator to castrate bulls and sell steers. Castration is not without cost as it requires time and facilities and does stress calves for a period of time. Like so many management decisions, there are numerous ways that one can look at this decision and there is more to be considered than economics alone. Read more >> 


2021 Land Values

Steve Isaacs  |  August 16th, 2021

Average Kentucky farm real estate values were $4,000/acre as reported in the annual Land Values Summary released by USDA on August 6. This was 2.0% higher than 2020 and the first-time average values have reached $4,000. Nationally, farm real estate was valued at $3,380 up 7.0% from 2020 and the largest percentage increase since 2014. Read more >>


Grain Market Shift and Profit Implications

Greg Halich  |  July 27th, 2021

The grain markets have been on a tear for the last year and have exceeded just about everyone’s expectations as to where they would be going into the summer of 2021.  Current prices for 2021 fall delivery are near $5.50/bu for corn and $13.50/bu for soybeans in many areas in Kentucky (7/22/21). If you haven’t marketed much of your 2021 crops now would be a good time to start getting serious about it. Read more >>


Mid-Year Inventory Report Suggests Opposite Trends for Beef and Dairy Numbers

Kenny Burdine  |  July 27th, 2021

On Friday, July 23rd, USDA-NASS released their mid-year estimates of US cattle inventory. Most all beef-related inventory categories were lower, with all cattle and calves down 1.3% from July 1, 2020. The story for dairy cow inventory was much the opposite as milk cow numbers were up 1.6% from a year ago and USDA reported a 2.5% increase in dairy heifer retention. Read more >> 


"There's an App for That"

Jordan Shockley and Morgan Waldner  |  July 27th, 2021

While there are hosts of mobile apps dedicated to agriculture, there are also mobile apps that deal specifically with agricultural economics topics.  Whether you are looking for pricing information for commodities or help with record-keeping, there’s an app for that. Read more >>


The Importance of Including Non-Cash Expenses

Michael Forsythe

Michael Forsythe  |  July 27th, 2021

When farmers are evaluating their farm profitability, many times, they will only include their cash expenses and they will ignore a very important component of their true profitability. It is very important for a farmer to understand that cash expenses are not the only expenses to a farming operation. If a farmer does not include these non-cash expenses, they will inflate the true earnings of their farming operation. Read more >>


Agriculture Exemption Number Now Required for Tax Exemption on Farm Purchases

Jerry Pierce

Jerry Pierce  |  July 19th, 2021

A new Kentucky law requires that farmers apply for an Agriculture Exemption Number to make qualified purchases for the farm exempt from sales tax. Farmers may still use Forms 51A158 and 51A159 without an Agriculture Exemption Number through June 30, 2022, by using their driver’s license number.  Exemption Certificates without an Exemption Number will expire and no longer be valid as of July 1, 2022. Read more >>


Estate Transfer under Proposed American Families Plan

Jerry Pierce

Jerry Pierce  |  June 29th, 2021

On May 28th the Biden Administration released a general explanation of its proposed tax changes. This includes an explanation of proposed changes in the American Families Plan that would tax transfers of appreciated property by gift or upon death, tax capital income for high-income earners at ordinary rates, increase the top marginal income tax rate, and apply the 3.8-percent Medicare tax to all trade or business income of high-income taxpayers, including transfer of assets. Read more >>


Does the IRS Consider my Farming Operation a Hobby Farm?

Tarrah Hardin

Tarrah Hardin  |  June 29th, 2021

Many producers that have both farm and non-farm income, may question if the IRS considers their farming activities to be a “business” or a “hobby”.  This is a very important distinction to both the farmer and the IRS due to the IRS treatment of business income versus “hobby” income. The IRS has nine factors they use to determine the status of the farming operation. Read more >>


People Skills: Appropriate Feedback

Steve Isaacs  |  June 29th, 2021

People are the most important resource in a farm business. However, managing people is often the least developed of the skills necessary to run a successful farm business. If you think praising people when they do something right and criticizing them when they do something wrong is all there is to knowing how to provide feedback, then don’t be surprised that things aren’t going well in the people part of the business. Read more >>


It May be a Good Time to Sell Your Mature Hardwood Timber

Chad Niman

Chad Niman and Bobby Ammerman  |  June 29th, 2021

If you have purchased a sheet of plywood or a 2 X 4 stud from your local lumber yard or box store recently you very likely have noticed that wood product prices have skyrocketed. The demand for wood has been on the increase and the prices for timber and lumber have risen along with the products. If you are a woodland owner with mature timber, it might be a good time to consider selling—if it fits in with your overall woodland management plan. Read more >>


How Hay Became a Four Letter Word

Greg Halich  |  May 28th, 2021

In some circles of the progressive forage community, hay has already become a four-letter word. It’s been demonized for sucking out the profits on cattle farms and has stigmatized underperforming farmers who feed it as a sign of weakness. Hay should be considered a tool, and like any tool, it can be used wisely or abused. Used wisely and fed judiciously, hay allows us to have a significantly higher stocking rate than we could with no hay feeding, and, in most cases, be more profitable. Read more >>


Solar Farming Considerations

Alison Davis

Alison Davis  |  May 28th, 2021

Both solar and wind energy have the potential to offset a significant fraction of non-renewable electricity demands, yet it occupies extensive land when deployed at levels large enough to meet global demand. The following summarizes some of the considerations for individual farmers, communities, and local leaders... Read more >>


Proposed Gift and Estate Tax Changes

Laura Powers

Laura Powers  |  May 28th, 2021

You may have been reading in the news lately about proposed changes to various tax laws and their impact on farmers. At this point, however, we would like to provide some background information as to what you may be hearing. Read more >>

  


U.S. and Global Food Price Inflation

Will Snell  |  May 28th, 2021

Last year, COVID induced major disruptions in our food supply chain ranging from temporary closures of meat processing plants and restaurants to the panic buying of consumers. As a result U.S. food prices overall jumped 3.5% in 2020 -- its second-highest annual level spike over the past 30 years. While escalating food prices has been headline news of late,  USDA is projecting that food prices will increase only between 2 and 3% in 2021, as inflation for most food categories is expected to be at or below their 20-year historical averages. Globally, food price inflation is a much greater concern. Read more >>


National Farm Market Impacts from Covid

Tim Woods

Tim Woods and Mahla Zare  |  April 29th, 2021

A Fall 2020 national survey conducted by the Farmers Market Coalition of farmers market managers starts to provide a glimpse into some of the winners and losers in farmers markets across the country.  Farmers markets have been important venues for small vendors and localized food systems, often providing a diversity of kinds of vendors participating. Read more >>


Carbon Markets 101

Jordan Shockley and Will Snell  |  April 29th, 2021

The development of agricultural ecosystem credit markets, specifically carbon markets, is a hot topic in the popular press and Washington, DC.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 10% of carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas, is emitted by the agricultural sector.  While this is relatively a small portion of overall carbon dioxide emissions by the economic sector, agriculture has received a lot of attention in reducing overall GHG emissions recently.  Read more >>


Contractor or Employee?

Jennifer Rogers

Jennifer Rogers  |  April 29th, 2021

Extra help is often needed around the farm.  It can be easy to get someone to come help out when needed and pay them at the end of the day for the job completed.  What gets difficult is knowing the difference between contract labor and an employee. Read more >>


USDA Announces Additional Pandemic Assistance for Farmers

Will Snell and Kenny Burdine  |  March 30th, 2021

On March 24th, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack introduced USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers that will be distributing more than $12 billion to assist agricultural producers and other agricultural businesses impacted by the Coronavirus. Read more >>

  


Hemp Contract Considerations

Jonathan Shepherd, Paul Goeringer, and Tyler Mark  |  March 30th, 2021

Engaging in production agriculture is a risky profession, even for mature markets, such as corn and poultry, much less one that lacks the market transparency of hemp. One way producers mitigate risk in mature markets is through the utilization of production and marketing contracts.. Read more >>


Maximizing Value: 2021 Spring Application of Broiler Litter for Grain Crop Production

Jordan Shockley  |  March 30th, 2021

Spring is here and grain producers across the state are gearing up for planting.  One of the many decisions producers have to make before planting is in regard to their nutrient management plan.  Broiler litter provides a great opportunity as a complete fertilizer and is being produced and used throughout the state in grain production.  Read more >>


Summer Stocker Outlook for 2021

Greg Halich and Kenny Burdine  |  March 18th, 2021

Spring means stocker operators are looking to place calves on pasture for summer and is the time of year when we typically see our seasonal highs in the calf market. The purpose of this article is to assess the likely profitability of summer stocker programs for 2021 and establish target purchase prices for calves based on a range of return levels. Read more >>


Cow-Calf Profitability Estimates for 2020 and 2021 (Spring Calving Herd)

Greg Halich, Kenny Burdine, and Jonathan Shepherd  |  February 25th, 2021

The purpose of this article is to examine cow-calf profitability for a spring calving herd that sold weaned calves in the fall of 2020 and provide an estimate of profitability for the upcoming year. Every operation is different, so producers should evaluate and modify these estimates to fit their situation.  Read more >>


ARC-PLC Farm Bill Decision 2021

Greg Halich  |  February 25th, 2021

Starting in 2018, grain farmers have had the ability to decide on a yearly basis between the ARC and PLC Farm Bill programs. In general, the decision for 2021 will not be nearly as important as in most years, as the likelihood for a payout with either program is fairly low with all crop-types. Read more >>


2021 Tobacco Budgets

Will Snell  |  February 25th, 2021

I have always claimed that tobacco returns will generally generate a much greater variation across growers compared to many other agricultural enterprises given tobacco producer differences in labor source (H2A vs non-H2A), labor requirements, yield expectations, equipment and housing/stripping facilities, GAP fees, and price outcomes.  Consequently, growers are encouraged to use our budget templates to develop a baseline that fits their individual farm and then look at our price and yield sensitivity tables to assess a wide variety of outcomes. Read more >>


Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness

Jerry Pierce

Jerry Pierce  |  February 25th, 2021

The Economic Aid Act reauthorized the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through March 31. On January 19, 2021, SBA issued Interim Final Rules concerning forgiveness and review of first and second draw loans made under PPP. Read more >>


Liquidation of the U.S. Beef Herd Continues, but at a Slower Pace than Expected

Kenny Burdine  |  February 2nd, 2021

USDA-NASS released their January 1, 2021 cattle inventory estimates on the afternoon of Friday, January 29th. The U.S. beef cow herd was estimated to be down by 0.6%, which was a smaller decrease than most had expected. Read more >> 

  


More Government Money on the Way for Kentucky Farmers

Will Snell  |  January 28th, 2021

As a result of the stimulus package that became law at the end of 2020, Kentucky farmers are set to receive a third round of CFAP payments in 2021 (CFAP 3.0).  Currently, USDA is developing specific rules/details on the new CFAP program with farmer sign-up and payments to follow. Read more >>


Cantaloupe, Watermelon, and Pumpkin Market Trends for Kentucky

Savannah Columbia

Savannah Columbia and Tim Woods  |  January 28th, 2021

Cantaloupe, watermelons and pumpkins have been important crops for Kentucky, especially moving through the auctions. Good growing conditions led to both strong yields and quality and, with the strong prices, these three products helped see auction sales move roughly 40% higher for the season compared to 2019. Read more >>


Continued Declines in Hemp Profitability Mixed with Marginal Profit Potential for 2021

Jonathan Shepherd and Tyler Mark  |  January 28th, 2021

For 2021, it is expected that both approved and planted acres for hemp will continue to decline.  Many producers and processors are still working through the biomass and/or processed crude oil from 2019 and 2020 growing seasons. Read more >>

  


ARC vs PLC – The Basics

Will Snell  |  January 28th, 2021

The 2014 Farm Bill developed two programs to provide income support for specified row crops -- the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. These risk management programs were reauthorized in the 2018 Farm Bill with slight modifications and remain in effect for the 2019-2023 crop years. Read more >>


Paycheck Protection Program Update

Jerry Pierce

Jerry Pierce  |  January 20th, 2021

The Economic Aid Act reauthorized the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through March 31 and made several modifications beneficial to farmers. It also authorizes second draw PPP loans. Read more >>

  


Additional CFAP Funding Announced

Will Snell and Kenny Burdine  |  January 19th, 2021

USDA announced on this past Friday that additional Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments (labeled CFAP 2.1) will be made for certain producers using leftover funds from the first two rounds of CFAP. Read more >>

  


2020 Tax Update

Suzy Martin  |  November 25th, 2020

Despite all the events of 2020, the tax law changes were minimal. One item of discussion is the “Recovery Rebate”, which was the stimulus payment of $1200 ($2400 for couples) that was received in the first half of the year. Read more >>

  


Estimates of What it is Going to Cost Me to Destroy my "HOT" Hemp Crop

Jonathan Shepherd and Tyler Mark  |  November 25th, 2020

We recognize that no one plants a crop with expectations of having to destroy the crop. However, the risk of producing a hemp crop that is non-compliant is a real risk and has a genuine cost associated. This article begins to outline the time and cost estimates associated with the various methodologies of crop destruction. Read more >>


Communication in Stressful Times

Steve Isaacs  |  November 25th, 2020

How we communicate with family, friends, employees, customers, and employers is different in stressful situations. Dr. Vincent Covello of the Center for Risk Communication says that all the communication rules change under stress. The things we say, how we say them, and how they are heard are very different in low-stress situations than they are in high-stress circumstances. Read more >>


The Economic Value of Applying Broiler Litter in the Fall

Jordan Shockley  |  November 25th, 2020

Spring application of broiler litter is ideal for maximizing the economic value, but faces challenges that include wet soil conditions, lack of time to spread litter near planting, and availability of litter in the spring. Therefore, it is a common practice in Kentucky to apply broiler litter in the fall.  While not optimal from an economic, agronomic, or environmental perspective, producers still need to understand the economic value of applying broiler litter in the fall. Read more >>