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Spend it wisely

Investments you can make during uncertain economic times.

If you’re like most farmers, you probably aren’t planning many major purchases these days. Profitability took a dive for most operators over the past year or two—especially for livestock growers. But, if you have the resources, it may be a good time to consider some modest and wise investments. Some will cost you more time than money.

We asked Daryl Oldvader, CEO of FCS Financial, if the time is right to upgrade or make new purchases for the farm. He referred to an old saying about real estate—that you should look for three things—location, location, location. “The three financial priorities of any producer in this environment should be liquidity, liquidity, liquidity,” said Oldvader, whose association provides financing to Missouri farmers. In other words, take care to limit your debt.

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What do they tell us about fertilizer?

If you live in rural America, chances are you don’t use much natural gas. Generally, suppliers deliver natural gas via pipeline to homes and businesses in urban centers. When you fire up your furnace this winter, your fuel probably comes from a white tank out back filled with liquid propane (LP), a by-product of both natural gas and oil processing.

But natural gas may affect you more than you realize. For nitrogen fertilizers, “natural gas has the largest impact on production costs—it’s about 70 to 90 percent of the cost,” according to Kathy Mathers of The Fertilizer Institute.
When American grain growers look back on 2008, they will remember strong returns, but also sharply higher prices for inputs such as fertilizer. 2008 also brought high natural gas prices.

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Technical Brief: Evaluating causes of low milk-fat yield

Feed, bunk conditions and more affect yield

The other day I got a phone call. It went something like this:

Me: Hello?

Valued dairy customer: I just started feeding your feed.

Me: Thank you. We’re proud of it.

Valued dairy customer: And now I’m down on milk fat. What did you do to my cows? This turn of events, he said, had lowered his estimation of your esteemed nutritionist.

After a pleasant chat, we determined that milk production was up and pounds of fat were unchanged. Meanwhile, as we pried, we agreed that milk isn’t worth anything and fat is, and that the production percentage of fat wasn’t below 3.5 percent, so all was not lost after all.

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A Flight of Honor

Group takes World War II veterans to Washington DC in honor of their service

How do you tell a story that was told in spectacular and horrific reality some 65 years ago? Not with slabs of granite or the bubbling fountains of a monument. You talk with someone who was there. The story tells itself through the hands that lived it and the hearts that endured. For those of us who are lucky enough to live under freedoms delivered by the men and women who served and fought in World War II, the best we can do is listen and offer our gratitude in their honor.

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About Today's Farmer magazine

Today's Farmer is published 9 times annually. Printed issues arrive monthly except combined issues for June/July, August/September and December/January. Subscriptions are available only in the United States.

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