What's your outlook for 2006? Will it be further belt-tightening or simply keep on with what you're already doing? One thing is clear, financial forecasters across the state are preparing grim outlooks for this year, particularly for those farmers paying above-average cash rent.
But farm management experts and farmers alike are still optimistic. Here's a look at an idea each plan to use to cut back in the New Year.
Doug Miller, a farmer from Indianola, plans to skim back on fertilizer. "I prepaid nitrogen, locking in lower prices, and applied only maintenance levels of plow-down fertilizer based upon recent soil tests. I'll probably plant more GMO seed corn, which seemed to be the most resilient with all of the stressful weather last summer."
Gary Goodwin, a Farm Business Farm Management professional from Wyoming, says marketing is the place to look. "First, develop a marketing plan and second, follow through with it for the entire year. Have crop insurance in place and tied in with your marketing plan. A second drought year could be worst than the first!"
Mt. Pulaski farmer Doug Martin says he and his father, Jeff, will take a harder look at everything, but will look first at marketing.
"I believe the most important strategy I will use is to sell my crop when the price gets to a place where I can lock in a profit growing an average crop," Doug says. "In past years, that has only happened a couple of times and this next year I think that will be extremely important when and if the price rises."
For more on how they'll ramp up profits, check out our January issue.