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Outlook on 2021 Crops

by Dave Bau, Extension educator Harvest is in full swing and yields really vary across the region and state. With a drought in place throughout most of the summer, Minnesota farmers have been left to wonder exactly what their yields will be. On top of the drought, many farmers received strong winds which caused harvesting issues when the corn broke or laid flat. While many will receive lower yields, some farmers will receive average or above average yields.   Here are a few examples. My estimated production costs per acres for 2021 were at $750 per acre for corn and $517 for soybeans, assuming land rent at $220 per acre. I will use the last five crop year averages for Cottonwood County of 188 bushels per acre for corn and 55 bushels per acre of soybeans from the USDA. For price, I will use the average price from Meadowland Farmers Coop for the past 11 months where one of my marketing groups met. The average corn price was $4.45 and soybean $11.56. Taking these prices multiplied by aver
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Farm rental workshops coming soon

By Dave Bau, Extension educator Landlords, farmers and agri-business professionals should make plans to attend one of the informative in-person meetings being held across Minnesota in November and December. These free meetings are being provided by the University of Minnesota Extension. Farm land rental rates are the largest input cost the farmer has. Determining a fair farm rent agreement is always challenging. Negotiating a fair rental agreement that satisfies the land owner and the farmer is a challenge. David Bau and Nathan Hulinsky, Extension educators in ag business management, will use examples, factsheets and worksheets to teach attendees how to determine a fair farm land rental rate for both parties. Visit Extension's land rent page in late October for the complete schedule of dates and locations of the workshops. Attendees will receive several informative worksheets and factsheets that will help to determine what is a fair 2022 farm land rental rate is. Some in-person lo

USDA announces CFAP 2 deadline and contract producer assistance

by Megan Roberts, Extension educator The United States Department of Agriculture announced the sign-up deadline for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) . The deadline for new or modified CFAP 2 sign-up is now October 12. This latest CFAP 2 announcement primarily affects sales-based commodities (e.g. specialty crops and livestock production) or livestock and poultry contract producers.  For many agricultural producers, there is no additional action required at this time for CFAP 2, as you have already signed up in the previous iteration of CFAP 2 in fall 2020 and/or you were already automatically sent additional assistance payments in late March or early April for certain eligible producers of cattle and row crops.*  In contrast, if you are an eligible farmer that has not yet received a CFAP 2 payment, a sales based commodity producer, and/or a contract producer, you may want to inquire very soon with Farm Service Agency about a new or modified CFAP 2 application.*** For sa

Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program for Dairy Farmers

By Megan Roberts and Nathan Hulinsky, Extension educators The Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program (PMVAP) is a direct payment administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The program compensates qualifying dairy farmers for losses from volatile milk prices from July to December 2020 due to disrupted markets during the pandemic and subsequent federal policies. Unlike most other pandemic assistance programs for farmers (e.g. CFAP 1&2) , PMVAP does not have a farmer-initiated sign-up period nor is it administered by Farm Service Agency. USDA’s AMS will make payments via agreements with independent milk handlers and cooperatives. Handlers and cooperatives that enter into agreement with USDA will then be responsible for making payments to their qualifying dairy farm producers.  Dairy farmers will be contacted by the participating milk handler or cooperative. The PMVAP payments, if made to a dairy farmer by their mi

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) tax update and forgiveness portal

by Megan Roberts and Rob Holcomb, Extension educators Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) changes continue to occur as we move through the summer. This blog reviews a state change related to taxability of PPP by the Minnesota Department of Revenue (MDR), and a federal change that allows many PPP borrowers to apply for forgiveness directly via the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) new PPP forgiveness portal . This SBA portal is expected to be fully open on August 4. Minnesota PPP taxation On July 1, several changes occurred to Minnesota’s tax code based on laws enacted during the Minnesota Legislature’s special session. Some of the most notable changes occurred to state level taxation of COVID-19 related PPP and unemployment compensation. At the tax filing deadline, PPP and unemployment compensation were considered taxable at the state level. As of July 1, PPP and unemployment are no longer taxable in Minnesota ( as shown on the updated M1NC ). The Department of Revenue has updated it

Livestock disaster assistance - PLIP, LFP, and emergency haying/grazing programs

by Megan Roberts, Extension educator In mid-July, the United States Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced several livestock producer focused disaster assistance programs. The first topic covered in this post is the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program, which is for losses related to last spring and summer's COVID-19 related livestock marketing disruptions. The second topic is for losses currently affecting livestock producers due to this summer's ongoing drought conditions. Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP) The Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP) opens for application by qualified producers on July 20 and remains open until September 17. The program assists swine, chicken, and/or turkey producers who suffered financial losses due to depopulation related to COVID-19 disruptions, i.e. insufficient access to processing. Losses must have occurred between March 1 and December 26, 2020. Producers must have had ownership of the depopu

Writing an Employee Handbook

by Amber Roberts, Extension Educator, Agricultural Business Management   As your farm grows from a sole proprietorship to hiring employees, it's time to start thinking about writing down your farm's policies and procedures. This is where an employee handbook comes in.  Employee handbooks are good for the farm, employers, and employees.   They can communicate the farm's culture by sharing the farm's history, vision, and mission statement. Handbooks can detail the training, development, and feedback processes highlighting the farm's commitment to the improvement of their employees and creating greater employee buy-in. They provide fairness and transparency on all policies and can allow for greater collaboration and discussion between employees and employers on farm policies.  Writing an Employee Handbook Employee handbooks provide important information about the business's vision and culture, expectations of employees, employer obligations, and employee rights. An