Farm Bill Summit meeting planned for April 11


The next big meeting in the area will be the Farm Bill Summit being held on Thursday evening, April 11. This will be at Versailles High School on Marker Road in Darke County. The event is free and open to the public for anyone with interest in U.S. agricultural policy. Refreshments will be served at 6 p.m. with the program starting at 6:30 p.m. and finishing by 9:30 p.m. This program is designed to give you “Everything you need to know about the farm bill in one summit.”

Three keynote speakers will cover the three largest agricultural titles in terms of spending within the farm bill: commodities, conservation, and crop insurance: Keith Coble, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University; Jonathan Coppess, from the University of Illinois and past administrator of the Farm Service Agency; and Patrick Westhof, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri, and past economist to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. They will address government assistance in the farm bill including crop insurance, compensation for land set aside for conservation, and payments to farmers who grow commodities when losses occur due to low commodity prices or low revenue.

Producers of commodities now have a choice between two programs: Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage. Another significant change will affect dairy producers. The Dairy Margin Coverage program provides aid to dairy farmers when the margin between milk prices and feed costs dips below a certain coverage level. The 2018 farm bill lowered the cost of premiums for the first 5 million pounds of milk, but raised premiums costs for any milk over 5 million pounds.

Producers who opt to set aside a portion of their land for conservation could receive less compensation per acre compared to what they received under the previous farm bill. The new compensation rate has been decreased to 85 percent of the county rental rate. However, they will have the option of enrolling more acres in the program.

More information and registration are available at Additional questions can be sent to Sam Custer at [email protected].

How well do you know your farm? Sure, you could probably drive your fields blindfolded and you could name that cow which always comes in the parlor last; but what about your farm as a business?

The Ohio Farm Business Analysis Program is focused on working with farmers to help them better understand the numbers behind their businesses in order to make more informed production, marketing, and financial management decisions. Financial management is critical to the success of every farm business, and with analysis, farmers can better understand the numbers behind their profits or losses.

Now, I know it’s not necessarily the best time to think about this, what with planting season coming up, but you’ve probably got your taxes done for 2018 – or are still working on them – so you should have at least some of the information needed! To complete a farm’s analysis, we start with beginning and ending balance sheets from that year. To fill in between the balance sheets, we ask for income, expenses, capital purchases, sales, and enterprise information.

You can complete a whole farm analysis and also choose to do enterprise analysis. You’ll get your farm’s analysis and enterprise summaries that include costs of production per acre, per unit (such as bushel, ton, head) as well as machinery costs per acre. At the conclusion of each year’s analysis, you will also receive Ohio summary data, along with personalized benchmark reports that help you to identify areas of strength and concern.

If you are interested in exploring this way of getting a better handle on your farm financials and finding out strengths and weaknesses of your enterprises, contact me. I can get you in touch with the local Farm Business Analysis Technician serving this area.

Thanks to the USDA-NIFA Farm Business Analysis grant, the cost for a farm to complete an analysis for the 2018 business year is $100. To get an idea of the information generated, you can review past farm business summaries at

By Deborah Reinhart Brown

Ag update

The writer can be reached at the OSU Extension office (937-498-7239) or by email at [email protected].

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