Fall brings indoor farm chores, too

Corn silage is in and combines are running everywhere. When corn and beans are dry and the ground is fit to drive over, a good manager knows it is time to attend to these tasks.

Equally important, but not so easily seen by managers (or the neighbors), are other fall tasks that are typically carried out in the farm office.

A few reminders for fall 2007:

– Worker’s Compensation group rating review time

Every farm that hires labor must have Worker’s Compensation coverage. The larger your payroll, the larger the premium you must pay.

Businesses with a good safety record have the opportunity to participate in a group rating program that pools risk over a large group of similar employers that allows them to negotiate a better premium for each employer participating in the program.

Now is the time when you can shop around for the best group rating program for your business. There are many group programs available in Ohio.

To print a list of contacts, visit the bureau’s Web site at www.ohiobwc.com and type “group rating program” in the search function located at the bottom of the home page.

Select the “Group Rating Details” choice for lists of both public and private sector programs.

A dairy business would participate in a group that includes other farm businesses.

Once you are enrolled in a group, you may receive letters from many group plans this time of year. Some will offer very good group ratings, but they are really a group of entirely different businesses.

If you try to enroll in one of these groups, you may be accepted by the group, but rejected by the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation as they review each participant in each plan. Then your business would be out for the year and be obligated to pay full premiums which are very high for dairy businesses.

– 15K Program
Once enrolled in Worker’s Compensation, injuries that occur can cause premiums to increase. Claims include both medical costs as well as “lost time” wages.

If a business enrolls in the 15K program, they can choose to cover injuries, both medical expenses and up to seven or fewer lost days from work, up to a total of $15,000.

By doing this, the accident does not become part of their claim history and the farm avoids premium increases.

This program started as the 1K, grew to the 5K and is now known as the 15K Program. There are very specific guidelines and rules for the program.

Search for “15K Program” on the www.ohiobwc.com Web site.

– Tax planning and saving
This has been a very good income year for dairy farms, even with rising input prices. Planning for taxes is essential — planning to minimize them and planning to pay them.

Even with careful tax planning, the majority of dairy farms will need to pay taxes. This is a very good thing, but we have to budget to have cash available to meet those state and federal obligations.

Watch The Ohio Ag Manager and the Buckeye Dairy News as they will begin addressing 2007 income tax issues in their upcoming issues.

Finally, to effectively plan for taxes, the books have to be up to date and projections made for income and expenses for the balance of the year.

Books that are up to date should also be used to conduct year-end analysis of the overall business and each enterprise within the business.

New commodity prices are a really good reason to begin enterprise analysis if it is not already part of your standard practices.

I know this slogan is getting a little worn, but a good enterprise analysis will help answer the question “What’s in your wallet?”

About the Author

(Dianne Shoemaker is an OSU Extension dairy specialist located at the extension center in Wooster, Ohio.) More Stories by Dianne Shoemaker

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