Online ag newsletter is useful farm management tool


Isn’t autumn in northeast Ohio a wonderful time? I hope your harvest season is going well.

While area farmers are in the field, we at OSU Extension are planning our late fall and winter Extension management meetings for producers. Watch future columns for details about many of these programs which will be held in northeast Ohio.


Producers can sharpen their management skills during the rest of this year by subscribing to the Ohio Ag Manager electronic newsletter. This newsletter, published monthly, delivers information relevant to the management of profitable agricultural businesses.

Each month seven to 10 articles are written and published on the Ohio Ag Manager website at: These articles are on a variety of issues ranging from tax tips and labor management to legal liability to financial benchmarking.

Producers can access the newsletter online or elect to have the newsletter sent directly to their e-mail account each month. The website just had a facelift in July.


Today, I would like share with you a short description of some of the articles in this month’s Ohio Ag Manager newsletter. You can access the full articles and the remainder of the October 2010 articles at

On this website you will find current market data, charts and graphs of important dairy data, such as U.S. milk production, cow numbers and milk yields. You can find a chart showing the net income margin for a typical Ohio dairy farm, such as Income over Feed and Net Income over Total Operating Cost.

These charts are updated on a weekly or monthly basis to help you stay abreast of the markets.

Tax benefit

The recently passed Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 signed into law in September allows opportunity for sizable tax write-offs for farmers in 2010 and 2011. In an effort to further jumpstart the economy, this Act raises the threshold on Section 179 Expensing from the current limit of $250,000 to $500,000 for tax years 2010 and 2011

The terms apply to new and used equipment. The new Act also revived the 50 percent bonus depreciation for qualified property placed in service in 2010. These measures are meant to be an incentive for taxpayers to buy equipment.


Budgeting helps guide you through your decision-making process as you attempt to commit resources to the most profitable enterprises on the farm. OSU Extension can help answer these questions with well thought out budgets that include all revenue and costs.

Newly updated enterprise budgets for 2011 have been completed and posted to the farm management website of the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.


After several years of planning, the Risk Management Agency will release the Combo product for use in insuring crops for the 2011 cropping year. The first experience many producers will have with the Combo product will be when insuring wheat for 2011.

Health care credit

The new health reform law gives a tax credit to certain small employers (including farm business owners with employees) that provide health care coverage to their employees, effective with tax years beginning in 2010.

Small employers that provide health care coverage to their employees and meet certain requirements generally are eligible for a federal income tax credit for health insurance premiums they pay for certain employees.

Final thought

I encourage each of you to bookmark the Ohio Ag Manager ( website on your computer today. Readers can subscribe electronically to this newsletter by sending a blank e-mail message to: After you send your e-mail, you will receive a message back indicating that you have subscribed.

If you have any trouble subscribing, drop me a message at or call me at 440-576-9008. I am sure that you will find the Ohio Ag Manager to be a valuable member of your farm management toolbox. Have a great fall!

(The author is an assistant professor and Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension educator in Ashtabula County. He can be reached at 440-576-9008 or


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David Marrison is an associate professor and Extension educator, Agriculture & Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension. He can be reached at 740-622-2265 or



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