Plan for tighter margins, long-term viability on your farm in 2017


Hello, northeast Ohio farmers.

I cannot believe that it is November already.

Mother Nature has provided some great colors this fall with the brilliant oranges and reds in the trees. What a great benefit to living in northeast Ohio.

In my Dairy Excel column last month, I wrote about how the experts at Farm Science Review were predicting low commodity prices and farm profitability levels for next year. So, needless to say, planning will be crucial as we head into 2017.

To help producers plan for tighter margins and for the long term viability of their operations, I would like to share information on two workshops which will be held in Jefferson, Ohio.

Take the beautiful drive up to the snow-belt for these two workshops.


The first workshop titled, “Success Score Card — Benchmarking for Profit,” will be held Dec. 1, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Registration and refreshments will begin at 9:30 a.m.

This workshop is designed to help farm families and small business owners develop a success score card for their business.

During the workshop, participants will learn how to rate their financial, leadership, marketing, production, technology and wellness skills and learn how each can drive or stall a business.

Participants will also learn critical financial management tools and techniques, and other management skills necessary to be successful in today’s competitive world.

The featured speaker for this workshop will be Russ Coltman, owner of Coltman Information Management, who has over 30 years of helping agricultural managers with their accounting — helping owners troubleshoot the bottlenecks in their operations.

Russ will share how managers can use the success score card he developed to think more strategic both in the short-term as well as in the long term.

Learn more about business assessments, using financial statements, cost of production calculations, wellness indicators, and how to utilize financial professionals.

The fee to attend this program is $15 per person and is limited to the first 40 registrants; Registration is requested by Nov. 23. This fee includes lunch and program materials.

Succession planning

The second workshop titled, “Planning for the Future of Your Farm,” will be held Jan. 18, 2017, from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

This workshop is designed to help farm families develop a succession plan for their farm business. Attend and learn ways to successfully transfer management skills and the farm’s business assets from one generation to the next.

Learn how to have the crucial conversations about the future of your farm. This workshop will challenge farm families to actively plan for the future of the farm business.

Farm families are encouraged to bring members from each generation to the workshop. The featured speakers for this event will include Robert Moore, attorney with Wright and Moore Law Company, and David Marrison, Extension Educator for Ashtabula County.

The fee for this workshop is $20 per person with a registration deadline of Jan. 11. Class is limited to the first 40 registrants and fee includes lunch and program materials.


Both workshops will be held at the Ashtabula County Extension office, 39 Wall St., Jefferson. More information about each workshop can be found at or by calling Ashtabula County Extension at 440-576-9008.

To close today’s column, I would like to share a quote from Malcolm Forbes who stated, “Thinking well to be wise: planning well, wiser: doing well wisest and best of all.”

Have a good and safe day.


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