Farm and Dairy’s week in review: 1/31

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Week in Review 1.31

Here are this week’s top stories from Farm and Dairy:

1. Good recordkeeping benefits small farms

With a little extra effort and organization, you can manage your farm’s finances at tax time efficiently. Three areas that owners of small farms should pay attention to in particular are records for business, livestock and produce.

Keeping solid records will make finding credit and capital to grow your operation easier. You’ll need several years of records in order to apply for Farm Service Agency loans, and looking back through past records will help you plan for the future.

2. Tax filing on the farm: Tips for 2015

Farm tax filers, take note: there are several changes to the tax code that apply to how you file income taxes this year.

Section 179 of the tax code was extended, so farmers and other small business owners may be able to write off capital purchases up to $500,000. They can also take advantage of a 50 percent depreciation deduction to equipment and buildings. There are also changes to how farmers file for employees, healthcare and supplies. Overall, keeping up-to-date records will aid you when it comes time to file.

3. Tractor square dancers create unique Star at Pa. Farm Show (video)

At the Pa. Farm Show Jan. 16, spectators watched as The Middle Creek Tractor Swingers and the Roof Garden Tractor Buddies took to the dirt for square dancing exhibitions. When the two clubs joined up, Farm and Dairy caught the show on video.

4. Cattlemen: Beef up basic management practices

There’s no indication of how long cattle prices will remain high, so producers need to assess their operations in order to benefit for as long as possible. U.S. beef herd numbers are down, but producers need to practice proven management strategies in order to keep healthy herds.

When prices are high, it’s easier to compensate for mistakes, but producers need to be prepared if things change.

5. Meigs County men plead guilty to crop insurance fraud

After more than two years of investigations, five men from Meigs County were charged with crop insurance fraud in May 2014. They entered guilty pleas for “conspiracy to defraud the United States” Jan. 16 and await sentencing.

Christopher T. Wolfe of Racine, Ohio, recruited co-conspirators to enroll in the federal Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for crops that weren’t planted. The men filed for payments, kept a portion of them and then gave the rest of the money to Wolfe. The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program is designed to aid farmers who suffer crop difficulties and losses due to natural disasters.

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