Greene County Farm Bureau is currently working to make membership available to more farmers and people involved in agriculture. Ohio Farm Bureau is the largest farm organization in Ohio and works with farmers to develop policy to improve agriculture in such areas as CAUV (Current Agriculture Use Value) and water quality.
More information and membership materials can be found at www.ofbf.org/counties/greene/ or call: 800-443-6830. You can also contact me, Jerry Mahan at 937-372-5711, board president Doug Shannon at 937-346-7690, Mike Hartman at 937-675-6298 or Deanna Reed at 937-620-5552 for membership materials. Membership is $85/year for a family membership. Members have saved this much and more just in changes to CAUV.
The use of pesticides in Ohio has been controlled through licensing of applicators and products with the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture for several years. Currently more than 30,000 applicators and 13,000 products are licensed by ODA. Applicators must take a test and participate in pesticide training to obtain and keep their license.
You must have a pesticide license to apply pesticides to property you do not own, lease or rent for agriculture production. Locations which get forgotten sometimes include churches, schools, golf courses or other public buildings and apartment complexes to name a few.
Sometimes a “volunteer” will apply pesticides in these areas to control things like ants, mice etc. without realizing a license is needed to do such work. In lieu of having someone connected with the school etc. to be licensed the organization could hire a professional pest control company to do the work.
To find out more about pesticide licensing log on to the ODA Pesticide website at www.agri.ohio.gov/. Scroll over to “programs” and then to the “Pesticide and Fertilizer” section. You can also call 614-728-6987.
Farm cash rent
The cash rent situation has changed dramatically in recent years. According to Barry Ward, OSU Ext. Economist cash rents in Ohio have gone up 67 percent since 2006.Cash rent generally tracks commodity prices but goes up and down much slower. In some of those years we experienced some of the highest crop prices but now we are on the down side of corn and wheat prices. However 2017 is very different and farmers and landlords will have to reevaluate the current cash rent situation based on today’s crop prices & inputs.
Farmers will have to look at input costs and see where they can be lowered. Is there some machinery that can be sold and is not needed? Can some field work be custom farmed? Seed, fertilizer and chemical prices are projected to be priced flat for some of 2017. Are there other seed input possibilities that can potentially produce a good crop but cost less? Hopefully interest rates will continue to be low. Is flexible cash rent or indexed cash rent agreement a possibility to help share some of the volatility in the markets? Some farmers have been surviving on equity from farming over the past few years plus the depreciation of farm equipment.
From the landlord side real estate taxes have gone up significantly and (CAUV) Current Agriculture Use Value taxes are slow to reflect the changes in commodity prices.
Some of you have indicated the crop budgets developed by OSU Extension do not fit your situation in that the prices for land or other inputs are not realistic for your farm. The OSU Ext. Budgets present a unique opportunity to plug in your cost figures which are the best to use if you have them. Producers may have cost figures impacted by large quantity purchases of inputs or better marketing plans for selling crops or livestock. Landlords may have their real-estate taxes affected by local tax issues, existing buildings added to or removed from the farm.
Cash farm agreements may be adjusted according to special considerations like the farmer agreeing to keep certain areas mowed; controlling certain weeds; keeping lanes cleared of snow as needed or raising crops without decreasing soil fertility based on soil tests done yearly. Other farm agreements frequently include use of farm buildings or grain bins as part of the contract. My point is to urge you to use your own cost figures if you have them in developing a budget. As a producer if you find you do not have them 2017 may be an excellent time to start keeping records.
A good source for information on rental agreements for agricultural assets is the website developed by the North Central Farm Management Extension Committee at www.aglease101.org/ and click on “Lease Publications.” This website has downloadable copies of agreements as well as explanation of the agreements. Another place where you can get crop or livestock budgets you can work with can be found at www.aede.osu.edu/research/osu-farm-management. Also available on this website is information on the May 2016 Cash Rent figures for Ohio and Custom Rates.
My final thought is echoed in many of my conversations with farmers and landlords. Both parties must be proactive in sharing information pertaining to the farm throughout the year not just the time when farm rental agreements are being negotiated. Try to get your agreement in writing as well. With declining revenues the cash rent levels we have reached will ultimately need to be adjusted downward to ensure the agreement is profitable for the farmer. This may take years.
Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources for Greene County. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.