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GrowingOn 2014 Meetings to Help Producers Plan and Reduce Risk in 2014

Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica) is hosting multiple GrowingOn® meetings in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa in December and January.  The purpose is to share marketing information, economic influences on production agriculture and risk management strategies for the coming growing season.

Steven Johnson, farm management specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, is the main speaker. He will offer a viewpoint on 2014 planted acres, prices and cost of production. Moreover, Johnson will share strategies and tools for managing risk and making a profit.

“Globally, with larger crops grown in 2013, we’ll likely be seeing much lower crop prices that will result in lower farm incomes in 2014,” said Johnson. “With the exception of fertilizer, lower crop prices and farm incomes will not likely equate to lower input costs, including cash rental rates. Other factors influencing farm operations in 2014 are the U.S. and global economy and government policies.  In 2014, grain producers should spend more time on controlling what they can control and less on what they can’t, like speculating about the likelihood and timing of another government shutdown. It’s time to hone in on supply and demand. Together, the fundamental laws of supply and demand and a variety of strategies and tools will be the best game plan for growing on in 2014.”

According to Johnson, crop insurance is one of the best tools for managing crop price volatility and one of the most important risk management decisions farmers will make. FCSAmerica crop insurance specialists will advise GrowingOn participants about 2014 crop insurance options.

“Somewhere every year, Mother Nature shows us why crop insurance is important,” said Trent Janssen, vice president-insurance for Farm Credit Services of America in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. “This year was no exception. The weather challenges in our four-state area ranged from delayed and prevented planting to stress from dry conditions and, most recently, early snow storms. Last year’s drought was an eye-opener. The importance of crop insurance in insuring against yield losses was emphasized and kept many operations whole. This year, with prices down, crop insurance’s ability to protect against loss of revenue was accentuated. It really is one of the most fundamental tools for farm business risk management. But the right policy is different for each operation.”

According to Janssen, crop insurance decision-making is complex, so farmers should make sure to work with an agent that specializes in crop insurance full-time and is invested in the best possible outcome for them. They should also consider the availability of value-added technology offered by the agent. For example, FCSAmerica offers an online tool that allows their customers to build crop and insurance plans; calculate breakevens, set profit goals and measure results; track progress of cash sales, futures and options; see how marketing plans align with crop insurance coverage and calculate a variety of what-if scenarios. “Federal crop insurance products are the same, but crop insurance agents aren’t,” advises Janssen. “Farmers should look for an agent who specializes in crop insurance full-time, who has up-to-date information, truly understands the business of farming and offers value-added tools and services.”

Pre-registration is required. Specific times, locations and registration details can be found at cropinsurancespecialists.com, by calling the local FCSAmerica office or by calling 1-800-884-FARM.

About Farm Credit Services of America

Farm Credit Services of America is a customer-owned financial cooperative proud to finance the growth of rural America, including the special needs of young and beginning producers. With more than $20 billion in assets and more than $3 billion in members' equity, FCSAmerica is one of the region's leading providers of credit and insurance services to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. Learn more at fcsamerica.com.

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FCSAmerica serves farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. For inquiries outside this geography, use the Farm Credit Association Locator  to contact your local office.