Grateful for the crops that have been harvested thus far! Also grateful for so many paying attention to grain quality coming out of the fields! That’s been a large part of the past 10 days for me…obtaining grain samples and pictures to answer grain quality questions from quite an area. So I did a quick literature review to better understand the conditions when various ear rot fungi grow and also put together a blog post to hopefully help all of us better diagnose what we’re seeing in grain samples-whether corn or soybean. You can find it at: https://jenreesources.com/2018/10/08/grain-observations/.
Fungal growth in storage is based on moisture, humidity, and temperature. I’ve heard various numbers being used for grain storage and I’m not a grain storage expert. I can also appreciate it costs you more and takes time with the current weather conditions to dry corn. In general, most Extension publications throughout the U.S. recommend getting grain dried to 15% as quickly as possible and maintaining grain in long-term storage at 13%. Briefly, in looking through the literature, the reason for this advice is because various ear rot fungi can continue to grow on and inside those kernels. There’s over 25 species of ear rot fungi with most of them ceasing growth at 15%. The main exception is Aspergillus which has species that can continue from just below 13 to above 14%. Thankfully we don’t have a problem with Aspergillus this year. We are seeing a lot of Fusarium and some Gibberella (which may increase with this rain). But we’re also seeing some Diplodia and other lesser ear rot fungi such as Penicillium, Cladosporium, and Nigrospora. The thing is that each fungal species has a temperature and moisture range in which they continue to grow. So if one is growing in a kernel, it gives off heat and moisture allowing for changes in temperature, humidity, and moisture within that area which can allow for other fungal species to grow. Fungi grow from one infected kernel to adjacent kernels. Having more ‘fines’, cob pieces, etc. can increase potential for fungal growth in the bin. Insects also give off heat which changes localized dynamics. Because of these reasons, our recommendation is to get grain dried to 15% as quickly as possible to help stop fungal growth we’re experiencing this year, particularly from Fusarium species. We’re not saying you need to get the grain dried to 13% immediately. It’s only a consideration down the road if you’re storing the grain till next summer. The following NebGuide is a great resource: Management of In-Bin Natural Air Grain Drying Systems to Minimize Energy Costs: http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/ec710.pdf. Our grain storage resource page can be found at: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/grain-storage-management.
Also, there’s a new app called “Mycotoxins” and it’s another resource with ear rot pictures and mycotoxin information put out by several Universities produced for both Apple and Android devices.
Farm/Ranch Transition When You Aren’t in Control Nov. 14 York: Passing the farm/ranch on to the next generation is a tough job, especially if the next generation is unsure of what will happen when their parents pass. It is especially for those people, who are wondering what is going on, that a series of farm and ranch transition workshops are planned at Valentine, Ainsworth, O’Neill, Norfolk and York from Oct. 23 to Nov. 14.
The workshops will focus on the needs of the “sandwich generation” between parents who still own land and children who might want to join the operation, on whom farm/ranch transition and transfer often falls. Lack of communication often hinders transitions. The Gen2, or Sandwich Generation, will learn how to communicate with family to understand the transition and practice asking difficult questions.
Legal topics presented at the workshops will center around Gen2 needs, including elements of a good business entity, levels of layers for on-farm heirs control and access, and turning agreements into effective written leases. Joe Hawbaker, estate planning attorney, and Allan Vyhnalek, Nebraska Extension transition specialist, will share stories and experiences to successfully plan on the legal side. Dave Goeller, financial and transition specialist, will cover financial considerations, retirement, and compensation versus contribution.
Many families struggle to split assets fairly between on-ranch and off-ranch heirs, while continuing the ranch as a business. Goeller will discuss the family side and what to consider when dividing assets. Vyhnalek will also cover less-than-ideal situations, negotiating, and looking for other business options. The times are 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at each location. The closest location to this area is November 14 in York at the 4-H Building. Cost is $20 per person. If more than two people are attending per operation, the cost is $15/person. Pre-register at (402) 362-5508 or email@example.com for meal count.
Funding for this project was provided by the North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Award Number 2015-49200-24226.
I would encourage any farmers, spouses, and adult children to consider attending this Farmers and Ranchers Program! Communication and fair transition plans are keys to keeping family ties and the family farm strong. I’ve watched too often where communication doesn’t occur-even most recently with my extended family-and the heartache caused as a result. Work on the communication and transition plan now before it’s too late!
The final Farmers & Ranchers College program for the 2012-13 programming year will be held on March 14, 2013 starting at 6:00 p.m. with a meal and the program to follow. It will be held at Evening with Friends Restaurant in Milligan and will feature Dr. Ron Hanson, Neal E. Harlan Professor of Agribusiness, Ag Economics Dept., UNL. A description of Hanson’s program is provided below.
The entire process for mapping out a succession plan to transfer the eventual ownership of a family farm from one generation (parents) to the next generation (their adult children) can be an overwhelming task for many families. Where does this process even begin? Who makes the final decisions? Can you be fair to everyone involved? What if there is not good communications within the family? How do you keep emotions and personal jealousies from taking over and preventing good decision making? These…
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Last week I attended the Women in Ag Conference in Kearney. It’s always a great conference to see many friends and meet new ones who live and work in agriculture! I also enjoyed teaching a very engaged group of women the second day about crop science investigation. It was fun for me to see them dig into the hands-on activities!
The first session I attended was by Dave Specht from the UNL Ag Economics Dept. He does a great job of relating to the audience and talked about “Woman’s Influence-the Key to Generational Business Transitions”. Dave has a consulting business on the side and as part of that business he meets with families to develop a farm transitional plan based on the Continuity Quotient he developed. The Quotient contains 7 parts and I’ll share some key highlights via questions he raised that stuck out to me. Perhaps they’ll raise more questions for you as well.
1-Business/Estate Planning: The goal of the business/estate plan is to reduce the number of surprises to the farm and family members upon death of the farm owner. Is your plan coordinated with all the advisers in the operation and does it consider the perspectives of all the generations involved in the operation? Is it even documented and has it been communicated to the entire family before the owner passes away?
2-Communication: Are family members able to openly discuss the farm and what it means to them?
3-Leadership Development: No one is ever “ready to take ownership”; it is learned along the way. Opportunities for the next generation to make decisions need to be allowed. Often we hear of exit plans, but is there an “entrance plan”-a strategy to invite the next generation back to the farm?
4-I didn’t catch the name of this point but essentially Dave was saying that if the next generation is always asking his/her parents for a bailout, that it delays the trust that the person can someday operate the farm. How the next generation handles personal finances is important in showing he/she can someday run the operation.
5-Personal Resilience: How does the next generation handle challenges? Does the person retreat and avoid them or does the person look for ways to overcome them and use it as a growing experience? If the person retreats, he/she may not be wired for ownership in the future.
6-Retirement/Investment Planning: When will the older generation plan to retire? How much will the farm support (meaning how many people)? Where will retirement cash flow come from? The goal is to not rely on the next generation to generate your entire retirement income.
7-Key non-family employees: Sometimes the most valuable family business asset goes by a different name! Is the vision for the family farm communicated to these employees? How you talk about employees to next generation and how you talk to next generation about the employees is important in dictating future partnerships; someday the employees and next generation will be partners.
I would recommend checking out Dave’s Web site at http://www.davespecht.com for more information. He provides communication and consultation about farm transition and financial planning. Life is so short! Make sure you have a plan in place that follows the keys Dave provided above!