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Dr. Kohl Recap

Walking in the misty rain Thursday, it just felt wonderful to get some moisture, even though it became ice! Sharing some things learned from Dr. David Kohl that day. His overall theme was to “Be in the black (profitable) without the government”. Many illustrations he likened to sports in needing to stick to fundamentals such as knowing cost of production, our marketing plan, staying the course with what we can control vs. getting derailed by what we can’t. Media headlines can rapidly change things thus the extra importance to stay the course. Ag is such a global market. With all the politics, he emphasized the need to have a fuel and fertilizer input cost strategy as China will more directly trade with Brazil/Argentina first. And, because of the world dynamics, he emphasized several times to “Never bet your farm or ranch on an authoritarian government”. Another thing that’s kept me thinking was “People who are successful are 5% better in a lot of little areas”.

My colleague, Brandy VanDeWalle, wrote the following in her column, “Recently at a Farmers & Ranchers College program, Dr. David Kohl emphasized the importance of maintaining working capital or cash for businesses and families, among other important business principles. As always, his global knowledge of events and how they impact U.S. agriculture is fascinating.

One of the mega-trends for producers to pay attention to is the increased focus on healthy soil and water. Healthy soil and water quality creates healthy plants, animals, humans, and environment. Likely there will be paid incentives for producers who excel in these areas. Continuing to reassure consumers where and how food is produced, processed, and distributed remains important. It is also crucial to know your cost of production to plan best, average, and worst-case scenarios. Kohl also recommends overestimating capital expenditures by 25%.

His “Rule of 78” caught the attention of a lot of participants. When most people reach 78 years of age, usually health starts to decline unless you practice 8 habits. Those eight habits to have a quality of life included taking care one oneself physically by drinking water, exercising regularly, eating healthy and getting enough sleep.  Mentally, people should have a support network, life purpose, engage in mental activities such as reading or meditating and practice your faith/spiritual life.  He emphasized the importance of allowing oneself 2 hours per day with no technology.

Farmers and ranchers should also manage things that can be controlled and manage around those that cannot be controlled. He reinforced the idea that for a successful operation, you must plan, strategize, execute, and monitor. Examine monthly or at least quarterly financials to ensure you are on track. Those with a written business plan are four times more profitable than those without a plan. Also, the mental health of those with a business plan have two times the mental health as those without a written plan.

Kohl reminded participants of his business IQ exercise that ANY business should undertake. The areas in the business IQ included cost of production knowledge, cost of production by enterprise, goals (business, family, personal), record keeping system, projected cash flow, financial sensitivity analysis, financial ratio/break evens, those who work with an advisory team/lender, those whom have a marketing plan and execute, those whom have a risk management plan and execute, modest lifestyle habits, strong people management plan, transition plan, those whom attend educational seminars, and their attitude.

To determine what your cost of production is, a hands-on training will be held at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds on Thursday, December 15th from 1-3:00 p.m. This program is free, but registration is preferred for planning. Register at Attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptop or tablet to the workshop.”

Nebraska Mesonet are the weather stations located throughout our State with the data shared in our UNL CropWatch site for ET, soil temperature, precipitation, etc. But beyond farmers/ranchers and Extension using it, the data’s also used by National Weather Service, NOAA, Drought Monitor, etc. Please consider reading this article to become more familiar with what the Mesonet is and its importance regarding what shutting down locations means for Nebraska:

JenREES 11/27/22

Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving! With the end of harvest begins winter meeting season. Sharing this week on some upcoming December events that my colleagues are hosting.

Dec. 1: Solar Electric for Farms, Homes and Businesses will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Lancaster Co. Extension Office in Lincoln. It will also be held on Dec. 15 from 6-8 p.m. at the Fairgrounds in Central City. This workshop is for homeowners, farmers, and business owners who are interested in exploring solar PV systems. The workshop will help you decide if solar is right for you by learning about how systems work, safety, the value of electricity, value of incentives, and how to evaluate quotes from installers. Cost is $10. More info and registration at:

Dec. 8: Farmers and Ranchers College will kick off with its traditional program featuring Dr. David Kohl. Registration will start at 12:45 p.m. and the program will start at 1 p.m. at the Opera House in Bruning, Nebraska. The program is titled, “Agriculture Today: New Era of Prosperity or Temporary Opportunity?”. Dr. Kohl is always a popular speaker. Don’t miss out on this engaging session that applies the big picture variables to your business, family and personal life. 

Dec. 9-10: I mentioned this last week, but a reminder, Returning to the Farm workshop will be held Dec. 9-10 at the Holthus Convention Center in York. More information here: .

Dec. 14: The Confronting Cropping Challenges program will help producers make decisions for the 2023 growing season and they can renew their private pesticide applicator license. The program will be offered in five locations across northeast Nebraska in December. The closest location to this area will be held Wed., Dec. 14 at the Butler Co. Event Center in David City from 1-4 p.m. Program topics include tar spot of corn, drift management/boom sprayer calibration, and drought considerations. Attendees can join the first three informational sessions or if you need to renew your private pesticide applicator license in 2023, please attend the whole program. This training will only offer recertification of private pesticide licenses; those needing initial training will need to attend a training course offered in early 2023. The cost for the program is $10 if you are only attending the first three sessions. If you are being recertified for your private pesticide applicators license, the cost will be $60. The additional $50 is the same as you would pay to be recertified at a traditional private pesticide applicator training. Pre-registration online is appreciated but not required.

Dec. 15: In collaboration with the Farmers and Ranchers College, the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability has scheduled a hands-on workshop for Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, in Geneva. This workshop is for ag producers, farm managers, bankers and anyone interested in learning more about utilizing the free online Agricultural Budget Calculator (ABC) for enterprise budgeting. The workshop will run from 1-3 p.m. at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds, 641 N Fifth St., Geneva, Nebraska. 

Dec. 15: Nebraska Soybean Day and Machinery Expo will be held at the fairgrounds in Wahoo from 8:30 a.m. (view exhibits with program beginning at 9:10 a.m.) to 2:15 p.m. Alan Brugler will be the keynote speaking on “Tricks and Tools to Survive Drought, War, Inflation, and Long Tails”. Additional topics include: Farm transition or succession-there is a difference and Soybean stem borer. The Pancake Man will serve lunch. There’s no cost but the Saunders Co. Soybean Association requests each attendee bring 1 or 2 cans of non-perishable food for the food pantry.

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