This week I chose an article by someone local and is a Virginia Cooperative Extension dairy agent in Rockingham county. Jeremy Daubert has been a big help getting my family moved into the county dairy 4-H club, the Virginia Dairy Princess Program, and the Dairy Bowl. Essentially, he has been our go to for any questions about how Virginia differs from Pennsylvania when it comes to rules and regulations around showing and being a part of these programs. Being from Pennsylvania himself he’s been there done that.
The article he wrote in the Lancaster Farming, Southern Edition, isn’t about new technology, or the state of the dairy industry but the topic is just as important, retirement and how it’s not only good for individuals but a good business practice! He reminds us that being prepared for “retirement”, the selling of the farm to an heir or another farmer, shouldn’t be decided at the time you decide to retire but something you should think about from the start. Being able to supplement payments from an heir or the income made from selling the farm makes for a better sustainable business as it moves into the future.
IRA’s, saving monthly, or saving at the end of the year instead of making a huge purchase are ways to put money aside for the day you decide it’s time for the next generation or farmer to take over. Making the transition from the life and business of farming to retirement is not an easy one but when it comes to income it can be made easier.
Orig. Article:Preparing your farm business for the future/Lancaster Farming t Vol 62 No 20
by Jeremy Daubert
With Pennsylvania seeing a $3 billion shortfall for the coming year, the Gov. Tom Wolf and State Congress are finding ways to make it work. With agreement to “hold the Line” on income taxes, the Governor has asked lawmakers to cut spending and implement drilling taxes and close loopholes.
What does this mean for Agriculture? Well, one of the ideas proposed by Pennsylvania Governor to save, is to lease-leaseback the Farm Show Complex. He wants to lease the Farm Show Complex to a private entity for 29 years. For an upfront payment of $200 million. The winning entity would then lease the facility back to the state with an annual rental payments based on a negotiated interest rate. This has been compared to getting a home equity loan to help balance the budget.
A highlight to the proposal is that the state Department of Agriculture would see a budget boost of $2.2 million in general operations fund. This is to help with workforce and modernizing its workflow. Other areas received level funding like Penn State’s College of Agriculture Sciences and Cooperative Extension. A win with a budget in a $3 billion deficit.
The one of biggest downfalls that is proposed is the $30 million cut to Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. The cut is about 1/3 of the schools operating budget but doesn’t harm the Animal Health Commission’s funding or the animal health diagnostic lab. PennVet is the state’s only Veterinary school.
There are many concerns about the cut proposed to PennVet but what the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs is seeing is that the core elements of the Ag. Department is being funded. They understand that they need to work together in the challenging times but are also seeing a 25% cut to the departments full budget, taking away funding for about half a dozen programs that are a asset to the agricultural industry.
They are looking at the additional taxes proposed by Gov. Wolf as a way to bring back the funding that continues to be on the chopping block every time the budget comes around. The programs that are back on the chopping block again are Centers for Dairy Excellence, Beef Excellence, and Farm Transitions, Agricultural promotion and the All-American Dairy Show and Keystone International Livestock Exposition. These have always been added back on by the General Assembly so the greatest concern remains to be the PennVet cut.
We will have to wait and see how the budge forms but if you are concerned about what is being proposed please make sure your voice is heard!
To see the whole article, click here
writer: Charlene M. Shupp Espenshade
The Northern Grapes Project took five years starting in 2011 till 2016, in total it involved 11 universities, a county extension association, 23 industry associations, and funded by USDA’s Specialty Crop Research.
The research targeted the cold hardy grapes industry which includes 12 states throughout New England, New York, and the Midwest. The research targeted viticulture. Enology, and marketing. The surveys that took place allowed for a better understanding of how big the industry is and how it has changed.
The prediction at the start of the project said that the industry was estimate to double in the next 5 years for cold hardy wines. This prediction came from the increase in consumers becoming more knowledgeable about the product and regional marketing. After the survey was completed in 2016 this prediction was proven correct.
Wineries have expanded to growing their own grapes, and adding tasting rooms with food and other beverages. Acreage for this regional industry has also increased from 5,900 acres to 7, 580.
Expansion and growth are expected to continue to grow with a 75% estimated growth in 5 years. About half of the Vineyards are expected to expand, this is causing some concern for available labor. Most cold hardy grape Vineyards had little labor other than owners, in 2015 58% had paid labor, mostly due to the increase in acreage.
There are some concerns that Vineyards still need to address. The first concern is that a lot of respondents to the surveys didn’t understand the complexity of the questions regarding cultivation, so targeted education in fungicides or insecticides and crop management might be needed to help make sure these Vineyards can reach max yields.
Another concern is the tonnage per acre, 4 tons/acre is average and 5 tons is not out of reach but in the survey 46% in 2012 and 43% in 2016, weren’t reaching that mark. This could cause bankruptcy because in most cases anything under 4 tons/acre is not enough for a profit.
Some concern is also arising out of growers not monitoring soil or vines. The project has closed but thanks to donations the education programming is able to continue. The webinars will continue through May 2017. Read full article here.
You can visit www.northngrapeproject.org for webinars, newsletter research and more.
Wine & Craft Beverage News/Lee Publication
Writer: Tamara Scully
As technology continue to advance, Agriculture finds a way to be included. In the past specialty crop growers didn't have a whole lot of options for weed control, relying on costly and time-consuming manual weed picking. This could be about to change! Manufactures in the U.S and Europe are producing automated wee removal systems that combine machine and intelligent control technologies with precise sprayers and intra-row cultivators.
The new invention would work between rows and when it finds a weed it would remove them using a spot spray or robotic hoeing. The Systems uses size differences, and crop row patterns to help determine crop from weed.
With continued advancements, it looks like specialty crop growers could have another and more efficient way to weed their fields that can also improve the environment. With the more precise us of herbicides that means less effect on ground soil/water and insects.
Read the full article here