The Farm Economy

combine and field

As the seasons change, so comes another harvest nearing an end. After harvest, many farmers will start to compile their farm records, perform year-end tax planning and plan for the upcoming year. The farm economy has seen its share of challenges and farmers continue to search for ways to remain viable after multiple years of declining profitability.

On Thursday, January 18, 2018, Citizens Bank Minnesota is hosting a seminar with nationally known speaker, Dr. Michael Boehlje, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Agricultural Economics and the Center for Food and Agricultural Business at Purdue University. He previously held faculty and administrative positions at Iowa State University, University of Minnesota and Oklahoma State University. Dr. Michael Boehlje has devoted his career to helping farm and agribusiness managers and policymakers understand the pragmatic economic and financial consequences of their decisions.

The fundamental focus of his work has been to integrate concepts of economics, finance and strategy to solve problems of farm and agribusiness managers. A major theme of Dr. Michael Boehlje’s research, writing and lecturing for the past 10 years has been the importance of strategic planning and thinking, and positioning the firm for long term viability and success.

The following are a few of his recommendations he calls “Elements of Best in Class”:

1. Intense Cost Control
-Efficiency/productivity is critical
-Know your cost components per unit sold

2. Margin Management
-Know your costs of production
-Know your margins

3. Execution
-Timely operations
-Details, details, details

4. Buying Right
-Compare supplier offers
-Consider repairing rather than replacing

5. Managing Operating Risk
-Technology performance –pest control, fertility effectiveness/loss, seed selection
-Marketing/pricing of inputs and products
-Government programs and crop insurance participation

6. Debt/Capital Management
-Maintain working capital
-Reduce capital expenditures
-Don’t surprise your lender

7. Simplification/Automation
-Complexity creates confusion/mistakes

8. Do Fewer Things Better
-What is your hedgehog –what do you do better than anyone else?
-Focus and intensify

9. Data Management
-Collect efficiently
-Capture the insights
-Think carefully

Citizens understands the uncertainties of agribusiness and can help you plan your operation throughout the year.

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming seminar featuring Dr. Michael Boehlje! Watch for more information about the seminar coming out soon!

By: Scott Tauer, Vice President – Loan Officer

https://ag.purdue.edu/commercialag/Pages/Faculty-Staff/Boehlje.aspx

“THE FARM ECONOMY AND THE FUTURE OF AG LENDING” by Michael Boehlje
Center for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University and Senior Associate Centrec Consulting. West Lafayette, Indiana, August 7, 2017.

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Citizens Travels One of Europe’s Most Legendary Rivers – The Rhine River

A group of 72 travelers from Citizens Bank Minnesota recently returned from a nine-day cruise on one of Europe’s most legendary rivers – the Rhine. They began their journey in Switzerland and had an overnight stay in beautiful Lucerne before boarding their riverboat for a cruise up the Rhine River. They saw the magnificent sights along the way of Mount Pilatus, the Black Forest, gothic cathedrals, beautiful castles and sailed through the dramatic Rhine Gorge  just to name a few. The group enjoyed a picturesque cruise and was blessed with beautiful fall weather with temperatures above average for the time of year. The countries visited were Switzerland, Germany, France and the Netherlands. Thanks to all the great travelers who made the trip amazing!

Traveler comments:

“It was a spectacular trip, well planned out. Thanks to all of you for a job so well done!” -Mary

“What a great trip!” – JoAnne

If you are interested in traveling with Citizens to Alaska in June 2018 or Australia/New Zealand in February 2019, please contact Jean Geistfeld for more information at 507-276-2406.

Halloween Safety Tips

halloween safety picIt’s almost that time of year when children look forward to trick-or-treating, dressing up in costumes, decorating and obtaining more candy than they can possibly eat. As fun as it is, Halloween is also a deceptively dangerous night, and preparations for a safe and enjoyable celebration should begin long before Halloween night.
SELECTING A COSTUME
• Select a costume that doesn’t risk slips, trips or falls. Costumes should not drag on the ground.
• Wear comfortable shoes for walking. As tempting as it may be to wear shoes themed with the costume – high heels for Cinderella come to mind – they can be unsafe for youngsters to navigate.
• Choose a bright costume that motorists can see.
• Place reflective tape on costumes and trick-or-treat bags for increased visibility.
• Wear costumes with flame resistant fabrics (such as nylon and polyester) or look in the label for the notation, Flame Resistant. Flame resistant fabrics resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
• Avoid outfits with big, billowy sleeves and flimsy materials that could contact candles.
• Test any makeup on the skin beforehand, and don’t use it if there is an allergic reaction.
• Beware of accessories that could injure a child. Choose soft swords, for example, and avoid items with sharp edges.
• Be careful when selecting masks, scarves and decorations that nothing obstructs a child’s vision.
PUMPKIN CARVING
• No matter how much they plead, don’t let small children handle knives and carve pumpkins. Instead, have them draw their design with markers and let an adult do the carving.
• To avoid the possibility of a fire, use a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you cannot avoid using a candle, a small votive candle with a holder is safest.
HOME SAFETY AND DECORATIONS
• Outside your home, use flameless candles or keep burning candles and jack-o’-lanterns away from landings and doorsteps, where trick-or-treaters’ costumes could brush against the flame.
• Keep your home safe for visiting trick-or-treaters by removing from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as leaves, garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
• When indoors, keep candles and jack-o’-lanterns away from curtains, other decorations and other items that could ignite. Do not leave burning candles unattended.
• Whether indoors or outside, use only decorative light strands that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections. When in doubt – discard.
• Don’t overload extension cords.
• Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on, scratch or bite a trick-or-treater. It may be best to shut your pet away from the commotion; some animals find Halloween especially spooky.
TRICK-OR-TREATING
• An adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
• Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
• Make sure cell phone batteries are fully charged. If older children are trick-or-treating by themselves or in groups, review with them the geographic boundaries where they may go.
• Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. Walk facing traffic. Avoid darting from house to house in the middle of the street – cars aren’t expecting you to be in the middle of the street.
• Notify law enforcement authorities immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
Happy trick-or-treating, and be safe!

Article courtesy of: Cincinnati Insurance Company

Citizens Delivers Random Acts of Kindness to 425 People

September 18-22, 2017 was Minnesota Bankers Community Impact Week, in which Citizens Bank Minnesota was a proud participant. Across the state, 95 banks and over 250 branches joined forces to serve their local communities. Citizens chose to split its staff of 94 into 13 teams and perform Random Acts of Kindness throughout the communities they serve. Citizens employees were able to impact 11 organizations and over 425 individuals. Some of the acts performed were providing healthy snacks to Davita Dialysis Center in New Ulm, serving hot dogs to the community in Lafayette and bringing a football jersey along with snacks to a local student who was recently hurt while playing football.
Launched by the Minnesota Bankers Association, the Community Impact Week creates an opportunity for banks to highlight the many volunteer opportunities available to help build stronger local communities. Citizens and their employees were proud to be a part of this effort!

Check out our video to see the businesses and individuals that Citizens impacted this year!

Harvest Safety – Part 2 of 2

TRACTOR AND SUNSETAvoid Harvesting Hazards. Know the drill. Knowing how to identify hazards is only the first step. Once you identify them, you have to learn to manage them safely or avoid them altogether. Stop and think about possible hazards while you’re operating the equipment. Be alert. Ask questions. Here are a few serious harvesting hazards to avoid:
• Avoid entanglement. Every combine or baler gets a plugged intake area occasionally. This area is also known as a pull-in point, and it can grab you in an instant. To avoid entanglement:
− Operate the equipment with care and attention.
− Ensure all protective guards and shields are securely in place.
− Clear plugged equipment only after the power is turned off and the key is in your pocket.
− Don’t overestimate your ability to react – entanglement injuries happen very quickly.
− Decrease the incidence of plugged machines through regular maintenance, late-season
weed control, and by operating during optimal conditions.
− In wet field conditions, wait a few hours or an extra day, if possible, to reduce plugging.
− If you must harvest in marginal conditions, expect crops to plug the equipment and allow extra time to unplug it.

• Don’t slip up. Most people recognize the entanglement hazard. Few realize that many more injuries are related to slips and falls around farm machines. During an average workday, you might have to mount and dismount from the combine dozens of times. The top of an average combine is 12 to 16 feet high. The operator’s platform is usually 6 to 8 feet high. Falls from these heights can cause serious injuries. If you are fatigued or careless, the likelihood of a fall dramatically increases.

Then there’s the slip factor. Ladders and platforms are often painted metal. They’re
slippery in normal conditions – treacherous when wet, muddy, icy or coated in crop
residue.

To prevent painful falls:
− Keep platforms free of tools or other objects.
− Clean ladders, steps and platforms regularly.
− Wear well-fitting, comfortable shoes with non slip soles.
− Use the grab bars when mounting or dismounting.
− Find a stable position from which to refuel or perform maintenance.
− Use three points of contact when getting in or out of machinery – one hand/two feet or
two hands/ one foot.
− Don’t underestimate the impact of fatigue, stress, drugs, alcohol, or age on your stability.

The Last Word
Harvest is a productive time. The pressure may be exhilarating, but it also creates serious stress. This can only mean one thing: an increased risk of injury. To prevent injury and reap the benefits of the harvest you’re working so hard at; take responsibility for your own safety. Injuries happen when you take shortcuts in performing routine tasks, work while mentally or physically fatigued, or fail to follow safety guidelines.

Article Courtesy Of: Fairmont Farmers Mutual Insurance Company

Investment and Insurance products:

  • Are Not Insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency
  • Are Not deposits of or guaranteed by a Bank or any Bank Affiliate
  • May lose value

Safety Up! – On Harvest Safety

TRACTOR AND SUNSET
(Part 1 of a 2-Part Post)
Harvest is hectic. Racing daylight and rain clouds can be seriously stressful. Time means money when yields are at risk. As a result, harvest is the peak season for agriculture-related injuries and fatalities.

When you’re in a rush, it’s tempting to bypass simple safety procedures that might slow you down. But taking the extra time can be a lifesaver. So ease up. Take responsibility for your own safety. Get trained for each new task before you get started. Be alert for hazards and figure out how to manage them – remove any unnecessary risks ahead of time, and learn to manage the risks that can’t be removed. Know the job. Know the hazards. Know the drill.

Get the equipment ready. The majority of severe farm tragedies involve machinery. Make sure yours is in good working condition. Be sure pre-season maintenance and repairs are handled several weeks before harvest. Also make sure you are in good condition. You take pride in your ability to work long and hard. You’re happy to burn the midnight oil in pursuit of a goal – in this case, a successful harvest. The reality is that fatigue, drowsiness and illness contribute to field mishaps. To ensure you’ll be around to see the last of the grain go into the bin, get plenty of sleep. Take regular breaks. Wear comfortable, close fitting clothing and sturdy, protective shoes. When you do field work, always let someone know where you are and check in regularly.

Little Person Alert. Keep children safely away from farm machinery, including grain
transportation equipment. Tragedies occur far too easily when children end up in the path of equipment from which the operator’s view is restricted.

Big, Mean Harvesting Machines. Know the hazards. Harvesting equipment is designed to cut, pull and separate things, and it does so very effectively. Unfortunately, it won’t discriminate between you and the crop. Get caught in its clutches and you could be tangled, wrapped, pulled, run over, cut up or worse. Learn about the dangers ahead of time so you can avoid them while you’re in the field. When you’re working, slow down and think about the potential hazards of each new task before you begin.

How Quick are You? At 1000 RPM, a PTO shaft will entangle at four yards per second. An average measured reaction time on an adult male is about .2 seconds. So by the time you react to the pull of the PTO, it has already pulled you or your clothing almost a yard. Guards anyone?

Article Courtesy Of: Fairmont Farmers Mutual Insurance Company

Investment and Insurance products:

  • Are Not Insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency
  • Are Not deposits of or guaranteed by a Bank or any Bank Affiliate
  • May lose value

Watch for Part 2 of this blog to be posted next week!

 

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