Archive for the ‘ Agriculture ’ Category

Spring Planting

tractor planting

Spring is here, at least by the calendar. As I look outside, we are getting snow and the cold temperatures just don’t seem to want to leave us. We know, however, that it will change and we will be in the fields shortly. This is a very busy time of year as we get our start on planting this year’s crop. We all know that timing can be everything when it comes to optimum conditions.

Now that we have reviewed our crop insurance and have our best plan in place, we work hard to get machinery ready to get to the fields timely and plant in best ground conditions to give the crop its best start possible.

Just a couple reminders on key dates to remember: the earliest planting date for corn is April 11th and soybeans is April 21st. If you decide to plant ahead of these specified dates, you do lose replant benefits on those acres. Once the crop is planted and you certify your acres with FSA, those acres and planting dates need to be submitted for your crop insurance acreage report.

Spring tillage and planting time is always a great time to review future needs in your farming operation. Now is the time to analyze everything from low areas requiring additional tile, to tillage and planting equipment that need updating, enhancing or replacing. We see how, time and again, a good drainage system gives you certain efficiencies that pay rewards. Good planting conditions in the spring, being able to handle the large rainfall at one time and proper drainage at harvest time after a fall rain is key to the larger yields to be obtained. Tillage and planting equipment also have efficiencies that need to be considered. Trips over the field, proper seed bed and plant spacing all have impact on profit dollars. As always, every operation has to work with their lender for what is feasible for your size farming operation, debt load and a pay back analysis needs to be done. As always, we have your best interest in mind as we talk these things through and develop a loan package, if needed.

We look forward to a great 2013 crop year and wish the best for our farmers. Even though it is a busy, fast paced time of year, please remember to get your needed rest and stay safe.

By: Tim Hoscheit, Vice-President

Equal Housing Lender - larger



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

Farm Safety

As we move deep into September and the heart of harvest season, I’m reminded of the great need for FARM SAFETY. 

Having been raised on a large dairy farm in southeastern Minnesota and being called back from time to time to help, I’m well familiar with all the moving parts that are required to operate a successful & safe farming operation. And in speaking of moving parts, I refer not only to machinery, but also to the people it takes to complete a task. 

One of the key factors to a farming success story is personal safety.  Consider these elements as you head out to your harvest workplace.

Be aware of your surroundings:

  • What equipment is operating near you?
  • Who is in your work area?

When working on equipment:

  • Use blocks in front and rear of wheels & tires.
  • Brace and block up headers before climbing under them.

 When working near machinery:

  • Keep rolling shields in place and in working order.
  • Keep a safe distance between you and PTO’s, pulleys, sprockets, chains, and belts.
  • Shut down engines before working on equipment.

When working near livestock:

  • Respect the animals you are working with – they are, after all, animals, and they are larger and stronger than you are.
  • Gating systems, dividers and protective areas are all great tools.  Make it your habit to use them.

One of the most important factors to remember in personal safety is personal REST.  In a dry summer like we have enjoyed this year with few days off for rain or few opportunities for “down” days, it is easy to become physically fatigued.  And fatigue can be your greatest enemy.  REST is key to staying alert.

Get your rest; take reasonable breaks; get out and walk around.  Stay safe to operate another year!

By: Tim Hoscheit, Vice President


Harvest Season is Upon Us

Fall is here and with it brings the start of harvest season.  This year, we again experienced a variety of weather in our trade area, with an early spring that provided the opportunity to plant unseasonably early.  The planting conditions were ideal in early April and then came some rain that caused delays in planting.  However, that early rain was a godsend, as it provided us with much needed moisture.  From spring on, our rains were extremely spotty and as our summer progressed, the dry conditions persisted.  In fact, most of the significant increase in our corn and soybean prices which, depending if you are a producer or user of these commodities, has made raising livestock profitability extremely challenging.

I want to briefly discuss some things to remember with this year’s harvest.  Crop insurance may be a significant source of income and protection for you for your operation this fall.  As you are combining your corn or soybeans, remember to keep accurate load records of the bushels harvested off of each field for reporting purposes.  Bin measurements are also important.  If possible, do not co-mingle grain as it is harvested.  If you must do so, please take the time to mark your bins so that accurate measurements may be taken if a loss is incurred.

When harvesting, if it is apparent that your crop may not meet your guarantees for each unit, please take the time to call your agent and report a probable loss.  If it is necessary to leave test strips, they should typically be four rows wide and the length of the field.  A test strip should be left for every twenty acres in the field.  If the grain being harvested is being directly hauled to town, then scale tickets will provide satisfactory evidence of your production.  Please remember to identify on the scale ticket the farm where the grain was produced.

Please feel free to call us with your questions regarding your crop insurance.  As the harvest season begins, keep accurate records and report bushels harvested once your harvest is completed.  Above all, take time to be safe and not take chances that could jeopardize your safety and that of those around you.

Thank you for your business over these many years and we look forward to continuing to provide service to you in the future.

Bill Brennan, Sr. Vice President


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


Requirements to Transfer Crop Insurance

We all realize how important it is to get the next generation involved in production agriculture. One area in which parents should involve their sons and daughters is crop production in order to prepare them to take over the crop operation at some time in the future. At that time, it would be a great benefit for the new persons to be able to utilize and transfer the yield production history on any of the land that their parents operate. In order to be eligible to transfer the prior history, the new persons must have participated in the operation and in the establishment of the approved yields of the specific acres to be transferred. To meet this requirement, the new persons must have:

  1. Participated in management decisions


  1. Have performed physical activities necessary to produce the crop on that same acreage.

In other words, sons and daughters can only transfer mom and dad’s yield history for specific acres as well as specific years in which they were physically involved with producing the crop and active in assisting with management decisions in producing the crop. So, in order for the next generation to take advantage of the strong production history built up by their parents, it is important for parents to get the kids involved early in the operation and document their involvement.

By: Pat Brennan, Vice President


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

Citizens Bank Minnesota Partners With Farm Service Agency Lending Programs

Citizens Bank Minnesota assists borrowers who utilize Farm Service Agency Lending Programs.  This assistance can range from beginning Farmer Loans to FSA Guaranteed Operating and Real Estate Loans.  Citizens is a Certified Lender with the Farm Service Agency which means that the application process is streamlined with minimal paperwork.  We have several lenders trained to walk you through the process.  A current popular lending partnership that the Bank has with Farm Service Agency is the Beginning Farmer Down payment Loan Program.  This program enables a beginning farmer who has less than 10 years experience to purchase a farm with favorable loan terms.  Terms and conditions of the loan program are as follows:

  1. Loan funds must be used to purchase farm real estate.
  2. Purchaser must have at least 5% cash down.
  3. The Bank will finance 50% of the purchase price with a 1st mortgage on the property with the loan begin repaid over a 30 year period.  Interest rates are at the Bank’s normal rates and terms.
  4. The Farm Service Agency will finance 45% of the purchase price at an interest rate fixed for 20 years.
  5. The borrower must qualify as a beginning farmer, which means that he cannot have operated a farm for more than 10 years and he does not own a farm greater than 30% of the median size farm is in his county.
  6. The beginning farmer may be required to be enrolled in an Adult Farm Management Program.

In addition to the Beginning Farmer Down payment Loan Program, Citizens can also provide Farm Service Agency guaranteed operating and farm ownership loans.  Guaranteed loans cannot exceed $1,119,000.00.  Loan purposes can be for annual operating needs, equipment purchases, real estate purchases or debt refinance.  Our Bank lending officers fully understand the Farm Service Agency loan programs.  We are here to assist you in filling out the necessary Balance Sheets, Cash Flows and Application forms.  Our Certified Lending Status makes the application process much easier than applying directly with the Farm Service Agency.  Citizens will be happy to assist you.

By: Kevin Yager, Vice President

Equal Housing Lender - larger

Minnesota State Rural Finance Authority Lending Programs

Citizens Bank Minnesota is an approved lender to participate with the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority Loan Programs.  The State loan programs are established to help individuals who farm in Minnesota and offers affordable financing at reasonable rates and terms.  The State offers multiple lending programs ranging from buying a farm, building livestock facilities or restructuring existing farm debt.  The State of Minnesota participates with the local lender in providing the credit needs to Minnesota farmers.

The most popular program is the Basic Farm Loan Program which is used to purchase farmland.  The farmer must be a resident of Minnesota.  They must be a full time farmer or intend to become a full time farmer.  The loan applicant’s maximum net worth is $409,000.00.  The local Bank is the primary lender and finances 55% of the first mortgage on the property with the Bank’s normal rates and terms.  45% of the loan will be financed by the Rural Finance Authority up to a maximum of $300,000.00.  The farmer applicant works with the lending officer at our Bank to fill out the application and loan documentation requirements.  All loan payments are remitted to the Bank and the Bank forwards the State’s portion of the payment to St. Paul.  The State requires the borrower to be enrolled in Farm Management Classes and obtain all necessary State and County permits.

The Minnesota Rural Finance Authority also has an Agricultural Improvement Loan Program.  This loan program is for any physical improvement to the farm operation and a first real estate mortgage is required on the entire farm.  The State of Minnesota participates at 45% of the first mortgage to a maximum of $300,000.00.

The Minnesota RFA has a livestock expansion loan program which finances the construction of new efficient livestock facilities.  To be eligible for this program, the farmer applicant cannot have a maximum net worth exceeding $772,000.00.  The State of Minnesota will participate at 45% of the mortgage amount to a maximum of $400,000.00.  The farmer must be a full time farmer and have all necessary feedlot permits.

The Livestock Equipment Pilot Loan Program is to purchase livestock related equipment.  Equipment purchased will be security for the loan.  RFA will participate at 45% of the equipment loan amount up to a maximum of $40,000.00.

The State of Minnesota’s Restructure II Program is to provide restructuring for existing agricultural debt only.  A first real estate mortgage is required.  The RFA participates at 45% of the first mortgage amount to a maximum of $400,000.00.  The maximum net worth of the loan applicant cannot exceed $772,000.00 and the operation must have a positive cash flow.

As you can see, there are a variety of lending programs through the State of Minnesota which are available for our farm customers.  Our experienced Bank lending officers and staff can assist a loan applicant in preparation of the financial statements, cash flows, and application and make the process very easy for you.

By: Kevin Yager, Vice President

Equal Housing Lender - larger

Young Farmers Getting Started

There is no doubt that in the current environment, it takes help “to get started”.  The help can come from different areas and help can be defined in different ways. 

Help from a parent, grandparent, family member or from a friend of the family can give you the start that you need.  This help can be defined in various ways, such as:

1)     Monetary – Cash for a down payment or inputs
2)     Favorable rent terms on land, buildings or equipment
3)     Use of machinery or equipment to plant or harvest crops and care for livestock
4)     Gift of livestock and feed to get your own herd started
5)     Exchange of labor for offsetting any of the above expense items
6)     Utilizing any government programs that are available to beginning farmers
7)     Working with Citizens Bank staff for financial advice, support and future success 

When deciding how to get started, look at what will create a return on your investment (profit), not a draw or straight cost to you.  Ask yourself, “How do I make money if I do this?” An example would be buying a new pickup for $30,000 – $40,000.  This purchase might cost you $750 in monthly payments.  Is there a way to make money with that pickup? 

If you are able to run a piece of ground, hopefully you would have profits at the end of the first year to “leap frog” you into the next crop year; or if you start with some breeding stock, you should have more numbers of livestock one year from today. 

To be a young farmer getting started, you need to take care of your credit, ask yourself the profit question, and with some help, you can be a success story! 

Tim Hoscheit, Vice President

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