News from Your Federated Agronomists | December 11, 2018
Early Planning Makes Things Easier

The saying goes that “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Wishing for better yields, lower input costs, or higher corn prices doesn’t make it so. But planning helps.

Keith Steiner, Federated’s business relationship specialist, applies that same thinking to crop input financing. “Planning early makes things easier later,” he said. “Just like marketing your grain or cattle early to sell at a price you’re comfortable with, figuring out what price you need to be at for inputs helps the decision-making process become easier,” he added.

It is essential to “know what your break-even price is,” he said, because it makes purchasing your inputs and/or selling grain easier.

Early planning also creates a much longer window for decision-making. There are more options for when to “pull the trigger and purchase your inputs,” Steiner noted.

According to Steiner, there are many different ways to finance a crop, whether it’s through
  • John Deere Financial to lock in a low interest rate on your seed,
  • the Cooperative Finance Association (CFA) to cover inputs purchased from Federated,
  • your local bank to cover all of your expenses across the farm,
  • or a combination of these options.
There is a good solution for every grower’s individual financing needs.

Steiner particularly noted key features of the CFA financing program that is designed exclusively for farmers:
  • low interest rate,
  • due date of March 15, 2020,
  • financing covers all crop inputs purchased from Federated, including fuel and crop dryer propane.

“Sitting down early and coming up with the best plan for you is very important in these tight economic times and everyone at Federated is here to help you stay successful on your farm,” he said.

This winter, as in every off season, Federated Agronomists are ready to sit down and help you work through your plan for next year, to help you make the best decisions for your farm.
Pre-Pay, Pre-Buy for Cost Savings and Peace of Mind

What’s the advantage of pre-buying, one might ask? Once again, the adage applies: A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Pre-buying or pre-paying is all about the plan. “It’s a step that you get taken care of early,” said Craig Gustafson, Federated’s director of agronomy operations. “It you get the planning done early, you can pre-buy your products,” he said.

If you pre-buy the products, they are locked in and ready when needed come spring. Plus, “there are savings involved with pre-buying,” he said, adding that “you can pre-buy year-round, not just in December.

The most common products for pre-buy are the inputs, but “ask us about petroleum pre-buys,” said Gustafson. “We can set growers up on petroleum pre-buy at any time, for Fieldmaster® or Roadmaster® diesel fuel.”

And the best part: Pre-buying is easy – and safe. “Federated is very well established and your money is safe,” he said.

Growers are asked, at the point of pre-buy, to let Federated know when the product will be used. Pre-buys have expiration dates. When the contract expires, the money is still there, but the contract has an end date.

Talk to your Federated Agronomist to get started with pre-buy planning for 2019. Don’t let your goals be reduced to good wishes.
greens and pinecones
Mutual Learning, Shared Loyalty, A Good Year

Federated’s Director of Agronomy Operations Craig Gustafson reflected on the past agronomy season: “2018 started out looking like it was going to be a total disaster,” when snow piled high in mid-April, but, planting was “still pretty much on time . . . and we had pretty good planting, for the most part,” he said.

Overall crop performance throughout Federated’s service areas was above average, and there may have been record highs in some areas. Gustafson noted that “fall brought on challenges in harvesting,” thanks to very wet conditions, but overall, the season ended well.

Looking back on the season, Gustafson said, “We learned from our customers, and at the same time the goal was that both of us were profitable.” It’s a give and take that arises from loyal customers and a committed agronomy team.

“Thanks to our customer base . . . thanks to their loyalty to Federated . . . the customer is really who makes this company,” he said. The agronomy team is “privileged to be able to serve them and fill their needs for their [farming] operations.”

The Federated Agronomists look forward to working with all the growers in the new year. And, Gustafson added, “Merry Christmas!”