Yes, it's that time of year to change the clocks again. A time to transition to a new season and reflect on the past season's many blessings. While we certainly had plenty of challenges, we were also blessed with one of the most remarkable fall seasons I can recall. Harvest activity progressed at a steady pace and what a spectacular display of fall colors as nature slowly began her retreat to dormancy. As we look forward to a new season on the farm, producers are making plans applying fertilizer, ordering seed and preparing for the winter season that slowly approaches. Just as the weather has distinct seasons that we all prepare for, we often experience these same seasons in life: seasons of new beginnings (spring), seasons of growth (summer), seasons of harvest (fall) and seasons of rest (winter). This year I have had the opportunity to experience these various seasons on each of my farms.
For some it was a season of spring or new beginnings as the farmland asset passed from one generation to another. In these particular cases, we provided a smooth transition for the next generation by addressing any immediate concerns of their new ownership; we helped them become familiar with the farm and its past practices and production history; we provided accurate accounting of previous and future financial obligations of the farm; we assisted with USDA compliance and understanding regulations of the new Farm Bill; and provided general oversight of the farm operations. Other seasons of new beginnings resulted from a long time tenant retiring and the landowner faced with selecting a new operator. We offered guidance to the landowner in prioritizing their goals and objectives with the farm in evaluating all the possible candidates while narrowing down the best choice for their particular farm and situation.
For other farms it was a season of summer or growth as new acquisitions or capital items were purchased or constructed on the farm. This consisted of several projects from constructing new grain storage on the farm, installing new tile to improve drainage, repairing and upgrading existing farm structures; implementing timber stand improvement practices to enhance woodlands; implementing conservation practices on environmentally sensitive land; and removing older obsolete buildings and converting to productive cropland.
Some farms experienced a season of fall or harvest as the farm capitalized on recent improvements or innovations. A farm that was recently pattern tiled certainly reaped a harvest of benefits with improved drainage in a year like 2015. Other farms capitalized on the benefits of conservation tillage and the use of cover crops. Two of my three highest yielding farms I manage this year utilize no-till practices and the use of cover crops. These operators were handpicked to meet the landowner's specific priority of preservation of the farmland asset and improvement in soil health and tilth that certainly enhanced returns this year. Other farms reaped the benefits of negotiating new lease terms or implementing a cash flex lease to provide additional returns based on that particular farm's productivity.
Other farms transitioned to a season of winter or rest and preservation. Clients who have spent a life time seeing their farmland asset grow and mature and are now looking to transition from their management and supervision to a professional that can continue their legacy of farmland ownership to the next generation. This brings a level of comfort in knowing that whatever life events come their way, they have a professional looking after their farm's best interest based on their particular goals and objectives.
So as we change our clocks once again in preparation of a new season, please take the time to reflect on all the seasons of life. Think about how blessed we are to experience each of these seasons in nature throughout the year and in life. While each season offers unique challenges and opportunities they all have a specific purpose. So what season is your farm in? Whether it be a season of new beginnings, a season of growth, a season of harvest or a season of restoration, just remember - Halderman can help!