Spring is finally here! Amazing what a couple days of 60 plus degree days and the calendar turning the page to April will do for the mind after another cold winter here in the Corn Belt.
Planting intentions came out at noon on March 31. More acres of soybeans and a few less acres of corn are predicted for the 2015 crop season compared to the 2014 crop year. This is due mostly to the economics of raising a corn crop (negative returns given the lower corn prices at average yields for 2015). Soybean budgets are closer to breakeven with today’s prices at average yields.
The new farm program sign up is coming to a close. Farm managers and tenants have been busy this winter updating yields and acres, then selecting the program option that will best fit the farming operation. The large majority selected the ARC-CO ( Agriculture Risk Coverage – County Average), in simpler language it is a subsidy program based on acreage revenue that pays if the gross revenue of a farm acre falls below a determined level (below breakeven).
Real estate tax bills start showing up the first of April. I received my Wells County bills yesterday and unfortunately they are up 17% over last year’s. We knew the tax bills were going to increase due to higher assessed values of farmland, but it is still a hard pill to swallow seeing the higher rates on paper. Unless Indiana legislators move quickly to pass Senate Bill 436 we are facing even higher taxes in 2016. This will be something to watch and call your state representatives about.
Planting season is right around the corner and as always we are optimistic for a good year on the farm. Spring is one of my favorite times of the year; grass in the pasture greening, a new crop coming out of the ground, wild flowers and mushrooms popping up in woods, and in many cases, new life on the farm.
A Blessed Easter season to you and your family, the Lord has risen he has risen indeed!