Some people think that the only busy times of the year are planting and harvest and the rest of the year farmers spend their glorious amounts of free time vacationing or tinkering with antique tractors. This may be true for some, but not the majority. Today is the second post in my one-year series which will give you an idea of a farmer’s workload throughout the year. Keep in mind that all farms operate differently and I am just providing one example of a year in the life of a grain farmer. There are several factors that contribute to the seasonality of the farm such as size and scale of the operation, crops grown, location, livestock, management style and general upbringing or personal work ethic! I hope this provides some insight to what versatile businessman farmers are.
Start at the beginning!
By now, the farmer has probably had his annual tax meeting with his accountant or at least gathered all his bookwork and receipts together in preparation for the March 1st tax deadline. February is the time to “settle up” with Uncle Sam!
Grain may still be being hauled from a farmer’s on-site storage bins to the local elevator – Especially if there’s a lot to unload and little time to do it. Pretty soon roads may be posted with weight limits limiting the amount of grain the farmer can haul in one trip due to the spring thaw.
Planning ahead for next year’s crop
The majority of the big decisions have been made in regards to next year’s THIS YEAR’S crop, but it’s a good idea to finalize those seed, chemical, and fertilizer purchases. The agronomical decisions a farmer makes now will affect decisions he will make later this year – – and possibly even next year’s crop!
This is also a good time of year to review crop insurance elections and update coverage, if necessary. Farmers elect to take crop insurance for the same reason you have car insurance: it’s meant to provide financial protection from catastrophic disasters. There are numerous levels and coverage options to choose from and can require a great deal of consideration in order to make an informed decision.
While things are still slow around the farm, it’s good to get to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offices to file any governmental paperwork that needs to get done. The FSA provides a variety of programs to assist agricultural producers. Some of these include commodity and price support, conservation and disaster assistance programs in addition to farm loan programs. Related to the FSA, the NRCS provides financial and technical assistance for voluntary conservation efforts.
Household and farm odd-jobs / repairs
There’s still time to get those nagging household and farm odd-jobs completed before the impending “hurry-up-and-wait” of Spring. Better get them done because once March rolls around, the weather dictates your schedule.