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Successful Farming December 2018

Successful Farming magazine serves the diverse business, production, and family information needs of families who make farming and ranching their business. Get Successful Farming digital magazine subscription today and learn how to make money, save time, and grow your satisfaction in the farming business. True to its name, Successful Farming magazine is all about success. Every issue is packed with ideas readers can take right to the field, barn, shop, and office to increase their profit and to position their farming business for growth and success in the competitive and global industry of agriculture.

United States
Meredith Corporation
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13 Issues


access_time2 min.
christmas time

Doesn’t it feel like the buildup to Christmas comes earlier and earlier, fast and faster, each year? Then, the actual holiday – the quiet, peaceful, reflective time we cherish – speeds by? Family, faith, and farming. That’s where the meaning is and where the Christmas joy should be. Oh, yes. I am one to talk. I started gathering Christmas gift ideas early in the summer, jotting down ideas for my wife on my smartphone. (It’s a good place to take pictures and save ideas.) I would get a moment of inspiration for a perfect gift for our sons and make a note. I might see a book and think, “Our daughters would love one of these,” and add it to my list. However, you and I may also share a trait: I am…

access_time1 min.

TREES, PLEASE? 5 MILLION CHRISTMAS TREES That's the number produced on Oregon farms each year, the most in the country. TOTAL U.S. FARM OUTPUT GREW 170% FROM 1948 TO 2015. 41% OF U.S. LAND IN THE CONTIGUOUS STATES REVOLVES AROUND LIVESTOCK. 23 MILLION JOBS IN FOOD AND AGRICULTURE 15% of the U.S. workforce includes businesses involved in food agriculture, food manufacturing, food wholesaling, and food retailing. 93.044 MILLION ACRES That's the projected 2019 U.S. corn plantings. Up 4.4% from 2018. 4 STATES WHOSE MOST PROFITABLE INDUSTRY IS MEAT: IOWA, COLORADO, NEBRASKA, & SOUTH DAKOTA. AGRICULTURAL LAND TAKES UP ABOUT A FIFTH OF THE COUNTRY Sources: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA Economic Research Service, U.S. Census Bureau, Informa Economics, U.S. Food and Agriculture Industries Economic Impact Study, 2017 iStockphoto.com…

access_time7 min.
back in the saddle again

When Democrats take control of the House in January, farm policy traditionalist and ethanol supporter Collin Peterson, of western Minnesota, is the odds-on favorite to chair the Agriculture Committee. He would be the first person since the Eisenhower era to chair the committee twice; he spearheaded the 2008 farm bill in his first go-around. The guitar-playing fiscal conservative says he’ll vote to pass the Trump-negotiated successor to NAFTA in the new year. “In agriculture, it’s no huge win. At least we didn’t get hurt,” he says. He is skeptical that U.S. agriculture will benefit much from the trade war, given the impact of retaliatory tariffs on commodity prices. Peterson’s first priority as chairman would be oversight, the dry DC word meaning a gimlet-eye scrutiny of USDA operations. Topping his list for review…

access_time3 min.
doug clemens

Doug Clemens’ great-grandfather was a Pennsylvania hog farmer who expanded into pork packing in a big way. Today, Clemens Food Group has two 10,000-head-a-day hog processing plants, one in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, and a new plant in Coldwater, Michigan. About 300 members of the Clemens family are shareholders in the six-generation company. The core values set forth by John C. Clemens in 1895 – ethics, integrity, and stewardship – remain deeply rooted in the company today. SF: In 2014, you were approached by a group of Michigan hog producers about partnering on a new plant. Why Clemens? DC: They said it was because of our reputation in the industry. In 1998 when the hog market dropped to single digits, we put in a floor. We knew that without producers, we didn’t exist. Our…

access_time6 min.
surviving $0 profit

I met with a business owner the other day who owns one of the three manufacturing plants in the U.S. for a particular product. He shared with me what he told his employees last year: Due to market conditions, one of the three companies was probably going out of business, and he didn’t want that one to be his. So, what do you do when no one in your industry is making money? Whatever it takes to survive. Whenever profit drops to zero for a sustained period in a particular industry, some of the competitors will, unfortunately, go out of business. The low-cost producers with the least leverage can hold out, and the high-cost producers with the most leverage will cease production. The good news is that the businesses left standing…

access_time3 min.
christmas tree to learning opportunity

The holidays are filled with tradition for many families. Meet Tom Dull, a central Indiana farmer who, with his family, has made his own tradition of connecting families and farming during the season. After college, Dull always planned to return to the farm where his family grew corn and soybeans, and raised hogs and cattle. But the 1980s farm economy thwarted his original ideas of expansion. “My wife, Kerry, and I looked at what else we might be able to do and settled on the possibility of growing Christmas trees,” he recalls. In 1985, he and Kerry planted their first 200 trees. After eight summers of shaping and caring for the Scotch pines, the trees were ready to be sold. The couple aimed to sell 100 trees the first year. To their surprise,…