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Meeting with UFARM Land Manager

You’ve made the decision to engage the help of a Land Management Company to aid you in your farm ownership needs. What happens next?

Fortunately, while the decision to turn to a land manager can be initially difficult, it is good to know that the ultimate goal of a land manager coincides with your own goals, with the overarching purpose of making your land as profitable as possible.

Owning a farm or ranch is an investment that comes with a lot of responsibilities, and can become overwhelming to even seasoned owners. This is especially true in the cases of non-farm owners, who may find themselves in the position after inheriting farm or ranch land from their deceased parents.

For the absentee or non-farm owner, spending large amounts of time arranging leases, supervising tenants, and managing farm property is simply not feasible, and many feel out of their depth as they struggle to make all the decisions that need to be made.

It is for these reasons that landowners across the state have turned to United Farm and Ranch Management (UFARM) to help them oversee and implement a management plan for their land for over 80 years.

The experienced land managers at UFARM begin by preparing a detailed inventory of all assets involved, following a thorough check-in process to itemize specific details of your property, including FSA aerial photos, NRCS soil maps, previous crop history, and a full list of buildings and structures on the property.

Then, insurance plans and options are reviewed to determine if the site has adequate coverage and the best rates. Along with insurance, property tax valuations are reviewed and compared with other properties to ensure that assessments are fair.

At this point, your UFARM land manager prepares a report, detailing his recommendations for your land’s best use and outlining ways to meet your ownership and investment goals.

Your land manager also endeavors to identify any potential problems that may exist, and make recommendations for remedying those problems through various improvements.

You may rely on UFARM to:

  • Make recommendations regarding lease options
  • Locate the best qualified operating personnel
  • Negotiate lease agreements
  • Manage and maintain homes, buildings, and other improvements
  • Develop a comprehensive operating plan covering crop or grassland rotations, tillage practices, chemical applications, etc., which are beneficial for the long-term value of the property
  • Supervise crop programs and conservation measures
  • Manage crop and livestock sales
  • Advise and oversee capital improvements
  • Facilitate participation in and compliance with government programs

While there are many more day-to-day tasks than just those listed, UFARM strives to do whatever needs to be done to work on your behalf and to make your operation sustainable and income-producing.

UFARM land managers pride themselves on keeping you up-to-date and informed about any decisions that need to be made, and to make sure those decisions have your approval. We always make sure to keep our level of involvement at your sole discretion.

An area where a land manager can be especially helpful is when arranging tenant leases—especially true when family is involved. In a perfect world, everyone would rely on a handshake agreement. However, it is best business practice to have a written lease prepared by a neutral third party to ensure both parties involved are satisfied and clear on the lease terms. UFARM land managers can prepare a number of different types of leases, and locate the best operator for the job.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is UFARM’s attention to the details that make such dramatic differences in profitability. We strive to keep up-to-date on the latest advances in marketing, science, government programs, technology, and equipment in order to help your farm continually improve.

Through frequent visits to your property, UFARM land managers provide you with timely reports that outline the status of your operation. We also are happy to take care of bills that need to be paid, and carefully review invoices for accuracy beforehand. Transaction journals are sent quarterly, itemizing farm income and expense in a clear, understandable way.

Most importantly, you can trust a UFARM land manager to always keep your goals in mind and your best interests at heart.  We are proud of our 85 year track record, and are eager to serve our clients for many more years to come. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time with your questions or concerns—we are happy to be of service to you.

Key Qualities Land Manager Should HaveA successful farm used to be judged by good yields, well-maintained fields and machinery, and timely planting and harvesting. With the burgeoning land and commodity values that characterized the first decade of the 21st century, coupled with advances in risk management and an often volatile grain market, it is clear that the skills necessary for agriculture success are often the ones that go on behind the scenes. What are the skills that a successful farm manager must possess in 2014 and beyond?

The Purdue University Ag Extension compiled a self-assessment checklist to help farmers and farm managers gauge their efforts on a number of crucial business management fronts. The first area explored deals with production management. Production management is typically described as the hands-on aspect of farm management. Managers who are well-acquainted with the processes of crop production are in a better position to achieve the goal of successful production management: To have a cost of production that is lower than the industry average. With this key aspect in mind, successful farm managers seek to stay on top of the latest technology for their particular operation, know their machinery, and focus on making their farm run efficiently at every stage of production.

The next area is in procurement and selling. Procurement deals with the purchase of needed inputs; selling with the selling and delivery of the product. Smart procurement and selling practices are critical to farm management success, and involve more than simply buying low and selling high. Seeking and getting good marketing advice, where to price products, when and how to deliver, and risks taken to enhance price are all necessary things to take into consideration.

Successful farm managers also need to be mindful of their financial management practices. Financial management involves where funds will be obtained and how they will be used. It is important for farm managers to have a good understanding of the concepts of leverage, interest rates, the rate of return on assets and equity, and the cost of debt and equity capital. Along with this, good financial farm managers also understand and utilize good tax management strategies, as well as the use of insurance to protect against financial losses.

Finally, successful farm managers have a good grasp of the risk management tools available to them. Farming involves a lot of risk; in addition to the price variability of commodities, the farm manager also faces production risks, financial risks, and legal risks as well. To combat them, successful farm managers take advantage of futures price contracts and options, crop insurance, and health, life, and liability insurance. In addition to this, farm managers must have a contingency plan, and be aware of world market trends that are occurring in the industry.

In addition to assessing these skills, it’s also important to re-visit them from time to time, to see if they are being used effectively. If you’re concerned about the proper management of your farm, contact UFARM, and they can help you assess your operation so that you are operating it to its highest potential. UFARM offers a full range of Nebraska land management services, including real estate sales, rural property appraisals, consultations and crop insurance. UFARM has operated in Nebraska since the early 1930’s. Contact us today!

Source consulted:  Boehlje, Michael, Craig Dobbins, and Alan Miller. “Are Your Farm Business Management Skills Ready for the 21st Century?” Purdue University Dept. of Agriculture Economics. Purdue University Ag Extension. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.