Agribusiness SBA Stimulus Package

Alex Tiller - Monday, March 23, 2009

For those of you contemplating starting a new (non-commodity farm) agribusiness venture, 2009 might be your year.   On March 17 President Obama unveiled a multifaceted small business initiative to try and stimulate the small business economy with a major focus on unfreezing small business lending. Reactions to the plan were generally favorable, although I personally am not sure this is enough to turn around our economy.  -Most of you know I believe that much more should be done to assist small business and entrepreneurs in America since small biz is the engine that drives this county and is the largest single employer.

The key elements of the package included reducing fees on SBA 7(a) and 504 loans, the Treasury buying $15 billion of small business loans on the secondary market, and a business stabilization loan program. Giovanni Coratolo, director of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the program a "huge step in the right direction."

It’s good to be reminded that not all our venture financing has to be dictated by the USDA/FSA and FCS.  See what your state SBA can do for you.
The White House and SBA released a number of documents detailing the plan. They can be accessed from the links below:
1.   SBA Statement on Recovery Efforts
2.   White House Fact Sheet
3.   Talking Points
4.   SBA Policy Notice - Up to 90 Percent Guaranty on 7(a) Loans
5.   SBA Policy Notice - Fee Elimination Provisions
6.   FAQ for Small Businesses/Entrepreneurs
7.   Lender Q&A

Agriculture Jobs for Pros

Alex Tiller - Monday, March 23, 2009

Today I would like to share something from our friends over at the Ag Job Network .  In tough economic times with unemployment sky rocketing and rescission in the news, here is a way you can help your fellow farm professionals find work.  -There’s even something it for you.   AgJobNetwork is offering a $250 referral bonus to you for recomending the successful candidate to any of the following positions:


About the Ag Job Network:  AgJobNetwork aims to be the premier job aggregator and networking resource for the dynamic scope of the agriculture industry.  What does this mean?  Their goal is to be a resource for job seekers that are looking to network with other agriculture industry professionals. At the same time, they are a resource that utilizes the most current media to help agriculturally based businesses to promote job opportunities.

When your agriculture or farming organization has an opening - Click Here to Post it!

11 Point Checklist for Planter Maintenance

Alex Tiller - Friday, March 20, 2009

A farmer is only as good as his equipment – and this spring, one of your principal pieces of equipment will no doubt be your trusty planter. Equipment maintenance is one of those “everybody knows” pieces of information, but planters require a fair amount of attention to prevent damage and poor operation thus resulting in poor yields at harvest. Here is a general checklist for maintaining and inspecting your planter, to keep it working smoothly for years to come – remember to check your owner’s manual for the specifics of your model.

  1.   Check all parts and replace any that are worn or damaged
  2.   Replace all rubber seals that have become worn
  3.   Check the alignment of disc openers and coulters – and if disc openers are worn out, replace them
  4.   Repair or replace planter chains or rusty chain links – lubricate the chains that you don’t replace
  5.   Inflate tires to the proper pressure – under or overinflated tires can throw off your seed drop pattern
  6.   Clean your monitoring sensors and clear out the seed tubes
  7.   Check the end of seed tubes to ensure the tube hasn’t become deformed – that can throw off your seed drop
  8.   Look for rust buildup or treatment residue on the finger-pickup back plates
  9.   Inspect backplates for worn spots – resembling dimples – that can cause double seed drops
  10.   Adjust finger tension to manufacturer’s recommended values
  11.   Visually inspect the seed conveyor belt and the belt drive sprocket teeth for wear and to make sure these important components haven’t become brittle

When it comes time to start planting, I also suggest making a test pass, then going back to review the results before you continue to plant the rest of the field.  Measure to test the depth and spacing of each seed while looking for doubles and/or misses. Your tests should sample 25 foot strips, for each row, on flat land, planted at a typical planting speed, and you should do this in random 100 foot intervals.  Take at least 3 samples from your test pass and write down the results. If you find a consistent problem, (i.e. row 3 has more doubles) go back to the check list and try to find the problem.  Remember, in times like these we need to make every dollar count on our inputs. (garbage in = garbage out) Happy planting!

Book For Future Farmers

Alex Tiller - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I wanted to let you all in a bit more on my book project.  In short, I am writing a book for future farmers and people that are considering farming as a career/lifestyle option – young people who play Xbox in between classes on botany and soil management at ag school, farm heirs/potential heirs thinking about whether the family farm is the right career for them, current and former FFA members, and young entrepreneurs (perhaps with a green thumb, or a passion for the environment) looking for an experimental outlet for their business energy. The book will inform the reader about coming global and national trends in the farming world, explore the merits and realities of the farming life, provide an overview of the core business concepts that future farm managers can profit from, and talk about the many ways for farm owners and operators to diversify their business, reduce inherent risk, and secure their operations for the future. The target audience for the book is young (and young at heart) people for whom farming is one possible option, and the book’s purpose is to instill excitement about farming as a career and lifestyle and to provide honest and accurate information supporting the decision to become a farmer. My goal is to have the book be the one volume people have in mind when they hear that a friend  or family member is interested in farming – “oh, then you have to read this book I just finished!”

I hope to have the book completed in the next 3 months.  If you would like to be notified when the book becomes available, please be sure to enter your email address to the right of this article in the “Get Notified” section.  (I promise I won’t sell your email address)