A GUIDE TO YOUR BEST PLANTING SEASON YET
Hello! Planting season is right around the corner. We decided to put together a few articles to help you get the most out of this growing season. We asked experts and thought leaders in the industry to share their knowledge with us – and now, with you! In this publication, you can learn more about crop rotations, #plant15 trends, precision agriculture, along with crop marketing strategies. We also have tips on choosing the right (spray) tips, tax preparation, as well as legal advice for your farm data and strategies to cope with the stress of the upcoming growing season. As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Let’s Get Farming!
Kim Keller and Himanshu Singh, Co-founders, Farm At Hand
Let Us Give You A Hand This Planting Season By: Farm At Hand It’s getting warmer out and that means Spring is almost here. It won’t be long until you’re putting in long hours putting seed in the ground. We are here to help make this your best planting season yet. Plan in advance Planning is important to determine what worked last year and what did not, ensuring you have enough inputs, the right equipment and tools, as well as to plan out your expenses and possible profits. With all the variables in farming out of your control, let’s make sure you’re taking care of the things that you can. Leave weather up to Mother Nature and take rotations, rates and scheduling into your own hands. If you are still using Excel, online spreadsheets or notebooks – this is the time to upgrade. How many times have you lost your notebooks or updates, and lose all information within it? Excel and online spreadsheets are OK when you’re working at your computer, but what about when you’re out in the field? Can you even share it with all your employees and make sure everyone has the most up-to-date information? There’s a better solution. Using Farm At Hand’s Calendar, plan out your seeding and spraying basics, like dates and rates, before you are out in the field and share this information with
your employees. If you need to make a change, everything will be updated instantly. No more costly mistakes due to poor communication! Crop Insurance preparation Crop insurance providers will ask you for your total acres and seeded acres. Instead of gathering all your notebooks, simply request your report from Farm At Hand and we’ll provide them for you. Manage your equipment and maintenance records When there is snow on the ground, planting season seems like a long time away. Then suddenly its go time and you still have maintence left to do on your equipment. Uh oh. Don’t let your equipment be the hold up this spring! Schedule all the necessary maintenance and equipment preparation beforehand, so you know what needs to be done and when. Breakdowns in the field cost both time and money. Have
your equipment details and part numbers on hand to make that call or trip to the dealership a little easier. The faster you’re out of there, the faster you’re up and running in the field again. Collaborate with your family members and employees The downside of notebooks, whiteboards and paper is that you need to track down and call/ text/email your employees to figure out who did what and on which day. Who wants to do that after an 18-hour day in the field? All the back and forth is not efficient and it adds up! That’s the time you could spend getting the best price for your new crop and remaining old crop. Keep everything on a central database and share access to your account using Farm At Hand. You can choose to share access to your field activities, equipment, contract, storage, deliveries and calendar with your family members or hired man. No more chasing people! Learn more at farmathand.com.
Agronomy Q&A With Scott Keller, CCA By: Scott Keller Planting season is right around the corner. We sat down with Scott Keller to pick his brain about what you need to know prior to seeding this year. Q: Tell us about crop rotation. Many farmers are running into tight rotations and as a result residual weed/disease/ insect problems and pesticide resistance. What are some things that farmers can do to minimize these issues? A: Expand your rotation. Two crops isn’t a rotation, you need three minimum. The problem gets compounded further by also having a KISS mentality when it comes to selecting herbicides. I will pick on the popular wheatcanola rotation. Most farmers will also grow the same herbicide tolerant canola system across their farm; they could use both RR and LL systems to limit many weed and disease problems. Then in their wheat they use the same in crop herbicide across the farm. Add a pulse crop or barley to the rotation, even if it’s just 20% of your acres and rotate canola herbicide systems. With a little bit of management you can expand a wheat-canola rotation to wheatRRcanola-peas-wheat-LLcanola. Then use a group 1 grass herbicide on the wheat after peas and use a group 2 grass herbicide on the wheat after LL canola. We are eﬀectively talking about tank cleaning two more times (peas
and RR or LL canola), not a lot of extra time required. Expand your rotation for #plant15 if not now when? When I pencil out potential net returns on my farm malt barley, feed wheat, feed barley and peas all look better than canola. Faba beans are close behind and left in the dust is HRS wheat. I have to think that if wheat prices do not improve some acres have to switch to other crops. Q: Specialty crops are growing in popularity. What are some things farmers need to consider when choosing whether or not to grow a specialty crop? A: Do lots of research and don’t make rash decisions. Try small acres first. Over the years on our farm we have tried peas, winter wheat, fall rye and faba beans. All of them started out as 25 to 90 acres. Twitter is a great place to start asking questions. Securing a market is paramount. You need a place to sell your crop to. End users, brokers and short line rail companies are places to start. Q: Are you seeing any trends emerging for #Plant15? If so, what are they and what are your thoughts on them? A: World Weather has a prediction that most of the Prairie’s will be warmer and drier than normal. Welcome news for some in wet areas, but not good news
for many of us. Pay close attention to proper seeding depth and packing to ensure good emergence. Consider skipping that spring tillage pass to not further dry the soil out. We farm mostly loam to sandy loam soils and we have always felt that given snow melt alone there is enough moisture to get a crop germinated, emerged and into June without additional rain. Quite often a good soaking rain in late May erases all the seeding mistakes we might have made, but we may not get that early rain this year. If your crop does not get oﬀ to a good start it is tough to turn it around later. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Another trend is poor quality seed, poor germination rates and low vigor’s. I would urge farmers to get a vigor test done, especially this year. In the past on our farm we have seen germ and vigor levels roughly the same, which is a sign of good sound seed. This year I have some barley for seed that is 91% germ and 66% vigor. What does this mean? Well if I plant barley late in May when the soil is already warmer than 10C I will likely see good even emergence, providing I don’t seed too deep. On the other hand if I seed in early May into cold soil (3-5C), I may only see 2/3 of the plants emerge at first, more will likely emerge later
Agronomy Q&A With Scott Keller, CCA (continued) once the soil warms up giving me an uneven crop. A warm dry spring may actually benefit poor quality seed. The warmer the soil the quicker the seed can germinate and emerge from the ground. However, we must be diligent in watching our seeding depth and not squander any of our soil moisture with excess tillage. Q: What are some of the things farmers should be on the lookout for this growing season in terms of insects/diseases/weeds? A: As far as insects go in Alberta we have the AB Insect Pest Monitoring Network. There are maps with 2015 forecasts for the various insects that threaten our crops. I believe there is similar information available in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Clubroot in canola is the disease you need to be watching out for. A wake up call went out many years ago and high canola prices kept a lot of growers hitting the snooze button. Crop rotation beyond two years without canola is the only way this disease can be combatted. Clubroot resistant varieties can only assist a longer rotation. Real Agriculture has a very good podcast interview with Stephen Strelkov and Murray Hartman regarding management of clubroot. Weed problems are largely due
to crop rotation problems. We have a lot of group 2 resistant broadleaf weed problems on the Prairie’s. Group 1 resistant wild oats are also a major problem. You need to be proactive about rotating herbicides groups; you can’t wait until you have a wreck on your hands. The catch is the group 1 wild oat herbicides and the group 2 broadleaf herbicides are the cheapest options. Manufacturers have also re-named and bundled many herbicides, not for sake of farmer convenience, but rather to confuse them. Farmer’s need to understand, what herbicide groups they are using on their farm, then they will be able to make better decisions. Q: Agronomists and Agrologists are there to help farmers maximize their returns, what are some of the things farmers should consider when choosing an agronomist/ agrologist to work with? A: A good agronomist will challenge their growers. I’m not referring to opening up the wallet and spending money on every product that looks like it has potential. Rather to challenge them to do things right agronomically, not just sell them something new. There are so many inputs into a crop that are not sold in a box or bag that need to be correctly done to ensure a crop gets a great start. Seeding at the proper depth, seeding at proper rates to get target plant populations, etc.
If the agronomist that you buy your canola seed from has never mentioned TKW and that 5 lbs/ ac isn’t a high enough rate, then you should probably find a new agronomist. I would even look at your fertilizer plan, past and present, as a report card of the quality of the advice you get. Are you still applying the same fertilizer rates you did 5 years ago? Do you soil test and if you don’t does your agronomist urge you to start soil testing? If you do soil test, do you just use one wheat blend and one rate for the whole farm? When you are seeding canola you want the two fertilizer tanks to run out at the same time for maximum acres per fill. Does your agronomist say this is too high of fertilizer rate to safely go with the seed, more needs to go sideband and don’t worry about max acres per fill? In June and July where do you find your agronomist? Are they scouting fields for weeds, disease and insects or are they behind a desk? A good agronomist usually has dirty jeans. Scott Keller is a Certified Crop Advisor who has worked in ag-retail prior to being a full time farmer. Have questions for Scott? Contact him via email firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @skellerfarms.
Top Five Tips And Tricks For #Spray15 By: Tom Wolf #Spray15 is here, but are you ready? Here are the top 5 tips and tricks to give you a productivity edge.
a reduction in speed without a nozzle performance penalty at lower speeds.
1. Choose a spray pressure in the middle of your nozzle’s operating range. All spray nozzles have a range of pressures throughout which the manufacturer believes the spray pattern is acceptable. We’ve come to assume that the correct spray pressure for a nozzle is about 40 psi, largely because of tradition. In fact, 40 psi is merely the mid-point of a traditional nozzle’s pressure range, between 20 and 60 psi.
2. Measure your boom’s pressure drop and add this value to your target operating pressure. All sprayers experience a drop in pressure as the solution moves further away from the pump. This is due to friction caused by a number of factors, including length of tubing, elbows, valves, screens, and other flow obstructions. The pressure transducer that reports pressure to the cab is usually located between the pump and the manifold that divides the spray into the various boom sections. After this point, the spray liquid experiences significant additional flow restrictions, and pressure at the nozzle will usually be lower than the cab reading indicates.
Modern air-induced nozzles have much higher and wider pressure ranges, usually from 30 to 100 psi. The new middle ground is about 70 psi. Why so high? There are two reasons. Air-induced tips perform optimally at higher pressures, and remain lower drift than conventional nozzles even at those pressures. The second reason is travel speed range. As a sprayer changes speed, the spray pressure is automatically adjusted to maintain a constant application volume. Even a small reduction in speed, due to changes in terrain, for example, can put the spray pressure too low for good nozzle operation. A nozzle that is sized for a higher average operating pressure will permit
The nozzle pressure can be measured with a gauge placed on a nozzle body. Simply purchase a gauge and a threaded nozzle cap, combine the two and install in place of a nozzle. Operate the sprayer and read this pressure, comparing it to the pressure in the cab. The diﬀerence between the two is the pressure drop. Do this for your lowest, as well as your highest expected flow rates. Higher flow rates cause greater pressure drops. If you want to spray at 60 psi and your pressure
drop is 10 psi, then the cab pressure should read 70 psi. 3. Install a clean water tank and wash-down nozzle on your sprayer. One of the more time-consuming aspects of a spray operation is cleaning the sprayer when you switch products. The best way to clean a sprayer quickly is to accurately calculate your last tank needs, and spray any remainder (if you’ve done your math, this will be small) out in the field. Depending on the product, overspraying the crop a second time can be an option, simply reduce the application rate to prevent doubling the dose. When the spray tank is empty, introduce clean water from your saddle tank through the wash-down nozzle and continue spraying. The spray mixture will quickly become increasingly dilute and flush through all sprayer parts that contained the product. The clean water tank can contain a cleaning adjuvant such as ammonia or a detergent depending on the properties of the product to be removed. After the sprayer is cleaned, stop and inspect all screens to ensure there are no pockets of residue. 4. Obtain a faster transfer system and strive to load faster. Most sprayer refills can take longer than planned, and before you
know it, 15 or more minutes have passed. That can be a significant portion of the total spray time, resulting in lost productivity. By moving to a 3” transfer pump and plumbing, fills in 5 minutes are possible. Care is required to ensure that products are properly mixed, and dry products may need to be hydrated in advance to prevent screen and nozzle plugging. The fastest operators have a capable person on the tender truck, and have the tender truck move to the sprayer at the field edge, not the other way. Front fill attachments save further time. Think of it like a Nascar pit stop, and watch productivity increase. 5. Say goodbye to boom end valves. Traditional 1” wet boom sections have a “boom end” that is
capped about 4 to 6” beyond the last nozzle body. The boom end is a dead end, and any pesticide mixture that ends up there, as well as any air in the boom, is virtually impossible to remove. Two problems result: the residue can cause contamination issues. The air in a boom acts as a bladder, preventing diaphragm check valves from shutting nozzles oﬀ until enough liquid has left the boom to reduce the bladder pressure.
End Cap automates the process. The cap has a novel design that eliminates the dead reservoir and bleeds air from the boom continuously during normal operation. The result is easier sprayer cleaning and better shutoﬀ responsiveness.
The most common way to remedy this is to install valves at each boom end, flushing the air and contamination out. But this has to be repeated twice for each boom section, which can number anywhere from 5 to 11 per boom. A product called the Hypro Express Nozzle Body
For more information, contact Tom Wolf of Agrimetrix Research & Training at agrimetrix@gmail. com.
Spraying is an important operation, and timing is critical. Small changes in productivity can add up, preventing problems and getting more acres treated each day.
Grain Marketing Tips You Don’t Want To Miss By: Brenda Tjaden Lepp As farmers prepare to hit the fields, a few last-minute marketing decisions may be in order. Once the growing season is underway, it can be tough to keep on top of the markets, especially when the weather starts to play a role. Depending on the short to medium term outlook (between now and harvest), some crops should probably be sold out right away, and some others might be wise to hold, unpriced, in inventories until after seeding. When looking ahead to new-crop, other factors besides the outlook come into play, like profitability and fall cash flow and movement requirements. Either way, here are some of the key indicators that we monitor to make grain marketing decisions in the spring. Ending Stocks By July 31st, the end of the current marketing year, stocks of grain will fall to their lowest levels since the previous harvest. If ending stocks are low, i.e. below average and the previous year, prices can be expected to move higher. On the other hand, if ending stocks have long been forecast to grow tight, and prices have rallied already through the winter, the market may have already done the work of ‘rationing demand.’ Once buyers switch out of a very expensive crop into
cheaper substitutes, the market can back oﬀ until harvest. Inverted Spot-Deferred Prices At this time of year, a wide inverse (where the price for nearby delivery is above the price for fall delivery) presents a strong incentive to buyers to make do with whatever supplies they have, until cheaper harvest supplies come available. An inverse is a signal to the farmer to sell now rather than storing the crop. It’s not 100% always going to be the case, but the message is that growers will be penalized in the form of a lower price for waiting to sell. However, when it comes to selling new-crop, it’s important to realize that an inverse can work in either direction. Tight ending stocks and inverted spot/deferred prices will keep the market sensitive to weather and yield potential throughout the growing season. If there is a problem, new-crop prices tend to rise towards old-crop values to correct the inverse. For this reason there’s sometimes less urgency to forward contract new-crop when there is a steep inverse, at least until the crop is safely planted and yield potential looks decent. Quality Especially in cereals and pulses, when the previous year’s harvest turns out a variable quality profile, marketing becomes trickier. De-
pending on end user tolerances, it makes sense to ship the high, medium and low-quality supplies at diﬀerent times of the year. When the crop is overall poor quality, buyers have to scramble at harvest to secure the right grades to meet previous sales commitments. This creates a sudden surge of demand, which tends to deplete the high-quality supplies very quickly. Later on in the year, the trade shifts to medium-quality, as much as buyers can substitute diﬀerent grades. As a result, quality discounts tend to be worst at harvest in a poor-quality year. Likewise, the premiums for the best-quality cereals and pulses in a low-quality year are highest at harvest. It is always the case that grain marketing decisions work out better when a few basic pieces of information are factored in first. The quality of remaining inventories, bids for spot and deferred delivery, and the forecast for the carryout are all going to have a significant influence on price direction for many crops this year. Brenda is the co-founder and Chief Analyst at FarmLink. She co-founded the company with her husband Mark in 2003. Brenda holds a BSc. and Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics and in her spare time enjoys gardening and many other outdoor activities with her family. You can reach her at email@example.com
What You Need To Know About Precision Agriculture By: Remi Schmaltz Precision Ag is a huge topic that could be hard to navigate. So we sat down with Decisive Farming CEO, Remi Schmaltz to get his thoughts on what you need to know prior to seeding this year. Q: Could you tell us about precision ag and why farmers should be considering it? A: Precision ag is a very broad term; Everything from GPS, sectional control, auto steer, variable rate technology, yield mapping to data management all fall into the scope of precision ag. As technology continues to be adopted in a broad way on the farm, what is deemed to be “precision farming” will evolve as some things just become the norm. I would say GPS and auto steer somewhat fall into that category today. The core benefits of precision ag for a farmer include increasing profits, reducing risk, simplifying farm management, increasing eﬃciencies, and farming in a way that is better for the environment. Q: What precision ag tools or equipment would you recommend to your farmers, and why? A: For seeding equipment I really like what Seed Master has to oﬀer with their sectional control and ultra-pro metering system. They have the most reliable sectional controls in the market and their ultra-pro is the most accurate metering system. Both are great examples of how precision
ag can save farmers big dollars in the field! Q: How important are remote sensors? What kind of role do you think sensors will play in the future of Agriculture? A: Remote sensors include everything from weather stations, yield monitors, grain storage temperature sensors, satellite imagery, nutrient/moisture sensors in the soil to diﬀerent cameras on a drone. As the cost of sensors comes down, and they become more accurate and have better connectivity, sensors will play an even more important role on the farm. The key will be integration of sensor data with other farm data to make it into information that a farmer can use to make a decision. Q: Drones seem to be the talk of the town right now. Where do you think drones fit into the future of Ag and are they a viable option for farmers? A: Yes, they sure are fun toys. They have the potential to be a very powerful tool on the farm but today they lack practicality. They can provide more precise imagery then satellites, but at what cost and purpose? I have had many discussions with UAV companies that are asking me what they should do with the data from their drones – shouldn’t they know? Even if we can get over the cost hurdle (more expensive than satellite imagery) and the logistics limita-
tions (someone having to drive to the field to fly it), what is the purpose for their very highresolution imagery? Most seeding equipment that is used on the farm today is over 60ft wide and sprayers are about 100ft wide. Even with the sectional control that is used on the farm today, the resolution from a drone is too high and does not align. It won’t be until technology like Clean Seed Capitals CX-6 Smart Seeder is adopted in the market, and is applying fertilizer and seed in 1-foot increments that such imagery oﬀers true value. For me drones are at the very very front of the adoption life cycle. Q: Are you seeing any trends emerging for #Plant15 in the precision ag space? If so, what are they? A: Yes, even with growers experiencing tighter margins on the farm compared to the past 5 years. Farmers are continuing to adopt variable rate technology and data management services to make sure they are being as eﬃcient as possible with the resources they have. It is a very exciting time for variable rate technology as it starts to be broadly adopted on the farm. Remi Schmaltz is a co-founder, director and the CEO at Decisive Farming. The Schmaltz family has 4th generations of ag business knowledge. Remi holds a Management degree with a major in Marketing from the University of Lethbridge. For more info visit www.decisivefarming.com.
Coping With Farm Stress By: Gina Kempton-Doane #Plant15 is about to get underway and with that the stress of the growing season starts. We asked Gina Kempton-Doane, a Registered Psychologist, for strategies to cope with stress. 1. Why is it important to think about stress and what are some of the benefits to managing stress effectively? Good stress management can make or break a farming operation. Farming in 2015 is extremely challenging. Farmers are required to have expertise in many diﬀerent areas including marketing, agronomy, finance, technology, human resources, workplace health and safety and environmental sustainability. The intellectual demands of this occupation are impressive. Furthermore, farmers are often operating multi-million dollar businesses in extremely volatile markets where there is little control over the many factors that impact the outcome of a crop. Ignoring symptoms of unhealthy stress levels can quickly impact the health of the farmer, the farming business, and the farm family. We cannot eliminate stress, but it can be balanced with healthy habits that keep our minds and bodies operating well. When a farmer manages stress well it will result in better decision making (crucial during planting and harvesting), less downtime due to illness, happier relationships and better crops.
2. What are some realistic things farmers can do to cope with stress during planting? Exercise not only helps us reduce stress levels, but also can improve brain functioning and energy levels. A small time investment here can greatly improve your productivity and eﬃciency throughout the day. If you can’t find a larger chunk of time to devote to exercise, small increments of 10 minutes spent being active can make a diﬀerence. For example, a quick walk across the yard instead of driving or manually moving bags of seed instead of using machinery can sometimes do the trick. Getting enough sleep is essential! All too often I hear farmers talk about how little sleep they get, and sometimes they wear that as a badge of honor. But being sleep deprived is a recipe for disaster; physically, mentally and especially in terms of safety. The risk of preventable accidents on the farm goes up dramatically when you lose even a couple hours of sleep. Last, but not least, remember to prioritize some time with family. It can feel next to impossible to shut down the drill or planter in order to share a meal with your family or tuck your kids into bed at night. However, the investment is more than worth it and will improve your quality of life and your farming operation.
3. What are some early signs of excessive stress levels that we can be on the lookout for within ourselves and others? It’s usually very diﬃcult to recognize signs of stress in ourselves, and often family or friends are the ones who notice sooner. Increased irritability, conflict with partners, having less patience with children, spending more time alone, making “snap” decisions on marketing or agronomics, or feeling as though other farmers are somehow doing better or are more ready for planting can be red flags. Many farmers use social media, and report feelings of inadequacy after seeing the progress other farmers are making (keep in mind, most of us don’t post our mistakes and failures on social media, usually we are all in the same boat!). Having persistent worries about things like weather cooperating or equipment breaking down that feel like a tape playing over and over in one’s mind can be a sign of excessive stress. Having low energy or finding it diﬃcult to motivate yourself to work or be social can be worrisome. An increase in the frequency of smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol, coﬀee or energy drinks warrants concern. Also, physical symptoms like muscle tension, body aches and pains, frequent headaches, stomach problems, insomnia or low sex drive can often be stress related.
Coping With Farm Stress (continued)
4. What are some ways farmers can prepare and cope with the stress they are feeling throughout the year? Time spent outside farm pursuits can really pay oﬀ when it comes to staying healthy. Having a strong and happy relationship with one’s partner or spouse is key to being healthy through stressful times. Having at least 2 or 3 close friends that you can count on is very important. A regular exercise routine in essential, as is healthy nutrition and good sleep. Also, avoid comparing yourself and your farm to others. We often see the positive in others farms, but fail to understand their challenges and struggles. 5. Resources? Where can farmers and farm families go for help if stress is getting unmanageable? There are two places to start
when dealing with unhealthy stress levels. One is at home, and the other is your family doctor. Talking to a friend, family member or another farmer about your problems is one of the most important aspects of dealing with stress well. Always be sure to discuss your stress with your family doctor. Many signs of stress can be physical and your doctor will need to rule out any medical conditions that may be contributing. Also, your doctor will have information about the best local resources available and can help you connect with these. Speaking with a qualified counsellor or psychologist is proven to have positive impacts. Also, most areas have farm stress lines and online resources that you can utilize. I have listed some below, but this is not an exhaustive list.
Just remember, excessive stress is usually not diﬃcult to deal with when caught early, but it does take some time and help from others. Unfortunately, the result of ignoring these symptoms can be costly to your health, your farm and your family. Gina Kempton-Doane is a Registered Psychologist in Saskatchewan with an academic and practical background in Agriculture. She provides counselling, consultation and coaching to rural clients and the agriculture industry in her private practice. Gina and her husband Brian operate Headland Farm Solutions in Grenfell SK and together with Brian’s parents run an 8000 acre grain farm east of Kelso SK. In her spare time, Gina can be found chasing after their three young children.
RESOURCES AVAILABLE: Farm Stress Line Toll Free 1-800-667-4442 24 hours per day, seven days a week Manitoba Farm & Rural Support Services Toll-Free 1-866-367-3276 Monday – Friday from 10am to 9pm http://www.ruralsupport.ca/ Alberta Mental Health Help Line 1-877-303-2642
National Institute of Rural Mental Health http://www.narmh.org/ Agri Wellness.org Contains resources plus a list of stress help lines in the United States. http://www.agriwellness.org
Does Your Lease Address Farm Data? By: Todd Janzen Todd Janzen grew up on a Kansas farm and now works as an attorney in Indianapolis at Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP. He is a frequent author and speaker on legal issues aﬀecting agriculture, including farm data, drones, and other timely topics. He is currently the chair of the American Bar Association’s Agricultural Management Committee. This post originally appeared on JanzenAgLaw.com. I’ve drafted and reviewed dozens of farmland leases over the years, but I yet to see a lease that addresses the issues associated with ownership and transfer of farm data. As farmers embrace new data storage and analytic tools, it’s time to modernize the traditional farm lease to address farm data. This article explains how to address farm data ownership, privacy, and sharing in a farm lease. A landlord and tenant have three basic ways they can address the ownership of data generated on farmland: (a) the person farming the land--the tenant--can own all data generated on the land; (b) the landlord can own all data generated on the land; or (c) the landlord and tenant can share, or co-own any farm data generated. Let’s start with the first of these options since I presume it will be most common. When a tenant owns farm data generated on the field, at least three provisions need to be added to a lease: (1) a definition of “Farm Data”; (2) a provision establishing who owns “Farm Data”; and (3) a provision establishing what happens to “Farm
Data” at the end of the lease. Here is a suggestion of how this might look: 1. Landlord and tenant recognize that tenant’s farming of the leased farmland during the term of the lease will generate agronomic data, including information related to soil, water, seed variety, crop health, crop maturity, disease, nutrients, fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, yield etc., in various digital forms, including files, imagery, records, video, photos, etc. (“Farm Data”). 2. Landlord assigns all rights and interest to Farm Data to tenant and relinquishes landlord’s rights in the same. Tenant is the exclusive owner of all Farm Data generated on the leased farmland during the lease term. Tenant shall have all rights associated with Farm Data ownership, including deletion, transfer, sale, and disclosure rights. 3. At the conclusion of the lease,
tenant shall assign and transfer all Farm Data from the prior crop year to landlord, or at landlord’s election, the subsequent tenant. I envision that the landlord will want to make sure he or she obtains the Farm Data at the end of the lease for the prior crop year, since that will be valuable to the next tenant. I suggested that the tenant provide the prior year’s Farm Data to landlord, but there are many diﬀerent ways this could be addressed. These provisions are merely a suggestion to get farmers thinking about this issue. These provisions may not work for your situation. You should contact your attorney to make sure your lease has the exact provisions you need. Editor’s note: visit JanzenAgLaw. com to read more articles on how to address farm data ownership, privacy and sharing.
4 Important Issues To Address With Your Tax Preparer By: The FBC Team about tax preparers that may have you wondering whether they’re worthwhile. The following should hopefully provide you with some answers.
Tax preparation isn’t easy. One of the greatest modern-day minds, Albert Einstein, once said that there was nothing more complicated than income taxes. Fortunately, there are resources that you can turn to for help. The Canada Revenue Agency, for example, has set up a program called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, which thousands of people with modest means have been able to take advantage of. While these are great to utilize if you’re eligible, it can often be extremely diﬃcult to get an appointment, especially with the tax filing deadline just around the corner. That’s where tax preparers come in. Tax preparers serve as an ideal outlet to utilize because it expands the number of options consumers and businesses have to choose from when they need to have their taxes done and don’t want to be bothered with the filing process. You may have some questions
1. What Is A Tax Preparer? A tax preparer or company is just as its title suggest - they’re an entity that gets your taxes ready so that they’re accurately put together for the Canada Revenue Agency to review. The CRA has some resources that go into further detail regarding qualifications companies have to satisfy to be formally recognized as a tax preparer. Tax preparers have the same experience that most accountants have, if not more. 2. Are Tax Preparers Accountants? This is a question that FBC gets asked quite a bit. FBC professionals are not certified accountants by definition. However, the experience that they have makes them every bit as qualified as those who have the formal CPA designation. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that many tax preparationcompanies don’t use certified accountants, including major firms like H&R Block. FBC provides extensive training to all our tax specialists and encourages ongoing professional development. After an FBC employee has completed our certification they will be proficient in advanced tax planning with regard to most aspects of personal and corporate income
tax and will have participated in over 1,140 hours of classroom training over a four year period. That’s 10% more than a degree program. 3. How Much Do Tax Preparation Services Cost? The service fees associated with tax preparation vary from company to company. Some, for example, bill based on an hourly basis, while others charge a fee based on the specific business transactions. Some may bill you a portion of the refund you get back from the government, assuming that you don’t owe the CRA and are getting money back. Your tax preparer should be easily accessible. 4. When Tax Preparation Services Are Available? Quality tax preparers are open for business throughout the year. Unfortunately, however, there are those preparers who only do it on a seasonal basis, usually in the first quarter of the year with taxes being due at the end of April. FBC is available year-round, so our clients benefit from the advantages anytime. This also ensures that you’ll be protected in the unlikely chance you’re audited after using FBC’s services. All FBC Member’s benefit from a service guarantee that include Audit Protection. For more information on the tax preparer diﬀerence, speak with an FBC tax specialist.
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