Managing Farm Financial Stress

Mr. Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Wayne County, The Ohio State University Extension

Farmers are facing a tough agricultural economy. Grain, livestock, and dairy producers are all coping with prices that result in slim to breakeven profit margins.  For a number of farms, operating in the red is their reality.  Unfortunately, the price outlook for most agricultural commodities does not offer much hope in the near future.  Farming under these financial conditions is causing stress among farm families and within farm operations.  Some farmers are wondering how much longer they can continue to operate their farm, or if they should continue.

Recognizing the level of stress that exists in the farm community, a program entitled “Managing Farm Financial Stress” has been scheduled for Friday, December 16 at Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Avenue on the OARDC campus in Wooster.  The program will provide participants with tools and information that can help them manage through the current financial situation and make sound decisions regarding their farm operation.  Registration begins at 9:30 am. The program begins at 10:00 am and will conclude at 3:15 pm.  There is no charge for this meeting and lunch and refreshments will be provided.  Program and lunch expenses are being covered by sponsorships from Farmers National Bank, WG Dairy, Commodity Blenders, Gerber Feed, and the Wayne-Ashland Dairy Service Unit. 

The program features a general session in the morning with afternoon break-out sessions offering participants their choice of three different tracks.  Morning topics and speakers include:

  • Mental Wellness: Recognizing and managing/coping with the stress of financial hardship; Jim Foley, Director of Community Education and Prevention; Counseling Center of Wayne and Holmes Counties
  • Gathering and Using Farm Financial Information; Dianne Shoemaker, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Dairy Production Economics
  • Dairy Price and Market Outlook; Cam Thraen, OSU (Emeritus) Dairy Market Specialist 

Afternoon breakout tracks feature multiple presentations focusing on Financial Management, Legal Considerations, and Healthy Family, Healthy Farm.  Participants will have the opportunity to attend three presentations/discussions and can mix and match between themes.  Specific presentation topics and presenters include:

  • Calculating your Cost of Production and Using Cost of Production Benchmarks; Dianne Shoemaker, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Dairy Production Economics
  • Working with Your Lender to Re-structure Debt; Lender Panel with representatives from Farmers National Bank, Farm Credit Mid-America, and Wayne Savings Community Bank
  • Exiting the Farm Business, Tax Implications for Exiting the Farm Business, and Moving Ahead with Helpful Business Structures; Robert Moore and Ryan Conklin, Wright and Moore Law Co. LPA
  • Moving Towards Mental Health; Jim Foley, Counseling Center of Wayne and Holmes Counties
  • Moving Forward with a Farm Advisory Team; Mark Thomas, Stark County Dairy Farmer
  • Healthy Family Communication; Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Wayne County

The meeting is open to farmers and anyone working with farmers and farm families.  As mentioned previously, there is no charge to attend, but pre-registration is requested by calling the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722 by Friday, December 9 to ensure enough meals are prepared.