January 29, 2008

Women in Agriculture Conference offers tips farm management

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 2008 Midwest Women in Agriculture Conference on Feb. 20-21 at the Holiday Inn in Columbus, Ind., will focus on how to make family and farm decisions.

The Women in Agriculture team of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service sponsors the annual conference. The event is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 20, and from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 21.

Entering its seventh consecutive year, the conference is designed to cater to women by addressing the parts of agricultural life that matter most to them: personal, family and farm issues that affect their lives, families and farm businesses.

While at the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to choose one topic during each of the five sessions that best pertains to their interests and farming operations.

One example topic is a flexible lease and if it could be right for an operation. Luc Valentin, assistant professor of agricultural economics, will discuss the topic.

“Flexible cash leases are leases that are going to be adjusting based on the conditions faced by the producer,� Valentin said. “While a regular cash rent is fixed and does not change based on market or yield conditions, a flexible cash rent will adjust itself, based either on price, yield, total revenue, net revenue, or a combination of all of the above.

With high commodity prices and high volatility in the market place, along with the rise of input costs, more people are bound to use flexible leases, Valentin said.

“Producers who will use them and carefully design them to fit their risk preferences and their needs will succeed,� he said. “From a land owner perspective, they can also provide them with higher returns while potentially controlling the low side if crafted properly.�

The benefits of a flexible lease from a tenant perspective is to spread out some of the risk to the landowner. With a regular cash rent, the tenant is taking all of the risks, production risk, price risk, and input cost rise risk. With flexible cash rent some of those risks could be shared with the landowner, Valentin said.

“From a landowner perspective, it means higher expected returns," Valentin said. "It increases risk levels, but in the long run, it should provide the landowner with a larger average return out of the land they own."

Additional topics for the sessions follow:

* Meat Goats - Are they a good option for Indiana?

* Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

* Direct Marketing: Know your customers and their needs

* How to be a successful farmer’s market vendor

* Landscaping 101

* Selling your services through a farm resume

* Produce production through the season

* Keeping the Indiana farm sustainable – Panel

* Stress management for the Beleaguered Women in Ag

* Choosing a business structure fit for your agriculture enterprise

* Organic vs. Natural

* Analyzing your farm finances with FAST tools

* Can your farmer tan kill you?

* Does your farm catch the customer’s eye

* Government Programs - Are you using them wisely?

* Long-term health-care for your operation

* Identity Theft

Participants also will be able to construct a business plan to take back to their own farms to help benefit their operations.

Attendees may participate in either day or both. Those who register early (before Feb. 1) may attend each day for $65 per day, or $75 for both days. After Feb. 1, registration will be $100 per day or $125 for both days.

A registration form is available online at http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/wia. Fore more information or to request a printed copy of the registration form, contact Kelly Easterday at (574) 372-2340, or keasterday@purdue.edu

Writer: Elizabeth Fritz, (765) 494-8402, elfritz@purdue.edu

Sources: Kelly Easterday, (547) 372-2340, keasterday@purdue.edu

Luc Valentin, (765) 494-0468, lvalent@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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