(12/15/23) BATON ROUGE, La. — The Farming for the Future workshop, held at the LSU AgCenter Avoyelles Parish Extension Office on Dec. 8, offered beginning farmers information on risk and financial farm management.
Participating in the workshop were farmers from Avoyelles, Rapides and Grant parishes who represented 20,000 acres in soybean and feed grain production.
Justin Dufour, LSU AgCenter extension agent, said the workshop was developed through feedback from stakeholders who wanted to help the newer generation of farmers.
“We felt offering something like this was important because often times when we talk about sustainability, our minds default to actual production practices, but this particular workshop was about supplying our stakeholders with tools and knowledge to be financially sustainable as well,” Dufour said.
The topics covered during the workshop ranged from interpreting market data, constructing enterprise budgeting, preparing financial analysis, mechanics of crop leases and the implementation of various risk management strategies.
“While every farming operation is different, we chose to conduct a workshop that allowed producers to use their own production data/expectations to evaluate the potential change that crop selection, commodity prices, input usage and field operations may have on their bottom line,” said Michael Deliberto, LSU AgCenter economist, who presented during the workshop.
Deliberto worked with the small group to construct multiple scenarios that considered a change in one or more parameters. He discussed the U.S. Department of Agriculture farm program election along with different crop insurance options. A marketing session introduced farmers to concepts such as futures and options and the strategy behind them and influence of marketing conditions.
“While risk cannot be completely eliminated, it can be mitigated to a degree,” Deliberto said.
Dufour said farmers who started just in the past five years have experienced a range of weather patterns and price fluctuations.
“For a successful operation, it takes strategic planning and, most times, flawless execution, with the most influential factor being something you have absolutely no control over — the weather,” Dufour said.
Tara Smith, executive associate vice president and director of the LSU AgCenter Cooperative Extension Service, gave opening remarks.
“The financial aspects of farming are ingrained in every aspect of production agriculture. Increasing awareness and knowledge of budgets and available resources early on will ideally enhance financial decision making for years to come,” Smith said.
This workshop catered to soybean and feed grain production, but Dufour plans to offer a sugarcane and rice version next year.
LSU AgCenter economist Michael Deliberto presents during the Farming for the Future workshop held Dec. 8 at the LSU AgCenter Avoyelles Parish Extension Office. Photo provided by Justin Dufour.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture