Monday, November 30, 2015

Evaluating your Leasing Arrangements

Sandra Wick, Crops Agent
Now that most of the fall crops are out of the field and in the bin or sold at the elevator, tenants and landlords may be wondering about re-examining their farmland leasing arrangements.  Whether your leasing arrangements include cropland, pasture or both, this can be a very challenging component of your farming enterprise.  With the downward trend of the commodity markets, this may be the time to re-negotiate the components of your leasing arrangements, whether it be a crop share or a cash rental arrangement.
It is estimated that approximately 50% of Kansas farmland and pastureland is rented and is a growing prominence with many producers.  Different types of leases have been developed to meet the needs of the modern Kansas farmer and rancher.  It is important that both parties, to a farm or ranch lease, understand the details of their lease agreement and the laws that affect their lease.  Leases can be written or oral, however, a written lease is strongly encouraged as it will help and make sure the rights of all parties involved are clearly defined and understood.
Leases can be annual or multi-year with advantages and disadvantages of both.  Multi-year leasing arrangements will allow the tenant and landlord to plan accordingly especially with costly machinery investments.
A very important principle for all leases is good communication between the landowner and the tenant, during the good years and especially during the bad years.   By keeping both parties informed of changes in market conditions, production practices, or future plans like selling the land or passing it to heirs, the opportunity for conflict is greatly reduced.   Leasing is a business relationship between two parties and if both are satisfied with the outcome of the leasing arrangement, then there is stability.
The Post Rock Extension District is again conducting a leasing arrangements survey in each of our 5 counties including Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Osborne and Smith.  We are expecting the compiled data to be completed approximately the middle of January.  If you would like a copy of the compiled results, either stop by, call or email us at any of the Post Rock Extension District Offices.

K-State Research and Extension has many excellent tools and resources available on the agmanager.info website under the “farm management” tab including land leasing and land values.   The “KSU Lease spreadsheet” tool can be used to help tenants and landlords determine an equitable leasing arrangement.

For more information on “Farmland Leasing Arrangements”, stop by or call any office of the Post Rock Extension District in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.

Make Healthier Holiday Choices

Ashley Goudey, Nutrition, Food Safety & Health Agent

Choosemyplate.gov has developed 10 tips for a heathier holiday.  By making small changes, you can make this holiday season light up with healthier meals and active days.

1.Create Myplate makeovers         
Makeover your favorite holiday dishes.  Use My Recipe on SuperTracker to improve holiday recipes and get healthier results. Go to https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/myrecipe.aspx

2.Enjoy all the food groups at your celebration
Prepare whole-grain crackers with hummus as an appetizer; add unsalted nuts and black beans to a green –leaf salad; use low-fat milk instead of heavy cream in your casseroles. Share healthier options during your holiday meal.

3. Make sure your protein is lean
Turkey; roast beef; fresh ham; beans; and some types of fish, such as cod or flounder, are lean protein choices. When serving meats, trim away any fat before cooking. Go easy on the sauces and gravies-they can be high in saturated fat and sodium.

4. Cheers to good health
Quench your thirst with low-calorie options. Drink water with lemon or lime slices.  Offer seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.

5.Bake healthier
Use recipes with unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Try cutting the amount of sugar listed in the recipes in half.  Use spices to add flavor such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg instead of salt.

6. Tweak the sweet
For dessert, try baked apples with cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar instead of apple pie.  Invite your guests to make their own parfait with colorful sliced fruit and low-fat yogurt.

7.Be the life of the party
Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games.  Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others.

8.Make exercise a part of the fun
Make being active part of your holiday tradition.  Have fun walking and talking with family and friends after a holiday meal.

9.Enjoy leftovers
Create delicious new meals with your leftovers.  Add turkey to soups or salads.  Use extra veggies in omelets, sandwiches, or stews.  The possibilities are endless!

10.Give to others
Spend time providing foods or preparing meals for those who may need a little help.  Give food to a local food bank or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter during the holiday season.

For more helpful advice and other “10 tips” Factsheets, visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips