Have you Locked in Positive Working Capital Changes

FarmDoc Daily issued a report on how recent crop price increases have improved working capital for the 2016 crop.  The report went through the working capital changes for Central Illinois Lower Productivity Farmland assuming a 50/50 corn/soybean crop mix.  The working capital changes were shown for owned, cash rent and crop share farmers on a per acre basis.

Farmers who owned their ground would see their working capital increase from a negative $16 to a positive $45.  Cash rent would decrease their working deficit by $60 (going from negative $106 to negative $46).  Crop share farmers would see their negative $66 per acre drop to negative $36 (a $30 gain).

However, this is predicated on the price increases from March to June being realized by the farmers.  Corn prices rose from about $3.50 (December futures) to almost $4.50.  Farmers had multiple days to lock in prices between $4.35 and $4.50 (based on futures); however, as we seen, it only took two days to eliminate almost 40 cents of this gain.

This may a year to lock-in singles and not try to hit home runs.  Yes, there may be a weather scare that will force prices higher, but a farmer can continue to use call options to take advantage of that (assuming they want to incur the premium cost).  Your banker will appreciate hitting a single and not striking out especially when it comes to working capital.  Working capital is the oil that keeps a farm running smoothly.  If you run out of this “oil”, it is just like an engine that runs out of oil – You are done.  Don’t let that happen to you.

Paul Neiffer, CPA

CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP



  • Principal
  • CliftonLarsonAllen
  • Yakima, Washington
  • 509-823-2920

Paul Neiffer is a certified public accountant and business advisor specializing in income taxation, accounting services, and succession planning for farmers and agribusiness processors. Paul is a principal with CliftonLarsonAllen in Yakima, Washington, as well as a regular speaker at national conferences and contributor at agweb.com. Raised on a farm in central Washington, he has been immersed in the ag industry his entire life, including the last 30 years professionally. In fact, Paul drives a combine each summer for his cousins and that is what he considers a vacation.

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