Farm Business


Right-to-Repair: Equipment is Only Yours Until it Breaks Down

Posted on: April 24th, 2024 by

It’s spring planting season, and every farmer is eager to get into the field as soon as conditions allow. No one wants to watch their neighbors planting acre after acre while they’re stuck in the machine shed with broken equipment. With the increased technological sophistication of farm equipment, however, repairs are no longer as simple […]

Get an Early Start On Future Equipment Needs by Planning Strategic Farm Equipment Purchases

Posted on: March 27th, 2024 by

There’s no need to check your calendar upon reading this to make sure it’s flipped to the right month—it is still just March! While it is more common for financial advisors to check in with their farming clients about potential advantages of new farm equipment purchases and leases in the later months of the year, […]

Landlord’s Liens: Cheap, Easy, but Time-Critical Insurance 

Posted on: February 9th, 2024 by

Iowa, being an agricultural state, has many ag-specific laws on the books, from increased protections for farmers facing foreclosure to laws barring restrictions on agricultural experiences like farm-to-table dining. One important but underused protection for ag industry participants is Iowa’s array of agricultural liens. Today we’ll discuss one of those liens: the landlord’s lien. What’s […]

Swine Market Losses Demand Prudent Planning—Now

Posted on: January 31st, 2024 by

Back in October, we brought you the story of a hog-integrator client who had been suffering tremendous losses since early 2023, their 200,000+ swine business hemorrhaging as much as $1 million per month. It would be nice to be able to say this was an isolated incident or even an isolated year … unfortunately, it […]

County Crop Insurance: Farm-to-Bank Translation

Posted on: November 21st, 2023 by

If you’re an Iowa corn farmer who carries crop insurance, chances are fair you’ll be submitting a claim for at least revenue losses for this year’s production under one or more policies. Even if your crop came through the late-summer extreme drought that enveloped northeastern-eastern Iowa from late August through October with little to no […]

The Limits of FDIC Insurance and Iowa’s Grain Indemnity Fund

Posted on: August 28th, 2023 by ,

Where’s Your Wealth Stored and How Safe Is It? Banks and grain elevators are the pillars of many rural communities. It can seem like they’ve always been there and will always be there. Some grain farmers might have more money in grain at the elevator than they do in the bank. Regardless, the failure of […]

Reminder: It’s Time for Iowa Farmers to Send Farm Lease Termination Notices

Posted on: August 1st, 2023 by ,

Harvest is fast approaching, but before breaking out the combine, review your farm leases so you can decide whether to terminate them before it’s too late. Under Iowa Code § 562.6, a farm lease continues beyond the agreed term for the following crop year on the same terms and conditions as the original lease unless either […]

Personal Guaranties: Know What You’re Signing

Posted on: July 26th, 2023 by

Most of us have had to ask a more financially secure family member to co-sign a loan so we could buy a car, farm tractor, or enter into a lease. If you’ve ever been the co-signer, you know that even though you trust your child or family member to pay it off, there’s always that […]

Defending against preference repayment demands

Posted on: June 16th, 2023 by

Taking a break from the morning’s work, you stop by the mailbox only to find an unfamiliar envelope from some law firm. The letter inside is notification that the XYZ Grain Elevator has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, and as part of this, you might have to turn over to the court a good […]

From Debt to Deliverance: Wade

Posted on: May 16th, 2023 by

Note: This is the final installment of a three-part blog series about ABLS clients and their debt resolution stories. In March and April, we shared the debt restructuring stories of retired and active Iowa farmers Jerry and Deb, and Paul and Linda, respectively. In this blog, meet a third Iowa farmer: Wade. Wade had his […]

Selling a farm: capital idea or capital gains tax?

Posted on: March 2nd, 2023 by

Note: This is the second of a two-part blog series on buying or selling a farm Why do you want to sell your farm? Why do you want to buy a farm? In January, we wrote that before you put your farm on the market or negotiate a farm purchase, you should ask yourself those […]

Unintended Consequences: The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022’s Farm Debt Relief Causes Farmers Massive Tax Headaches

Posted on: February 17th, 2023 by

For a deeper analysis into this topic, see a version of this article written for tax professionals and other interested parties here. On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. Section 22006 of the IRA provided $3.1 billion for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide relief […]

Unintended Consequences: The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022’s Farm Debt Relief Causes Farmers Massive Tax Headaches (Deep Dive)

Posted on: February 17th, 2023 by

On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. Section 22006 of the IRA provided $3.1 billion for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide relief for distressed borrowers under certain Farm Service Agency (FSA) direct and guaranteed loans. On October 18, 2022, USDA provided nearly $800 million […]

Before buying or selling a farm, ask “Why?”

Posted on: January 24th, 2023 by

Note: This is part one of a two-part blog series on buying or selling a farm. For part two, “Selling a farm: capital idea or capital gains tax?” see here. You want to buy or sell a farm. Before you push a “For Sale” sign into the ground or negotiate with the owner, make sure […]

Don’t confuse money in the bank with profitability

Posted on: January 6th, 2023 by

You look at the December bank statement. It shows a checking account larger than a year ago. You’ve had a profitable year, right? Not necessarily. Just because you have money in the bank does not mean you made money. It may seem strange, but profitability and money in the bank are two different things, even […]

Waiting to Act Only Exacerbates Financial Problems

Posted on: December 1st, 2022 by

Farmer spouses who keep the operation’s books might not be spending long hours in the field or barn, but the time they devote to the financials can just as easily make or break the family business. The spouse manager must be proactive should they see expenses outpacing income. Debt can accumulate rapidly and could, if […]

Prices up, but some farmers in financial straits

Posted on: October 26th, 2022 by

Commodity prices are trending higher, yet many farmers are struggling to pay their bills. The reasons are varied but could spell disaster if producers don’t get a handle on their finances. So say Joe Peiffer, founder and shareholder of Ag & Business Legal Strategies, and Keith Starr, the firm’s chief financial strategist, as they discuss […]

Death and Taxes is How We Lose It: The Importance of Succession Planning for American Agriculture

Posted on: February 24th, 2022 by

The hit TV show “Yellowstone” has achieved popularity with agricultural and non-agricultural audiences alike. Along with dramatized glimpses of ranching life, it also provides nuggets of truth with real world application. In a recent episode, while facilitating the sale of a family farm where one sibling couldn’t afford to buy the other out to retain […]

Choice of Business Entity for Farmers

Posted on: February 24th, 2022 by

The choice of business entity for a farm is an important decision that can either protect farm owners and their families from the risks inherent in the farming enterprise or expose them to those risks. Farmers employ various forms of business entity, and the choice varies greatly between types of farms and their sizes. Many […]