Farm And Ranch Country Posts


This is the first part of 2 podcasts where I discuss what is going on in many places in rural America. These were originally #breakfastwithbill periscopes. In certain places, especially states that have the economic climate for growth in rural America, too much growth is a problem.  I am not talking about these areas here.

I am talking about areas that are downsizing.  Much of this came about because one of the regular listeners to #breakfastwithbill sent me lots of information about what is going on with rural hospitals and what is going on in what he called “pass through” counties.  This is just not happening in the Great Plains States but also in some places in the Midwest especially Illinois.


[click play button to listen to farm podcast]

This Podcast is a direct result of my periscopes that I do every day, well 6 days a week, I take Sundays off.  I had a listener that is a member of the smartest audience in Agriculture ask about the future of Ag-Business retail outlets.  After I did that as a morning periscope.  Which is live video on the periscope app which is hooked up with Twitter.  I usually go 10 to 20 minutes every morning around 7:3o a.m. central time.

After I did the periscope another member of the smartest audience in Agriculture sent me a direct message.  He farms but also runs a decent size ag retail business.  He had made several pages of notes listening to my periscope.  You could say he was a partner in this podcast.  Not really a silent partner since lots of what I am going to talk about is what he sent me and what him and I discussed and cussed about.

We talked about small medium and large customers.  Where we think this is all headed.  And, how for both farmers and ag retailers to stay in business.



financing-farmingI received a request/question to talk about financing agriculture and specifically retailer financing.

I also do several other social media platforms besides podcasting and this was asked on my YouTube live #AMAAA (ask me anything about agriculture) that I do on Monday nights at 9 p.m. central time.  I also do a periscope every morning at 7:30  I also talked about it there but this topic has legs and needs more time then either of those venues can afford it.

Agriculture financing and it is just not your local bank anymore.

But, retailer financing is not really new either.  I remember my Father paying the fuel supplier twice a year, once in the spring, once in the fall.  We also used to do business with an International implement dealer and they just had this big ledger book that they did the bills out of.  If they sent you a bill.  When Dad quit, well actually before he quit George (one of the owners) said he noticed I was paying the bill.  I said yes so he just crossed out Dad’s name and wrote mine in.  I would just go over there every now and then and write them a check.  They would enter it in the book and we would move on.  Some times I even had a credit balance.  Not often but they just did business that way.

Retailer financing is somewhat a different ballgame today.  More paperwork and they probably have at least another entity doing the paperwork, if not a whole other business doing their credit.

And, besides local banks there is Farm Credit, government credit through the Farm Service Agency, some states have credit available through economic development programs.  Big regional, national, and international banks.  But, I also get these credit card type offers all the time offering credit to “my business” at “great” introductory rates, etc., etc.

So what does this all mean, or better question does this do anything for farmers and ranchers???

One big problem is credit is so available that one can get themselves in trouble very quickly.

And, if you are not careful in these tight agricultural economic times, you could end up with way too much short term debt.

As long as you manage your debt correctly more choices are probably a good thing.  As long as you manage and structure your debt correctly.

My experience is it is just easier at the local bank and if there is a problem our relationship is already established.




Agriculture is generating a lot of data, always has, always will.  And, it is valuable data.  And, the government since the start of farm programs has collected a lot of data from farmers and ranchers.  Not just the USDA office that is getting data from us.  IRS gets your income every year.  Local government has real estate tax information, who owns it, what type of entity owns it, etc.  What type of car you drive is recorded with titles and registration fees.  “They” know a lot about us already.  Any loans that have collateral are registered.  They can track your cell phone.  Your car records all kinds of performance data.

Big question that gets asked a lot is the government pulling it all together somewhere?  Probably not unless you are really doing something big time stupid.

Agriculture’s BIG DATA, lots of questions.  Everything from who owns it to what is done with it.  Who is getting the financial benefit from the data?  Does it matter anymore?  Somebody wants it they can probably get it.  Computers keep track of and record everything, everything.

Surveys are another thing we farmers get a ton of.  Are you getting compensated for giving all that valuable information away?  Reward cards keep track of what you buy, when you buy it, how much you paid for it, how you paid for it, etc.  If they are giving you something for your data you know they are getting much more in return.  Compiling data is a lucrative business for many companies now.

Data is knowledge, knowledge is power.

Farmnwife has a few views on all this.  Don’t be paranoid about the data that is out there.  It is already out there somewhere, most all of it, or they can come real close to guessing what it is.  But, she is also not giving it away for free.  Either do your homework to get it or, pay me big time for it.

Farmers probably give away too much for free, because we want the information for free.  I don’t do surveys unless you pay me – period.  Somebody is either selling that info or using it for THEIR own benefit.

I touch on what NASS does and the Ag Census. I also mention that precision ag is cheaper on a per acre basis the larger you go rather than being on the small side.   And, how every big outfit is trying to amass as much data as they can.  Because it is in their best interest to do so.  So, the bottom line is who is benefiting and is it the farmers and ranchers?


We started up the irrigation tower this week. I talk about all the things we did to get it running. And what is left to do.