New Year, New Views

Posted: January 15, 2020

Center for Agriculture professionals provide perspectives of this year in agriculture.

Will 2020 be a better year for agriculture?

What can farmers expect?

What advice do you have pertaining to your area of expertise?

How can you help farmers with their challenges?

Dean Johnson, Soil and Water Conservation District; Randy Panzer, Compeer; Greg Millburg, Farm Bureau; Janeen Vogeler, Farm Service Agency; and Scott Newport and Lee Schramer, Farm Business Farm Management have these responses.

“I don’t think it can get much worse than 2019 as far as the weather goes. With a new year comes optimism, this is an attribute of being a farmer. There is new technology, techniques and information available to make agriculture thrive. Managing and applying these items to your farming system will be key in making 2020 a successful year.

Advice: Preparing the soil and managing for soil health in 2020 will be important to increase crop productivity while improving the environment. There are four basic principles to improving soil health that farmers should try to achieve: keep the soil covered as much as possible, disturb the soil as little as possible, keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil, and diversify as much as possible using crop rotation and cover crops.

There are cost share programs available through state and federal agencies to help producers implement Best Management Practices (BMP’s) on their farms to address natural resource concerns. Stop by our office to find out more.”

Dean Johnson, Executive Director,
DeKalb County Soil & Water Conservation District


“In general I would say, YES, 2020 will be a better year for agriculture. But farmers must be willing to be adaptive to what is happening in their business. Farmers must understand their business and be willing to make adjustments to current conditions. Farmers can expect uncertainty as we are dealing with a global economy that is not stable and is unpredictable.

Advice: Farmers should lock in low, long-term interest rates. Understand cost of production/unit and lower costs when feasible. Start marketing production early and insure production and revenue to manage risk. Sell unproductive assets and improve your working capital position. Also increase nonfarm income if available to cover family living needs and improve overall financial health of your business.

Compeer has knowledgeable staff that understand financial and production risks. Compeer offers long-term fixed interest rates and loan structure to improve cash flow of their farm business as well as crop insurance to insure production and revenue risks.”

Randy Panzer, Financial Officer, Compeer Financial


“Coming off one of the worst years for agriculture, I would predict a better year for area farmers in 2020. Hopefully Mother Nature will provide a more conducive season and farmers will have a more normal production year. The impact of 2019 will be long lasting in agriculture. I think farmers can expect improvement in 2020, but need to remain conservative in their business plan in order to recoup some of last year’s losses.

Advice: Farmers can take advantage of the various programs offered at the Farm Bureau Building that help deal with their daily challenges.

One of Farm Bureau’s biggest strengths is being the “Voice of Agriculture” when it comes to regulation and trade. With the passage of the USMCA by the U.S. House of Representatives, Farm Bureau can work to secure full ratification by the U.S. Senate in early 2020. Farm Bureau will also continue to encourage a complete trade agreement with China. Ratified trade agreements and reduced regulations in agriculture will help provide financial stability for American farmers.”

Greg Millburg, Manager, DeKalb County Farm Bureau


“Farmers are eternally optimistic and always hopeful that the next year will be better than the last. I believe that 2020 will be a better year for agriculture, though it is hard to predict the future. With the 2018 Farm Bill in place, farmers have the opportunity to update their yields and make new program elections to help with their risk management decisions.

Advice: Stay in contact with the FSA office for the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill. There are a lot of important deadlines coming up to be able to participate in the different programs. Use all of the resources available to help make program decisions.

FSA offers a variety of programs that can help farmers with their challenges  – whether it’s enrollment into the Conservation Reserve Program to help them be better stewards of the soil, loans to be able to purchase land or add farm storage, and the Dairy Margin Protection Program to help dairy producers with the price of milk.”

Janeen Vogeler, County Executive Director,
DeKalb/Kane/DuPage Farm Service Agency


“2020 is likely to be a better year than 2019. Weather dependent, grain production activity will return to more normal patterns in 2020. Grain prices are higher than they were a year ago and progress is being made with regard to trade.

Advice: The financial impacts of 2019 varied widely between farms. 2020 will be a critical year for many farming operations. Understanding and managing costs as well as managing production and price risks will play a large role in determining farm earnings this year.

Illinois FBFM offers a variety of financial management related services including accounting, financial statements, financial analysis, strategic tax planning and preparation. We assist farm operations in using their own financial records to make better management decisions.”

Scott Newport & Lee Schramer, Specialists,
Farm Business Farm Management, DeKalb County