Sharing Can Bring Dividends

Jim Jensen, Field Specialist-Farm Management, Southeast Area

Problem Statement:

Rapidly rising equipment costs and a shortage of available skilled labor in agriculture have been a problem for farm producers for some time but recent increases in grain prices have accelerated the increase in machinery prices and other farm inputs.  Sharing resources in farm operations can reduce costs and increase farm efficiency.  The availability of skilled part time labor to run the increasingly complicated machinery has also risen toward the top of the agricultural problem list.  While sharing resources can provide benefits, it also has implications for taxation, liability, and farm payment eligibility that need to be considered.

Programmatic Response:

A pilot workshop was developed by Extension Staff in Iowa and Missouri to acquaint producers with resource sharing arrangements and to provide tools to help producers evaluate sharing as an option.  The workshops were based on ten case studies that were developed to study producers who had tried some sort of machinery sharing agreement.  A workbook was developed to guide producers through the process.

Impact/Outcome:

The pilot program in the SE Extension area was well attended and received good evaluations.  The publicity surrounding the event has increased the number of people who might consider some type of resource sharing arrangement.  We have had inquiries concerning the possibility of holding more workshops next year and have had numerous requests for information created for the pilot workshops, especially the notebook.  The full extent of the success of this event will take a number of years to see.  It can be measured in part by the number of information and meeting requests we receive and also by the number of agreements that are eventually developed.  We have also received a request to run the program for students at a local community college.

April 16, 2007
120 - Farm and Business Management

Page last updated: May 11, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu