Getting farm land for free, whether it be purchase or rent, still won’t be profitable if operating and overhead costs are too high. If overall farm operations require high yields and prices to cover your break-even point, then you’re running way too close to the line.
Ask yourself if your 2017 break-even yield is near, or well below, your 5 year production average. If it is near, then there isn’t much wiggle room, is there? Everything needs to go right, including the external factors you cannot control, like weather.
Does your 2017 crop plan include a sensitivity test? What is your sensitivity to a 10% decrease in yield? What is your sensitivity to a 10% decrease is price? How close do either, or both combined, bring you to break-even?
To Plan for Prosperity
To quote my old friend Moe Russell, “What rabbits are you chasing?” Using Moe’s analogy, the rabbits you should be chasing are found in your operations costs: machinery, labor, repairs & maintenance, fuel, etc, and in your overhead costs: interest, carrying costs, etc. These are the internal factors, the factors that you can control. And if these have gotten out of control, even free land won’t be profitable.