By Kieth Raynor
On January 21, 2016 the Farm Financial Standards Council will once again team up with the staff from Farm Futures magazine and host an Ag Finance Boot Camp in St. Louis. If you have not attended one of these in the past, I strongly encourage you to consider going to this one.
I’m a CPA of nearly 20 years and I found the Boot Camp of earlier this year to be a great refresher course! And I can’t imagine how much information was taken home by those who were there who are NOT financial people.
I work in Dunn, which is a sleepy community straight south of Raleigh in east-central North Carolina. (We also have offices in Fayetteville and Sanford.). Dunn straddles the border of Harnett and Sampson Counties and in September 2005, Sampson was ranked first place as the Best Place To Farm in the U.S. by Farm Futures. Agriculture here is mostly row crops with a heavy concentration of swine and poultry. The row crops are predominately tobacco (pronounced ta-bacca for you non-Carolinians!), cotton and sweet potatoes with a few producers who still rely on the corn, wheat and bean rotation. In other words, we’re fairly diverse and not concentrated on just one commodity. And maybe that’s what made attending this year’s Boot Camp so interesting….the information available and the folks who were there were even more diverse! The Boot Camp was a great refresher for me as I am sure it was for so many of the 100+ folks who were there.
We often get lost in our own little agribusiness worlds of and think that everyone else has the same problems and opportunities we have. We also get used to doing the same things year in and year out using the same formulas and routines. I have never been exposed to dairy farming but had a long and interested conversation with a perfect stranger at the Boot Camp about that industry. The subjects covered included many topics I’d not dealt with for many years and there were actually solutions offered for handling client questions and needs right here in Eastern North Carolina.
The audience is a broad mix of accountants, ranchers and farmers, and financial advisors from across the country, literally, and I was both surprised and impressed with how many ‘younger’ producers were in the audience. This is the generation who will carry on the legacy of their fathers and grandfathers to feed the world and they truly want to make sure their generation has a solid understanding of the financial end of their business.
The discussion leaders were the folks who actually write and maintain the Financial Guidelines for Agriculture documents. The relationships that I developed by attending are available after the conference and I know that if I run into a situation I have not been exposed to before, someone I met at this conference will be more than willing to talk me through it. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
The event is not free — it will cost you to get there and attend — but the information is invaluable whether you are new to ag financial recordkeeping or a veteran like me, a CPA who needs the occasional refresher to stay on top of the game.
See you there?
Keith Raynor is a partner with TRP CPAs, a full service accounting firm serving clients in agribusiness, construction, real estate, health care and government contracting. The firm is working at hosting its own local “Boot Camp” early in 2016 and has already found great support from among its current ag customers.