January 2011 events, new DTN Interface, the accounting "golden rule," quarantined program file, January 2011 webinar schedule
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 FarmSMART                                              December 2010 

In this Issue:

January Events
New DTN Inteface
Accounting "Golden Rule"
New Website
Q&A:  Quarantined Program File
Webinar Schedule


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Merry Christmas from the FBS families to your family.  It's been a honor serving as your management information partner throughout 2010.  We look forward to new opportunities to work together in 2011.

Please take time from your busy schedules to celebrate the birth and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.                                                                                                                   SDG

January Event Schedule

Please join us at one of these events in January.

Computers on the Farm Conference, January 7-8, Tan-Tar-A Resort, Osage Beach, Missouri.  (FBS User breakout session.)
Minnesota Pork Congress
, January 19-20, Minneaoplis, Minnesota.
Iowa Pork Congress
, January 26-27, Des Moines, Iowa.

FBS Announces Interface With DTN Market Prices

DTN Flow Chart


FBS Systems, Inc. and DTN/The Progressive Farmer have partnered to produce the first fusion of electronic market prices with on-farm records and accounting.  The DTN Interface feeds current commodity prices into the FBS integrated management suite to provide always-current LifeCycle budgets, breakevens, positions monitoring, financial statements and even web dashboards.

Setup and maintenance are simple and automated.  Users select which commodities they wish to track and their expected seasonal basis levels.  Then the software connects to the DTN website to download contract histories into an internal Microsoft Access database.  From that point forward the database will update itself either daily or every ten minutes, depending on the service plan.

Smart Feeder Planning
Smart Feeder Planning incorporates current DTN market and feed prices.

The real power from the DTN Interface, though, comes through its connection to other FBS management modules.  For example, the FBS Contract Module will display current net market positions by commodity, quarter and month.  The Smart Feeder Planning module can project open and net cash animal sales, feed costs, margins and LifeCycle Budget projected cash flows and income statements for as far into the future as commodities are trading.  Upcoming software updates will link DTN data with Crop Audit, Inventory Register and Lower of Cost/Market modules.


Market Price Monitoring
Comparing expected versus actual basis levels in the Farm SeRVey web dashboard.

 By connecting the DTN database with the Farm SeRVey web dashboard, the monitoring and analysis options are nearly unlimited: real-time graphing of futures, spreads, margins and expected versus actual basis.

For more information, contact FBS Systems atsales@fbssystems.com or call 800-437-7638.

Following the (Accounting) "Golden Rule"

The most ambitious effort in history to document and standardize agricultural information management was orchestrated by the National Pork Producers Council at the turn of the 21st Century.  Three committees comprised of the best and brightest executives and experts honed in on "Production," "Financial" and "Managerial Accounting" standards that would bring world-class uniformity and management control to the pork industry and set the pace for producers of other commodities.

At the final roll-out meeting the committees were instructed to explain, defend and reconcile their recommendations.  At last, someone raised the thorny question, "what do we do when the production dollars don't coincide with the accounting dollars?"  The consensus-at least with company controllers present-was to adopt this modern corollary to the "Golden Rule:"  "Them that has the gold makes the rules."

This is not a hypothetical concern.  Back then (and even now) most ag producers relied on stand-alone "generic" accounting software while tracking management detail and quantities within specialized production programs or custom spreadsheets.  (See background stories on Big Bucket Accounting and When You Can't Count on Your Accounting Program).  While mass-market accounting programs effectively ignore production agriculture's specialized reporting requirements, mapping and livestock production software publishers are eager to differentiate their offerings by incorporating dollar measurements into their assumptions and analysis.  So it's not surprising that inventory values and cost analysis based on unconventional practices or "plugged" numbers will rarely tie out with ledger balances based on generally accepted accounting principles. 

But why favor your accountant's measurement of costs and margins over any other trusted advisor (say, the veterinarian, crop consultant or economist)?

  • Accrual financial statements must follow strict accounting guidelines in areas such as recognizing revenue, matching costs with revenues and valuing inventories in order to accurately disclose the true performance of the business.  (This approach is a 180 degree divergent from the intentionally-distorted cash tax accounting most producers depend on.)
  • Accountants have access to all activities on the farm, not just the obvious direct revenue and expenses within to a particular enterprise.  Moreover, double-entry accounting forces all entriesto balance within a year and between years.
  • Everything that happens on the farm touches accounting:  inventories, growing crops or animals, field work, animal treatments, even driving around in the pickup.
  • Therefore, accounting should be the core control function in your operation.  No record or measurement is trustworthy unless it reconciles with accounting dollars and quantities.

That's why accounting is the hub of our integrated management system, not a secondary view of the truth relegated to mandatory tax or financial reporting.   It's also why you need to develop or hire the accounting expertise to verify that your "gold" is being counted correctly.

Continue discussion in the FarmSMART blog

Visited Our New Website Yet?
FBS Systems Home PageThere's a wealth of timely information waiting your inspection at our new website. Check them out now by clicking on the image or any of the links below.

To start your tour, click on the image above.

Leave comments or suggestions regarding our website.

Q&A of the Month--Quarantined Program File

Q.  I opened up FBS this morning and am getting "Run Time Error 53, file not found."  What do I do?

A.  This can happen if your computer's security software quarantines one of the FBS files that are essential for running the software.  The reasons the file may have been quarantined are numerous, but most likely it was caused by a virus attaching itself to an executable program file. 

To fix this error yourself, locate your FBS CD and re-install over the existing program, just like you would do when you get your update CD every year.  If that doesn't work then, carefully follow the following steps:

1.  Go to Utilities | Save Data and make a full backup of your data (setup files, all program and all years) by saving to either a thumb drive or to your C (local drive) somewhere other than the FBSWIN folder and where that you can find and retrieve your data later.  Do this for each data set (three letter initial company) you have.  Verify that you have successfully made a full backup of all you FBS data files and any spreadsheet or other files in your FBSWIN/DATA folder.  If you're not positive you've done this successfully, ask for help from FBS Technical Support before proceeding.  

2. Go to the My Computer area of you computer and find the C drive and under that find the FBSWIN file folder and delete the entire folder.

3.  Insert the FBS CD into the machine and do a fresh install.

4. Call FBS Support to re-authorize your software.
Create Directory

5.  Restore your data.  First go into FBS and on the Select Company screen make sure that the file path is "C:/ FBSWIN" and then with the FBSWIN file appearing click on the Create Directory button (See screen above.)  Then you can restore your data by one of these two methods:
Extract from Zip file

a. Using Windows Explorer, locate your backup file, right-click on it and select Extract All, browse to the FBSWIN/DATA for the Destination. 
Create Dummy AAA Company

b. Create a "dummy" company (such as "AAA") in the FBS Change Company screen, then to to Utilities | Restore Data, browse to the location where you made your backups and click on the backup files you want to restore.  Finally, delete the dummy company by selecting it and pressing the Delete Company button from the Change Company menu.      

January Webinar ScheduleWebinar Screen


Closing out last year's accounting records, January 3rd.

LifeCycle Budgeting, January 10th.

Accounting setup, January 17th.
Advanced Budgeting, January 24th.

To register, e-mail support@fbssystems.com by 9:00 am CST on the day of the webinar.


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