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March 2020

Dear Friend,

NFMS-CC20 Users
FBS/MASA Users ("Pre-Social Distancing")

Thanks for looking us up at this year's National Farm Machinery Show and Commodity Classic.  It's hard to believe just a few weeks ago we took for granted the comraderie of face-to-face contact with clients from across the country.

Fortunately, we have the technology and plans to safely maintain and build relationships and knowledge with you, our valued clients.

  • Read how we're using the cloud to "flatten the curve."
  • Mark your calendars for August when we'll be resuming our annual Ag Software Success Summit.

Also in this month's newsletter:

  • Link to Farm Data Access Webinar.
  • Commodity Classic returns to San Antonio.
  • FBS / MASA Users in the news.
  • Productivity pointers from Sarah.


How FBS Is Using the Cloud to "Flatten the Curve"
(And keep you safe and running)
Cloud Control

It wasn't so long ago that the greatest concern in the software business was computer viruses.  Here's how we've prepared and are responding to the current challenging world environment:

  • The FBS staff is practicing "software distancing" via the cloud.  Our development, support and sales teams have been 100% cloud-based for over a year so we can continue working remotely, efficiently and safely to and from anywhere.  There's also a benefit to being based outside of a major metro area!

  • Our office "skeleton crew" will attempt to directly pick up your support or sales calls.  If you don't reach a live person please leave a voicemail message or send an email. 

  • FBS, in cooperation with AgCompass offers a full line of cloud-accessible software that can be implemented without a requiring a person or even a disc to cross your threshold. 

  • We have years and years of experience in providing remote support and training through the internet.  We can instantly share desktops, and with your permission, access your data.

  • Until the "shelter in place" order is lifted here in Illinois we will suspend shipment of the FBS Version 11.4 upgrade.  However, we will be soon be offering downloads to MASA members.

  • We'll get through this together!  

    Ag Software Success Summit 2020 Save the Dates for the Ag
    Software Success Summit

    Mark your calendars for August 24-26, 2020 for the premier knowledge and networking event for farm business owners, accounting staff and advisers.  The 2020 Ag Software Software Summit will help you adjust to the "new normal" with outstanding management experts, new technologies and plenty of opportunities to challenge one another with best practices.

    Watch this newsletter for more details.  

FBS/MASA User Represents Farmers in Data Access Webinar 

Brian Watkins 2

Watch a free webinar, “Your Farm Data: Where Is It and Who Has Access?” sponsored by CropLife and PrecisionAg Professional magazines and the Agricultural Data Coalition.

The webinar  clarifies terminology (What is an API?), and discusses what ag tech company partnership agreements generally mean for a farmer. The panel discussion features perspectives from a farmer, an ag retailer, and a software company to help make sense of the complicated and rapidly changing precision ag data landscape.

Participating in the webinar are Ernie Chappell, President/Founder; EFC Systems; Amy Winstead, Chief Technology Officer, Agri-AFC; and Brian Watkins, Partner, Watkins Farms, FBS user and MASA partner. 

Commodity Classic Returns to San Antonio River Walk at Night

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A record number of farmers converged on Texas last week for the 2020 Commodity Classic.  Total farmers registered was 4,678—the highest number in the show’s 24-year history, eclipsing the previous record of 4,595 set in 2016 in New Orleans.  Total registrations of 9,350 was also second only to the New Orleans event.

Held Feb. 27-29 in San Antonio, Texas, the 2020 Commodity Classic featured dozens of educational sessions, a huge trade show with nearly 400 exhibitors, a keynote address by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, a concert performance by Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry, policy meetings of the sponsoring commodity associations, a wide variety of presentations from well-known industry leaders and top farmers, and tours of area attractions.

Commodity Classic returns to San Antonio March 4-6, 2021, as the show celebrates its Silver Anniversary next year.  For information, visit

FBS/MASA Users in the News

Paustian_Mike-150x150Mike Paustian began serving a one-year term as Iowa Pork Producer Association president in January 2020. This eastern Iowa producer has a farrow-to-finish hog business near Walcott and markets 22,000 head annually. Paustian Enterprises also has 2,400 acres of corn and soybeans. Mike attended Iowa State University, majoring in microbiology. He received a Ph.D from the University of Minnesota. Mike was first elected to the board in 2015.

Deahr_Mike-crop2Mike Deahr was honored by the IPPA as Grassroots Producer of the Year in recognition for keeping other producers and legislators engaged.  Deahr is a pig farmer with a farrow-to-finish operation and a row crop operation in Muscatine County. Deahr has previously served on the IPPA board in 2010-2011. He is serving in an interim capacity in the position formerly held by Mike Paustian of Walcott

Scott_Phillips croppedScott Phillips, Drexel, Missouri serves on the National Pork Producer Board of Directors. Scott Phillips owns and operates Phillips Farms in Drexel, Missouri. Phillips Farms is a farrow-to-finish operation that markets 54,000 pigs annually. Scott also grows corn and soybeans on his family farm. He is active in the Missouri Pork Producers Association having served as chair from 2015 to 2016, and as treasurer and secretary. In addition, Scott has served on the Pork Checkoff’s Producer Services and Communications committee and as a Pork Act Delegate from 2002 to 2016. He is currently the Missouri Pork Association representative to U.S. Meat Export Federation and serves on the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance board of directors.

Joe Connor croppedDr. Joseph Connor, Carthage, Illinois, was the recipient of the Illinois Pork Producers Association 2020 Distinguished Service Award.  As a dedicated veterinarian, mentor and promoter of the pork industry, the decision to award him with this title was effortless. Dr. Connor is founder of Carthage Veterinary Service, LTD in Carthage, IL.

Q&A:  Productivity Pointers


Q.  Instead of a question this month I thought I would just  go over helpful pointers that will make your FBS experience more efficient and effective.

Sarah 2019

Sarah Dixon, FBS Support Coordinator

  • You don't have to be logged into input year 2019 to run a report for 2019.  Most reports can span calendar years regardless of the input year.  I've recently talked to several users who were changing the input year just to run reports in that time period.  Not necessary!
  • If you run Accounts Payable or Receivable you must use a ledger account for them that has never been used for anything else.  You can "lock" accounts specifically for A/P and A/R by going to Setup>Accounting>General Information (see below).
AR-AP default accounts-1

  • You should always be aware of where your data folder is.  Ninety percent of users probably could not tell me what the path to their data folder is, and this can be an issue for many, many, reasons.  Please take note of the path to your data folder.  FBS displays your data file location in the right window in the Change Company screen using the standard Windows Explorer format.  See example below.

    FBS Navigation
  • Having entire computer backup is great.    But I still recommend making individual company backups through FBS (Utilities>Save Data).  This makes it much easier to restore an individual company or file.
  • Don’t wait to install the upgrades we send.  Loading an upgrade a year or more after it is sent isn’t doing us or you any good.  You won’t ever be left without a working system.  You will never lose data, and you don't  need to wait to complete your taxes.  In fact your taxes will benefit from the updated Schedule F that comes out with the new releases!

  • Installing your upgrades will prevent you from being left with an  unusable system.  If you have issues with an FBS installation FBS Support will help you get things running smoothly.      


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