Toast to Peterson Farms, Crop cost benchmarks, Progressive Farmers, trade show schedule, December free webinars, vanishing accounts
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 FarmSMART                                              November 2015

In this Issue:

A Toast to Peterson Farms

Crop Benchmarks

Progressive Farmers

2016 Upgrades

Winter Trade Shows

December Webinars

Q&A:  Vanishing Accounts


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Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.

We hope you've been blessed with a safe and bountiful harvest (and/or crop insurance claim).  One of the life lessons we learn in farming is that every year brings unique challenges and blessings that should both humble us and stir us to thanksgiving to our Creator.

God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

We're very thankful for your business, so this month we're delivering a cornucopia of valuable news and management information:
  • A toast to Peterson Farms.
  • Crop benchmarks reveal "it's the overhead."
  • FBS "Progressive Farmers."
  • 2016 upgrades on their way.
  • December free webinar schedule.
  • Link to recorded webinars.
  • Winter trade show schedule.
  • Vanishing accounts                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    SDG

A Toast to Peterson Farms
Congratulations to Albert, Bernard, Bill Jr. and David Peterson of Lorreto, Kentucky for winning the Farm Journal Top Producer Magazine 2015 Top Producer of the Year award.  Their operation is the cover story in the the November 2015 issue.

Petersons are long time FBS "power users," taking advantage of the our software's unique integration, flexibility and capacity to grow their complex, 13-generation family business.
View a video presentation of a panel discussion of Peterson Farms' transition plan recorded at the 2015 FBS Users Conference.


Crop Benchmarks Reveal "It's the Overhead"

That's the difference between profit and loss based on benchmarks compiled by consultants Moe Russell and John McNutt in the November 2015 Farm Futures Magazine article, "Red Ink Coming, But How Much?"  These benchmarks were released at the 2015 FBS User Conference in Moline, Illinois.

While land costs are a prominent deciding factor, corn machinery costs varied from $65 to $211 per acre and overall operations costs (adding labor, fuel and custom work credit to the machinery) ranged from $65 to $362 per acre.  “In most of my work with clients, if you look at a cost issue, it’s usually erosion across the board — land is too high, machinery cost is high because they’re not pushing enough units through, or buying too much new iron," says McNutt. 
Providing custom work can be an alternative strategy to "selling iron," according to McNutt.  “'With custom work, people aren’t generally getting paid what it costs them to do it, but it still has a profound effect on lowering overall cost of production,” he says. “If you can add that as a strategy, it can make you more and more competitive.” 

Click here for a copy of the Latta Harris/Russell Consulting Group corn-soybean benchmarks and here to watch a video John and Moe's presentation at the 2015 FBS User Conference.

Editor's note:  While very useful in identifying "high level" problems cost benchmark studies like this are usually based on "peanut butter spreading" of  labor and machinery costs across all acres regardless of the mix of crops grown or the unique production practices used to grow each commodity.  Moreover, operations decisions are ultimately made at the activity level (planting, spreading, spraying, harvesting, trucking, etc.)

To reach that level of accountability, benchmarking and control you need to adopt full activity-based management accounting.  More to come on this subject next month.

FBS "Progressive Farmers"
Three FBS clients are mentioned in the Mid-November 2015 issue of The Progressive Farmer Magazine.
  • "In central Illinois cash rents may only decline 5 to 10%," explains Dale Aupperle, with Heartland Ag Group.  (Give Me a Break, page PF-2)
  • Darrel and Allen Burt, Marshalltown, Iowa, have diversified (tiling business) and specialized (dropping cattle feeding and concentrated on hogs) and track their enterprises separately under one corporate umbrella.  (Squeeze Out More Profit, page ST-4)
  • Mark Bryant, Washington Court House, Ohio, has pooled his purchasing and marketing with three dozen other large southwest Ohio operations to enhance his margins.  (Safety in Numbers, page PF14)
  • Mark's daughter, Kasey Bryant, uses their farm's precision farming data to weed out waste in crop insurance premiums and boost their APH.  (Technology Gets More for the Money, page 22)

2016 Upgrades On Their Way8.16.jpg
For 35 years FBS Systems has been committed to continuously improving our software based on feedback from our users.  The latest upgrades (Versions 8.16 and 10.5) have already been shipped to Corporate, VIP and Priority Service Plan clients.  Basic Support subscribers will receive their upgrade CDs in December.
Last month we highlighted changes to TransAction Plus Accounting.  This month we'll note changes to our Crop Audit and Smart Feeder modules.
Crop Audit Input
  • Increased field limit from 500 to 1,200
  • Increased active projects from 1,200 to 2,000
  • Added warning to the Project Batch Add routine if the combined center and field description exceed 30 characters
Crop Audit Reports
  • Crop Cost Analysis by center now includes crop sales entered through Crop Audit

  • Crop Inputs Inventory report hot key export now includes the material name column

  • New preference turns on FIFO input inventories

Smart Feeder Input
  • Increased Batch Feeding pen limit from 33 to 100

  • Added user premix to Farm Feed mill import

  • Commercial Feed Mill changes:

    - Added CTN files-

    - Feed Mill Manager 'Stock Item' treated as normal item fed and picks up FMM feed purchase entries

    - Added preference to include all detail in A/R entries

    - Option to print checks/invoices to sort by vendor

  • More Packer Interface options for Farmland and Triumph import

  • Smart Feeder Planning / LifeCycle Budget displays projected quantity, weight and feed consumption by group





Smart Feeder Reports


  • Ingredient Summary improved flexibility and logic including:  feed class range, excludes parts inventory and new preference to turn on FIFO inventories (see above).
  • Added group source and combine stages to Death Loss by Week report

  • Built-in bar, line and area charts added to Open/Close Group reports


Click here to view a slide show covering all the major changes in versions 8.16 and 10.5.

Click here to view a "what's new" video from the FBS User Conference.,



December Free WebinarsVersion_8.16_Computer.jpg

December 7:   Scanner Interface.
December 14:  E-filing and conventional 1099s.
December 21:  Loan Report.
December 28:  A/P and A/R Review.

All webinars run between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm CST.   

To register, e-mail by 12:00 pm CDT on the day of the webinar.
NEW:  Catch up on the webinars you've missed by watching them on the Webinar page of our website.

Winter Trade Show Schedule
Event Location Dates Booth #


(Winter Conference)

Minneapolis Convention Center

December 2-3  
Hilton Savannah DeSoto
Savannah, Georgia 
January 11-14   
Iowa_Pork_Congress.jpg Iowa Events Center
Des Moines
January 27-28 204
 Kentucky Exposition Center
Louisville, Kentucky
February 10-13   620A
West Hall

Prairie Capital Convention Center
Springfield, Illinois 

February 16-17  105 
Morial Convention Center
New Orleans, Louisiana 
 March 3-5 1006 
Click on the event logo to go to that organization's website.

Q&A of the Month: Vanishing Accounts
Sarah Dixon, FBS Sales and Support Coordinator

Q.  Where did my ledger account go?  When I go to write a check it’s no longer on the drop down list!

A.  It can be stressful when you are trying to enter a check and the account you want is not there!   Fortunately, this problem can be fixed quickly. 


First go to Setup> Accounting>Ledger Accounts, scroll through and see if you can find the account you are looking for.  If it was flagged as Inactive it will not be in numerical order but will have been moved to the bottom of the list. 


To reactivate the account highlight it and click the Change button at the bottom of the screen, then check the Active box and press the Save button.


If it is Active, check to see if the Type is set as a Heading account (“L”).  You cannot post to a heading account.  If you don’t want this account defined as a Heading account change it to Type A.


However, if the account that’s not appearing is marked Active and is not a Heading account, make a note of the number and go Setup> Accounting>General Information.  Check to see if that ledger account has been selected as one of the A/P or A/R accounts.   If you are using that account for either an actual A/P or A/R account leave this alone; what you are experiencing is a safeguard to prevent you from accidentally posting an entry to this account without going through the A/P or A/R module.    If you are not using the A/P or A/R module change all these account "0 None". 

The final reason that you can’t find the account is that someone has deleted it from the listNever, ever delete a ledger account after you’ve used it!   It is possible to restore lost accounts, but it’s a painstaking process!

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