Do you have your farm and family affairs in order?

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Well the year is almost over. As I look back over the year, this one is a little more meaningful to me personally. A year for me that stirred a lot of “what ifs.”

Farm accidents (I know all too personally), cancer, disability, heart attacks, failing health and death are all words farmers do not like to hear. Farming is the nation's second most dangerous occupation in the United States. This, combined with the aging farm population, could mean that your farm business might lose one of its key managers unexpectantly.

David Marrison, OSU Extension educator in Ashtabula and Trumbull counties asks a couple of important questions. Is your farm ready for the unexpected? Have you prepared the next generation to run your farm business after you are gone?

According to Marrison, to help address the “ah-crap” moments caused by the unexpected, OSU Extension is pleased to be offering a webinar titled “Getting your Farm & Family Affairs in Order.” This webinar is open to farmers across the country and will be held Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Marrison will be the featured speaker for the webinar.

• Learn how to develop an emergency contact list for your farm and how to develop letter of instructions to your heirs regarding their financial matters.

• Learn how to consolidate all of your financial and personal information (real property, savings and investment accounts, legal documents) in one easy document. This will help you get a better handle on your finances and allow you to get a jump start on your estate plan.

• Learn the “opossum approach” to check if your heirs are ready to run the farm business.

Take time to organize your financial matters for your peace of mind. This program will save you hundreds of dollars as you develop your succession, retirement and estate plans. Get your affairs in order so you can concentrate on your family, career and bucket list!

No pre-registration is required and producers can attend by logging on to: Participants are encouraged to test their computer systems out by logging onto the website before the program. More information about this program can be obtained by contacting Marrison at or 440-576-9008.

Ohio State University Extension will also be offering Farmland Leasing Workshops throughout Ohio this January through March 2014.

Landowners and farmers both are encouraged to attend as factors affecting leasing options and rental rates will be discussed along with analyzing rent survey data to determine how this data can be used in negotiations.

Flexible cash lease arrangements will be discussed as an alternative to fixed cash leases. The pros and cons of fixed and flexible leases will be explored. Participants will spend time with the presenters in analyzing good and bad leasing practices. Presenters will also discuss legal issues in farmland leasing and help participants to begin to develop a written lease for their farm.

Workshop presenters include Peggy Hall, assistant professor, OSU Extension director, agricultural and resource law program and Barry Ward, assistant professor, OSU Extension leader, production business management.

Topics to be addressed in the workshop include:

• Farmland leasing options: fixed and flexible cash leases

• Factors affecting leasing options and rates

• Evaluating cash rent survey data

• Legal issues in farmland leasing

• Analyzing good and bad leasing practices

• Developing a written lease for your farm

Dates and locations of leasing workshops that are closest to us in Clinton County are as follows:

Jan. 15, 5:30 to 9 p.m. : OSU Extension Darke/Montgomery counties. Go to for more information on this joint meeting.

Feb. 10, 1 to 4 p.m.: OSU Extension Champaign, Shelby, Union counties. Visit or or

March 12, 9 a.m. to noon: OSU Extension Fayette/Clinton counties. Go to for more information on our joint meeting.

Finally, the New Year is upon us. Have you started working on your taxes? The Internal Revenue Service issued on Dec. 6, 2013 the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

• 56 cents per mile for business miles driven,

• 23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes,

• 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business, medical and moving expense rates decrease one-half cent from the 2013 rates. The charitable rate is based on statute.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs. Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

These and other requirements for a taxpayer to use a standard mileage rate to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51. Notice 2013-80 contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.


Tony Nye is the state coordinator for Small Farm Programs and an OSU Extension educator, agriculture and natural resources, for Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.