Manage Your Farm by the Numbers

by Heather Lauf September 9, 2013

FarmFuturesLogoNEW (2)The financial strength you build in the good times in farming is what's going to count if we hit hard times ahead. What's the overall financial health of your operation like right now?

In his weekly Finance First post on, Darren Frye, President and CEO of Water Street Solutions has some ideas about how you can run your business by the numbers - and help make sure your farm will survive and thrive, even through down economic cycles. Read it HERE.

Don't Be Scared of Your Accounting Software

by Water Street Solutions September 6, 2013

tBrhel64Farmers use a lot of different kinds of accounting software.  Some of it is very specific to farming.  Some of it is better for livestock producers than for crop producers.  Going in the other direction, some is just what any consumer might use - with categories not specified for ag production.  And then we have farmers whose records are not even kept on the computer at all.  Water Street Solutions Ag Finance Specialist Tim Brhel talks with Dewey Nelson from KRVN about the importance of doing this right.   Dont Be Scared of Your Accounting Software Brhel AUDIO

As I was posting this, I happened to notice a related story on here of one of our clients who have decided to outsource their bookkeeping with Water Street Solutions - and how that's working for them.  Read about that HERE.

For the text of the interview, click here: Don't Be Scared of Your Accounting Software

Illinois Farmer Puts Together Risk Management Plan with Water Street Solutions

by Heather Lauf September 5, 2013

PJ and Char Thompson 1PJ and Char Thompson of Little York, Illinois work with Water Street Solutions in several areas of their farm operation. They talked about how working on the financials of their business with Water Street has helped them keep track of important information:

"We were looking for someone to put the total package together for us - accounting, financials, marketing and bookkeeping. We're getting that all put together with Water Street to manage our risk. Our advisors are good listeners and very organized. They help keep us on the right track so information flows as often as possible.

Doing bookkeeping with Water Street is more efficient and accurate than what we had used previously. They've helped us to become more detail-oriented with documenting our expenses. We wanted to partner with Water Street for bookkeeping because it's one less thing for us to have on our minds. We wanted one company to handle everything - and Water Street is a good fit for that."

Think as the CEO of Your Farm

by Heather Lauf September 3, 2013

FarmFuturesLogoNEW (2)As you work to build and grow your farm, you might be thinking differently about how you approach your business - more like the CEO of your operation. As a CEO, there's a lot to think about, so what are some of the key things you need to be paying attention to?

In his weekly Finance First post on, Darren Frye, President and CEO of Water Street Solutions shares some ways you can practice thinking like a CEO in your operation. Read it HERE.

Know Your Numbers When Making Business Decisions

by Water Street Solutions August 30, 2013

Agrinews2It's important to keep an eye on your breakevens throughout the growing season.  It's a process that helps you remain agile in your decision making.  Darren Frye, President and CEO of Water Street Solutions discusses it more in this AgriNews column.

Father-Son Farming Operation Works with Water Street Solutions to Reduce Risk, Plan Farm Transition

by Heather Lauf August 29, 2013

Durdan familyDoug and Justin Durdan of Streator, Illinois work with Water Street Solutions in multiple areas of their operation. They talked about how working with the company has impacted their farm:

"A lot has changed in the last five years in farming. The market has become a lot more volatile - not just the price of grain, but with inputs, rents, machinery, and the cost of land. In that short time, there's been as much change in farming as there had been in the past 30 years put together. With greater volatility in the markets, we wanted to be more in control of our marketing and reduce our risk. Our market specialist opens new perspectives to us, especially strategically. He knows our numbers and understands our financial position so he bases ideas for us off of that.

Looking at our financial analysis makes us more aware of our cost of production. It's not only on an annual basis but more of a weekly basis because the actual cost of production changes frequently. I used to create my own analysis, but the Water Street financial analysis takes everything a step further by including machinery costs, land costs and more. It shows our cost of production going into a growing season, and all throughout it - so that helps us make plans and market our grain.

In an operation with a lot of moving parts, getting a legacy plan in writing is really crucial. You don't ever want to think that something bad could happen to anyone, but it can. If something happened to either of us, the plan will make sure the business continues. It would be sad to work your entire life building a farm business and then not be able to pass it on due to lack of planning. I think everyone starts out wanting to pass the farm on to the next generation. It's not really fair to anyone if you don't take the time to make sure that the transfer will be successful."

Don't Sign Rental Agreements with a Handshake

by Water Street Solutions August 27, 2013

dHeffta64Trust is important in agriculture.  It's part of the fabric of who we are in farming.  But it's a good idea to put a rental agreement in writing, for the purchase of solid communication.  Water Street Solutions Senior Director Dean Heffta discusses the details of this with Dewey Nelson from KRVN.   Rental Agreements Should Be More than a Handshake Heffta AUDIO

For the text of the interview, click here: Rental Agreements Should Be More Than a Handshake

Illinois Father-Son Farming Operation Creates Proactive Plans with Water Street Solutions

by Heather Lauf August 22, 2013

Gary and Adam Ford 1Gary and Adam Ford of Tonica, Illinois work with Water Street Solutions in several areas of their operation. They talked about why they originally decided to partner with the company in 2007:

"We looked at the volatility of the markets and realized that things were changing, and that we needed to change, as well. There's a trust that's been built now between us and Water Street. We understand more about positions and strategies and have become more comfortable. Our advisors understand how we communicate and make decisions. They adjust their communication to us and how we like to communicate. We're more at ease because we have a plan and we know what we're going to do with our marketing.

We're very impressed by the information in the financial analysis and how it's presented. Our ag finance specialist has opened our minds to improvements we can make and areas where we're already doing very well. We like seeing our operation benchmarked against other operations and averages so we can see where we're different and why. It's also helpful to know our direct breakeven cost because that shows us where we can sell.

Before the 2012 harvest, it looked like we weren't going to have good yields because of the drought. Our ag finance specialist showed us what our crop insurance would do for us. That really set our minds at ease going into harvest. It reduced a lot of our stress when we realized we were going to be OK - no matter which way our yields went."

Farm Bookkeeping - Success in the Details

by Water Street Solutions August 20, 2013

tBrhel64If you're the farm's number cruncher, it's a good match if you're also detail oriented.  Tim Brhel, an Ag Finance Specialist with Water Street Solutions explains that farmers can make better decisions if they keep books in a very detailed way.  He talks through this with Dewey Nelson from KRVNBookkeeping the Success is in the Details Brhel AUDIO

For the text of the interview, click here: Farm Bookkeeping - Success in the Details

What Are You Getting Out of Your Accounting Software?

by Heather Lauf August 19, 2013

FarmFuturesLogoNEW (2)Your accounting software might be one part of your operation where you have a love-hate relationship...or maybe it's more like indifference. Either way, there are probably some things you could be using it to do that could really help you with decision-making.

In his weekly Finance First post on, Darren Frye, President and CEO of Water Street Solutions, talks about what you could be getting from your accounting software. Start by reading it HERE.

About Water Street Solutions

Water Street Solutions helps farmers with profitability, using a business model that you won't find anywhere else. Experts in ag finance, crop insurance, commodity marketing and legacy planning work together on a plan tailored for your farm.

Month List


All opinions expressed in this website are solely those of Water Street Advisory. Client testimonials are not indicative of future performance or success. There is significant risk of loss involved in commodity futures and options trading and may not be suitable for all investors. You should always consider these risks and evaluate your suitability based on your financial condition.

RMA non-discrimination policy