Some Farm Business Management Reminders by Katelyn Walley-Stoll

Katelyn Walley, Business Management Specialist and Team Leader
Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program

February 13, 2023

ST-125: NYS farms and commercial horse boarding operators are exempt from paying sales tax on purchases that are directly related to the farming operation. To do this, farm businesses need to file an ST-125 with each vendor they purchase from. Some vendors require an annual update or re-filing. Farms do not need an EIN (Employer Identification Number) to claim tax exempt status! Pro-Tip? Keep copies of pre-completed ST-125's in all of your vehicles as many stores don't keep them on hand.

Ag Value Assessment: Depending on your county, the deadline to file, renew, or add to your Ag Value Assessment is early in the year. The Agricultural Assessment Program reduces the property taxes due on parcels of land that are actively used for agricultural production. This also applies to rented land as long as there is a written agreement in place. You do need to renew your application every year! Call your local assessor or county's office of real property tax services for more information.  

Separate Checking Accounts: Just a friendly reminder that you should have a separate checking/banking account for your farm business that's not comingled with your personal expenses. While this is in place for most farms, it's easy to get relaxed on keeping things separate! Looking at your personal expenses and your farm expenses separately, and in separate accounts, will help with recordkeeping, defining what's part of your business, and cash flow management. Getting a separate farm account is usually as easy as visiting your county's clerk office to file a DBA (Doing Business As), and visiting your local bank to open a new business account. These are usually free or carry a small fee.

Revisit Your Business Plan: There are two different types of business plans, from my perspective - the one you show your bank and the one you show your spouse/management team. Should these be different versions? Ideally, no. But, it's my experience that the business plan you keep to your inner circle is usually more to the point, accurate, and realistic about the situation your farm is in. A business plan doesn't have to be something that follows a strict format or is printed on laminated paper with strategically selected fonts. A business plan is a road map for your farm that reviews where you've been, where you are now, and where you're headed. Don't have a business plan yet? We've got several resources, trainings, and practical information to help you build one.

Update Your Balance Sheet: While most lenders will require an annually updated Balance Sheet, it's a great habit to update yours at least once a year. Go through and calculate your feed, animal, and supply inventory (and their values). Double check your loan balances, interest rates, and projected payments. A great side effect from this update? You can use it to complete a FREE Farm Business Summary with your friendly, local Farm Business Management Specialist (that's me for those of you in SWNY). A Farm Business Summary helps you monitor the financial health and productivity of your business! New to preparing a Balance Sheet - I can help with that, too.

Supporting Your County's Cooperative Extension Association: Your County's Cornell Cooperative Extension Association relies on federal, state, and county funding to stay in business. Additionally, several counties rely on annual enrollments/subscriptions/financial support from their supportive farm families and communities. Our team, CCE's Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program, is primarily funded by shares that our 5 CCE Associations pay to provide support to their county's farming community (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Steuben Cornell Cooperative Extensions). You can support us by supporting them! Call your county's CCE office to see if you're enrolled or subscribed, volunteer to serve on their committees or boards, or connect with our team for more information. 




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Reporting Winter Storm Damage - It's Important!

Winter's here, and with that comes high winds, heavy snow loads, power outages, and damages that negatively impact your farm business. Katelyn Walley shares the importance of documenting damages and reporting them here, along with key contact information.

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