Photo contributed

Emily Carls (center) and Krista Lottinville (far left) from FBFM present a seminar about what makes a farm business financially healthy and what are ways to move to a better financial position to 18 attendees at the Watseka Park District building.

The Illinois Farm Business Farm Management group hosted a seminar for women in farming.

It’s part of FBFS WOW, women creating opportunity for women, and this is the third one hosted in the state — the first in Iroquois County. It was conducted in conjunction with the Kentland Bank.

Wednesday evening at the park district there were 18 women who attended, said Krista Lottinville with the local FBFM, and they were all ages and all sorts of farm ownership. There were some who got refresher information and a few city girls who married into a farm family who wanted to learn more. She explained that FBFM is a not-for-profit organization which works with farm families in making sure their record-keeping documents are in a form that financial institutions can work with. She said attendees do not need to be customers to attend.

The seminar when over the current farm economy: the difficulties overseas with trade wars, markets being down, and how the iffy planting this spring has lent itself to lower yields.

“It’s a good time to have this discussion, to be prepared,” Lottinville said.

She said she and Emily Carls, another presenter, talked about prices, tax law changes and China, among other things.

She said, for example, corn prices have stayed “very flat”, changing just six cents in the last four years. But, she said, “expenses are not flat” and farmers have to figure out a balance to cover the ever changing cost of the imputs and labor.

As for trade wars, China will not buying soybeans like it has in the past, and prices will be low for soybeans. “There will be a surplus of soybeans, and a lot of people will be holding on to them for a while.”

The crowd gave good feedback on what they took away from the session, she said. There was a better understanding of the markets and “Better decisions can be made in the future.”

Lottinville explained that nationwide 98 percent of farms are family-owned. Just two percent of the population are farmers, and of that two percent just two percent are women. This information came from the Farm Bureau.

Lottinville said the goal is to have more of these seminars, and more goals could be covered at them.