Bookkeeping and tax season may not be a farmer’s favorite time of year, but no one will deny the critical nature of doing it right. Particularly after turbulent income years dating back to the 2018 U.S.-China trade war, the pandemic, supply chain issues and ongoing high input costs and interest rates, farmers need to be on the lookout for these five balance sheet busters:

  1. How the overall 2023 farm income will impact trends in 2024. While USDA revised the number to be slightly more optimistic, production will undoubtedly influence the volatility in various markets.
  2. Interest rates will continue to be a headline into the new year, as farm loans have now reached the highest level since 2007 at 8.34%.
  3. Operating loans and lines of credit will also impact the balance sheet next year. Studying the details of any line of credit is critical but will become more so in 2024 in the increasingly volatile economic environment.
  4. Land values have continued to climb even since peaking in May 2022. While values have cooled off for the most part, noticeable declines are not expected in 2024.
  5. Input costs will remain a big topic, even as inflation cools. Even though inputs like fertilizer have dropped, they’re still significantly higher than pre-pandemic rates.

Read more on the top balance sheet concerns to look for in 2024 here.