FAIRFIELD, Mont. – Even though Mitch Konen says things have slowed down at his place and he’s caught up on “snacking and napping,” he really has stayed busy.
“I’ve been finalizing and winterizing everything, all the pivots and the machinery,” Mitch said. “I put some barricades up for a pivot and am putting the finishing touches on things.”
Mitch has also spent some time going to different meetings and was recently asked to participate in the Triangle Ag Services open house in Fort Benton.
“I was asked to go out there and answer questions about the Farm Works Software program,” he said. “That went well.”
Mitch sells and services Farm Works Software, which is a program designed to help producers handle the paperwork associated with agriculture. It can track costs and markets and allow producers to build a ledger as detailed as they want. It also has the ability to map fields and flag points of interest in those fields.
Producers can record soil and yield data, crop input job operations, chemical applications, track water management and surface drainage, record livestock data, and print off dozens of customized reports.
“I can input every dime, nickel and penny and allocate it where I want – to equipment, acreage, people, an enterprise of some kind, or somewhere else,” Mitch said. “Then I can review that data and know my operational and enterprise costs right down to the exact acre and bushel.”
Mitch feels that Farm Works Software has a lot of potential and producers underutilize it.
“I don’t even use it to its full potential because it can do so much,” he said, adding the software will print out the tax forms he needs and he can either do the taxes himself or take that information to an accountant. The software will do cash reports and accruals, cost reports and depreciation.
“It prints off all the financial information I need to go to the bank or to the accountant,” said Mitch. “I can put in the market values from a certain time and print a full spectrum of financial information.”
Producers can customize what prints out so they have the correct information to apply for loans from all sorts of agencies and financial institutions. In agriculture, if someone needs to see a report, Farm Works Software can help generate that report.
“Farming is a way of life but it is also a business,” said Mitch. “When I got started years ago I didn’t want to use the big paper spreadsheets like my dad used. This makes everything a lot easier.”
Mitch said the software is easy to set up and install. All producers have to do is follow the step-by-step instructions on their screen and it installs itself.
After that, it is just a matter of entering the updates and he can stay on top of his office work in less time.
Less office work time means he can spend more time preparing for the winter and the next planting season.
“I think I’ve pretty much figured out what to plant where,” he said. “I’ll probably have a little more canola next year than I had this year because it figured in with the land better instead of splitting up the land under a pivot.”
Mitch also said the barley contract companies have come out with their prices, making canola seem like a good fit.
“The barley contracting companies were down on their prices this year, compared to last year,” he said. “We’re seeing about a three or four percent reduction in the price which offsets the three or four percent increase we see on the cost of living numbers.”
Mitch said right now it looks like production costs are holding or sliding back a bit.
“It will even out there, but the cost of living naturally goes up every year and that kind of increase makes it hard to keep up,” he said.
Mitch has been spending time in his office getting the prices figured out and getting caught up with the markets so he can plan wisely.
He’s also been chasing the kids in sports this fall, which is fun for him. He enjoys seeing his kids do well. And, now that the grain is in the bin, he has the time.
“The Joe Walsh song keeps going through my head, where he says ‘they say I’m lazy but it takes all my time.’ That’s where I’m at right now,” said Mitch, laughing to himself.
It’s a good song with a great title that fits: Life’s Been Good.