What is Professional Farm Management?
Sunderman Farm Management Company has been a trusted resource serving landowners like you since 1961. Listed below are the services you can expect from our farm managers and licensed appraisers as we partner with you to thoroughly, comprehensively, and professionally manage your farm.
LAND BROKERS If you decide to sell the farm, we can help you because we’re a full-service land broker. When you take advantage of our farm management services, our familiarity with your farm allows us to effectively promote it to interested buyers.
PROJECT SUPERVISORS & COORDINATORS When your farm is in need of improvements or repairs we’re here to help coordinate and supervise each project such as building repairs, outbuilding demolition, underground tile installation, and creation of surface drainage systems. We can coordinate any project for you…every detail from beginning to end.
CONTINUITY You’ll see why we’re a trusted resource. We’ve managed farms for three and even four generations! That experience allows us to become an expert advisor on farm-related issues for your family from generation to generation. When the time comes to make tough decisions, your family can look to us (a non-emotional third party) for information. We’ll provide facts, figures, and options so your family can make the most appropriate decisions.
You’ll also have access to experts through our business relationships with professionals who can advise you on farm succession and estate planning options. Your children will receive the same monthly reports you receive, if you’d like them to, so they can become familiar with the farm and better understand its value and the significant benefits land ownership offers. That way, when the farm is in their hands, they’re well-informed about the farm’s significance and the income potential of their farmland asset.
A TWO-WAY STREET You’ll appreciate the friendly and cooperative relationship we cultivate with your farm operator. As a landowner, you have a significant investment in the land and you deserve a fair return based upon current market conditions. Your farm operator deserves to enjoy the success of their hard work and the significant risk they bear. Together we work to accomplish the goals and vision you have for your farm.
FARM VISITS We are your eyes on the farm, seeing what happens first-hand and working with you to make the best management decisions. Of course, we monitor crop progress and provide expert agronomic advice. But, to us, those are just table-stakes. Sunderman Farm Management makes it personal. We’re watching what’s happening, from fence-line maintenance to making sure your place is protected from theft and trespass, watching your farm like you would if you were here in person.
Personal visits to your farm help us see what’s happening in the field first-hand. During the growing season, we’ll visit your farm each month. Working together with your farm operator we learn from each other about weed, pest, and fertilizer issues as well as which products work and which ones don’t.
We also monitor farmland issues such as: crop progress, erosion, drainage, conservation practices, fence line maintenance, tillage and agronomic practices, trespassing, and inappropriate or unauthorized uses (for example: dumping, digging, erecting structures, and storage of junk).
PEACE OF MIND There’s no need to worry about your farm because we help take care of everything! We’re your eyes and ears. You’ll know you’re getting a fair deal from your investment because that’s our promise to you.
APPRAISALS When it’s time for estate planning or farm succession planning, you might need help placing a value on your farmland. Farmland appraisals are available to you at no additional charge as part of our management service.
MONTHLY REPORTS A written report is provided to you every month including an accounting statement whenever there is financial activity. This monthly communication provides you with a snapshot of your investment and includes information such as crop and weather conditions, recent income, and expenses. Whenever income is available from your farm, a check will be included.
ANNUAL SUMMARY OF INCOME & EXPENSES Every January you’ll receive an Income and Expense Summary that’s tailored specifically to make tax preparation easy. We categorize items based on the current year’s tax form (Schedule F).
DEPRECIATION SCHEDULES When improvements to your farm are made we can help place a value on those assets such as drainage tile, terraces, surface drains, and fences. Your tax professional or financial adviser can then set up an appropriate depreciation schedule.
ACCOUNTING The income and expenses from your farm operation flow through a farm checking account we maintain on your behalf. We reconcile your account every month so you know exactly how much money is available. Funds kept in the account are just enough to cover projected expenses such as taxes, insurance, drainage assessments, crop costs, and other miscellaneous expenses. The accounting is completely transparent so you know exactly what is happening with your investment.
LEASING OPTIONS There are a lot of choices! We’ll work with you to consider leasing options based on your management philosophy, risk tolerance, and your overall preferences. For example, a custom farming operation has the potential to increase your income but there is also greater risk.
No matter which type of lease you choose, your lease agreement will always be up-to-date based on current lease and farm laws, farming practices, and other factors. For example, our leases include aspects such as wind rights, hunting rights, proration of periodic lime costs, ownership of GPS data from soil tests, and yield monitor data. You’ll appreciate how the research and experience we provide help determine what your cash rent should be each year.
LEASE TERMINATION Should you decide to terminate the lease with your farm operator, we’ll ensure it’s done in a timely manner and in accordance with state law. We can also help you find a new farm operator and develop a new lease based upon your preferences.
RENT COLLECTION You won’t have to worry about collecting the rent for farmland or buildings. We take care of that for you! Rent is collected in a timely manner based on the terms of the lease. Some lease agreements are set up to collect the entire year’s rent on March 1, while some lease agreements require a portion of rent be paid in March and a portion later in the year. Which option is best for you? We can advise you on the benefits and drawbacks of different collection schedules.
SECRETARY OF STATE FILINGS This paperwork is vital for your protection should your farm operator fail to pay the rent. We’ll ensure the proper paperwork is filed with the Secretary of State. This is especially important when rent is collected after March 1.
PRODUCTION DATA The productivity data for your farm is an important set of information gathered by reviewing soil types, the corn suitability rating, and your farmland’s actual production record. This data helps guide the discussion about various types of lease agreements. We maintain production data so you know how your farmland has performed and the investment return it provides.
DISCOUNTS You and your farm operator may be eligible for additional volume discounts available through our management service for corn and soybean seed. It’s just another way we help maximize your farm’s income potential. We also maximize your income by paying for crop inputs when discounts up to 13% are offered.
DRAINAGE ASSESSMENTS Is your farm in a drainage district? Your best interests will be represented at drainage meetings because we’ll attend them on your behalf. We’ll work with the drainage district to make drainage improvements and repairs when necessary.
CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM (CRP) ACRES If you have CRP acres on your farm, we’ll make sure the payment gets to you in the appropriate amount. We’ll also ensure your CRP acres are maintained in accordance with the CRP contract. Any mowing, weed control, or maintenance that’s necessary will be coordinated for you. When your CRP contract expires, we will advise you about re-enrollment options.
SOIL FERTILITY In order to preserve the overall value of your farmland, it’s important that the natural fertility is not depleted or mined out of it. Using current technology and regular soil tests, a customized soil fertility map of your farmland is created to help with the process of maintaining a proper pH balance. Fertilizer and lime are applied using variable rate technology to put these soil amendments where they’ll give you the best return for your dollar.
BOUNDARIES It’s important to know and maintain your property’s boundaries because poor boundary control can lead to legal battles over ownership rights. Also, if the farm is sold and the boundaries are in question, it can cost thousands of dollars to locate the exact boundaries. Simple routine maintenance and attention helps eliminate this issue. That’s why we walk or drive around your farm’s boundary to ensure it’s clearly marked with corner posts. We work with the farm operator to make certain the boundaries remain clearly intact and that corner posts stay in place or get replaced when needed.
MAXIMIZING INCOME Your farm is a valuable investment. Income potential is maximized when we work with your farm operator to develop farming practices that may help increase crop yields and respect the environment. When your farm operator is successful, your farm becomes more profitable for both of you. We attend hours of seminars, demonstrations, and classes as a commitment to keep your farm operation on the cutting edge of agronomy and as profitable as possible. As a farm management company we’re privy to the latest farming practices, tips, techniques, trials, and data from agri-businesses. That information is used to help us all be more successful.
FARMING PRACTICES In partnership with your farm operator, we review the cropping plan for the coming growing season in detail including seed, fertilizer, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, tillage, and any other crop inputs or tasks. Good stewardship of the land is important, so we encourage techniques where pests won’t become resistant to pesticides.
SOIL CONSERVATION Good stewardship practices play a vital role in the overall value of your farmland. That’s why we may make recommendations about waterways as well as surface and subsurface drainage. If soil is eroding, a grass waterway or other structure may be helpful. We’ll also work to help you get the appropriate government funding.
GENERAL CONSERVATION PRACTICES If your farm has trees or woods, a stream, certain types of fish, or animal habitat there may be conservation practices that are beneficial to employ on your farm. For example, if you have a perennially wet spot on your farm, it may be a good candidate for the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP). Or that spot may just need underground drainage tile installed. Sometimes government funding is available through the local US Department of Agriculture (USDA) office, state funding, or local initiatives.
ANNUAL FARM PROGRAM It’s commonplace for the person operating your farm to complete paperwork on your behalf at the local Farm Service Agency (FSA). We prefer to handle that responsibility to ensure your best interests are represented in a manner most beneficial to you.
GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS There are multiple government incentive programs that may be available for your farm. We go through all the paperwork and details to take advantage of such programs to increase or stabilize your income and to conserve the environment.
INSURANCE Your farm’s liability and property insurance will be reviewed regularly to ensure you’re adequately covered. We’ll work together with your insurance agent and make updates if necessary.
EXPENSES You don’t have to worry about paying the taxes and insurance associated with your farmland….we make that process stress free! We also take time to calculate the percent increase or decrease from year to year in property taxes to ensure it’s accurate and in line with expectations.
You don’t have to hassle with regular bills, either. We analyze and pay all of the bills associated with your farming operation such as seed, fertilizer, chemicals, custom farming, insurance, drainage assessments, tile repairs, and conservation costs. You’d be surprised how often we follow-up with vendors regarding inaccurate invoices!
Frequently Asked Questions:
A. If you are a landowner dealing with all of today’s agricultural technologies, grain markets, environmental concerns, tenant relationships, legalities, and all of the other responsibilities with which landowners are tasked, chances are a partnership with Sunderman Farm Management can be of benefit to you. Our extensive farming knowledge and dedication to customer care can make your operation more organized, productive, and reliable.
Learn more under the WE ARE section to the left.
A. Landowner/Tenant negotiations are very important. There are regulations in place that may differ from state to state with regard to lease terms and termination windows. Add to that the fact that some tenant agreements have existed between landowners and farmers for decades, and you end up with a lot of emotion that can cloud the conversation on both sides. Sunderman Farm Management’s staff are experts at navigating the waters as third-party facilitators with both the knowledge and compassion necessary to come to positive outcomes.
Learn more about Leasing Options under the WE ASSIST WITH section to the left.
A. Sunderman Farm Management has been serving landowners of all levels of engagement and farming experience for more than 58 years. We’re here to help you from the ground up to understand the agricultural landscape and learn what you need to know to make informed decisions about how your farm will operate going forward, no matter how involved – or uninvolved – you want to be.
Learn more about Farming Practices under the WE ASSIST WITH section to the left.
A. At Sunderman Farm Management, we are big supporters of incorporating conservation practices in the farming operation. We can help you determine your sustainability goals, identify the projects and budgets necessary to achieve them, and work with tenants to ensure maximum benefit from the installations. Whether it’s soil retention or drainage water management, the right conservation techniques can improve both your environmental footprint and your farm’s bottom line.
Learn more about Soil Conservation under the WE ASSIST WITH section to the left.
A. As family farmers, we all wish our kids would follow in our footsteps, but sometimes that’s just not the case. Here at Sunderman Farm Management, we understand the hard decisions that must be made when a farm will no longer be owned by family members. We’re here to help you develop and manage a farm succession plan that will reflect your wishes and return the most value possible to your beneficiaries.
Learn more about Continuity under the WE ARE section to the left.