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  • Last modified 107 days ago (Feb. 7, 2018)

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Agent helps farmers with bottom line

Staff writer

The advice Clay Simons of Lincolnville gives to his farmer clients about getting through hard times might work for anyone who manages a business.

He tells them to stay in communication with lenders.

“Don’t ignore the problem,” he said. “Be pro-active.”

As a K-State Farm Management agent, he works out of Hutchinson and helps 90 farmers in south central Kansas. His office employs four economists who serve about 400 farmers. Kevin Herbel of Durham is their director at Manhattan.

Many of Simon’s clients are wheat farmers dealing with low prices and dry conditions.

“Evaporating cash flow and loss of working capital is a big concern right now,” Simons said. “My advice is to get through it as best they can.”

He said if their balance sheets are in good shape, hopefully, they will be OK.

Simons, 55, has been working in farm management since November 2004. He was at Council Grove before transferring to Hutchinson.

He helps farmers set up record-keeping systems, manage taxes, and operate profitably. He does an analysis of a client’s operation, producing a balance sheet to determine costs.

Farmers then can compare their situation with other farmers to see how they can improve their bottom line.

Simons grew up at Happy in the panhandle of Texas, where his father managed a feedlot. By the age of 12, Simons could “do it all,” he said, including grinding feed, loading a feed truck with silage, and feeding cattle in the lot or on wheat pasture.

He graduated from Texas A&M in 1985 and worked as a grain merchant and county agent before moving to Lincolnville in 1999 and pursuing graduate studies in ag economics at Kansas State University. He worked for Barry Flinchbaugh in risk management and farm bill education.

Simons and his wife, Sharon, have three children: Carlye, Ty, and Cacey, all graduates of Centre High School.

Last modified Feb. 7, 2018

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