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Hottest Travel Trends For 2015

Hottest Travel Trends For 2015 | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
Travel and tourism continue to prosper globally, hitting a record 1.1 billion arrivals in 2013, up 5.1%.

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planwithdan's curator insight, November 9, 2014 1:53 PM

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Acqualagna the only Cittaslow in Le Marche

Acqualagna the only Cittaslow in Le Marche | Travel & Time | Scoop.it

Italy is home to the Cittaslow movement which combines “Slow Food” with the art of leisurely good living. As delectable dining is one of the great joys of Italy, make time to discover at least one or two of the network’s 70 small towns.

The small city of Acqualagna (pop. 4,000), located just a few kilometres from the magnificent Furlo River Gorge, is known for its centuries-old tradition of truffle gathering, production and marketing. Truffle collectors and merchants who operate on all of the world markets have their offices here or conduct the larger part of their business from Acqualagna. The Acqualagna truffle market has become the preferred venue for the wholesale of truffles: 2/3 of the entire national production (5/600 quintals of all types of truffles) are traded here. The countries which especially prize the product include Germany (the largest European consumer), Belgium, Holland, France (which produces large quantities of black truffles in the South), USA and Canada. [...]


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Stonehenge 'inspired by cave echoes heard by Prehistoric man'

Stonehenge 'inspired by cave echoes heard by Prehistoric man' | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
An archaeology expert believes sound waves reflecting from cave walls would have been mistaken for spirit voices, prompting how the monument's giant rock slabs were positioned

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Informa Boosts Crop Production U.S. Corn Crop Seen at 14.49 BB, Beans at 3.99 BB

- Private analytical firm Informa Economics tweaked its estimates for U.S. corn and soybean production a little higher than last month in a report released Tuesday morning.

 Informa now pegs this year's U.S. corn production at 14.493 billion bushels and soybean production at 3.99 billion bushels. (DTN file photo)

Informa pegged corn production at 14.493 billion bushels, 18 million bushels more than USDA forecast in October.

The national average yield estimate, at 174.4 bushels per acre, is just 0.2 bpa higher than USDA's latest estimate. If realized, the yield estimate would surpass the 2009 yield record by more than 10 bpa. Informa now pegs Illinois corn yield at 202 bpa, up 2 bpa from October.

Soybean production is expected to climb by 64 mb to 3.991 bb from last month's USDA estimate. Informa pegged the national average yield at 47.9 bpa, up from 47.1 bpa last month.

"Informa's estimates were close enough to October's USDA numbers that there was little market reaction on Tuesday," DTN Analyst Todd Hultman said. "The estimates continue to confirm record corn and soybean harvests and a bearish fundamental outlook for corn and soybean prices."

Informa also expects USDA to increase its cotton and grain sorghum production estimates when it releases its next Crop Production and supply and demand reports on Monday, Nov. 10, at 11 a.m. CST.

While Informa didn't release any specific estimates for U.S. wheat, it noted that Nebraska's received 161% of its average rainfall while Kansas has received 112%. While Texas and Oklahoma still trail their averages, Informa said winter wheat's progression is at or above normal with 90% planted and 77% emerged.

Informa also released its global crop report, pegging Brazil and Argentina soybean production at 93 million metric tons and 56 mmt, respectively. Informa's projection for Brazil is 1 mmt lower than USDA's October estimate while Argentina's forecast is 1 mmt higher.

Hultman doesn't think those numbers are a big market-movers just yet, but the market's attention will continue shifting to the South American crop when harvest winds down.

"The only thing I see among world estimates is that Informa is estimating Australia's 2014 wheat crop at 22.0 mmt versus USDA's 25.0 mmt, but they are also expecting a little more in Europe and Argentina, so there is little net effect," Hultman said.

"There may be room for USDA to trim its 2014 wheat crop estimate for Australia, based on dry weather, but that will not be enough to shake wheat prices from their current bearish outlook."

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International Food Prices Hit Four-Year Low

International Food Prices Hit Four-Year Low | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
International prices of food decreased by 6 percent between April and August 2014, reaching a four-year low, according to the latest edition of Food Price Watch

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5 Ways Elite Teams MUST Be Led

5 Ways Elite Teams MUST Be Led | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
"We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations." - Navy SEAL Creed

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Arnold Schwarzeneggers 6 Rules For Success

Arnold Schwarzeneggers 6 Rules For Success | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
You might not realise it but Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most successful people in the world.Learn from his 6 rules for success in this video.
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Real equality is when women have the right to be as drunk and stupid as men - The Guardian

Real equality is when women have the right to be as drunk and stupid as men - The Guardian | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
Jessica Valenti: The freedom to have fun, make mistakes and participate in some youthful irresponsibility shouldn’t be limited to boys

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How Open Data Is Transforming City Life

How Open Data Is Transforming City Life | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
Start a business. Manage your power use. Find cheap rents, or avoid crime-ridden neighborhoods. Cities and their citizens worldwide are discovering the power of “open data”—public data and information available from government and other sources that can help solve civic problems and create new business opportunities.

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GMOs Expose Dangerous Science Disconnect in Agriculture

GMOs Expose Dangerous Science Disconnect in Agriculture | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
A huge gulf exists in farmer attitudes toward science. Growers clearly accept the scientific evidence that modified food is safe while rejecting the scientific evidence that climate change is real and caused by human activity. And this chasm is drive...

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How The Hell Is Rice Actually Harvested? Here's The Answer

How The Hell Is Rice Actually Harvested? Here's The Answer | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
Do you know what goes on from paddy to plate?...

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Syria plans to import 1M tons of wheat - The Daily Star

Syria plans to import 1M tons of wheat - The Daily Star | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
Syria plans to import 1 million tons of wheat as loss of government control over large swaths of farmland and a poor harvest has cut domestic purchases by half, a source at the state’s General Organization for Cereal Processing and Trade (Hoboob)...

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Valle de Guadalupe: The Napa Valley of Mexico - USA Today

Valle de Guadalupe: The Napa Valley of Mexico - USA Today | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
A couple hours from the border, Mexico wine country offers an affordable wine experience.

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Baja By Bus's curator insight, November 18, 2014 1:27 PM

Fresh food and fine wine in peaceful surroundings, an excellent combination!

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Future's Past: How the Theban Mapping Project’s Effort to Document Ancient Egypt Has Also Documented the Contemporary History of Technological Innovation

Future's Past: How the Theban Mapping Project’s Effort to Document Ancient Egypt Has Also Documented the Contemporary History of Technological Innovation | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
The dominant picture of an archaeologist is that of a khaki-clad explorer, probably “intrepid,” outlined in the setting sun of an exotic local, patiently brushing the dust away from a pot partially...

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17 Surreally Creepy Abandoned Places Around The World

17 Surreally Creepy Abandoned Places Around The World | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
These stunning relics of the not-so-distant past are insane.

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Leadership Advice From A Farmer, Emergency Response MD, Harvard Professor And Top Healthcare CIO - Masters and PhDs

Leadership Advice From A Farmer, Emergency Response MD, Harvard Professor And Top Healthcare CIO - Masters and PhDs | Travel & Time | Scoop.it

Healthcare CIOs who are actively champion digital business transformation must carefully watch the recording of our CXOTalk conversation with Dr. Halamka as he talks about navigating the waters of the Affordable Care Act, Meaningful Use policy and big data. His leadership advice garnered from 20 years of experience as a CIO, summed up here, is a must-read for any technology executive.

 

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South Africa: Cultural Center Carved Out of 42 Grain Silos in Cape Town

South Africa: Cultural Center Carved Out of 42 Grain Silos in Cape Town | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
“An amazing hybrid of preservation and transformation, this project involves carving a series stunning spaces inside a huge series of concrete silos set alongside the waterfront of Cape Town. Once t...”
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Despite strong revenue, investors aren’t pleased with Twitter’s Q3. Here’s why

Despite strong revenue, investors aren’t pleased with Twitter’s Q3. Here’s why | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
Twitter’s user growth rate is on the decline which has shareholders worried about the future of the company. On the earnings call, CEO Dick Costolo said, “It’s more critical than ever that we increase our pace of execution.”

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Europe v Silicon Valley: Why investors “need to get their hands dirty” - Startups.co.uk: Starting a business advice and business ideas

Europe v Silicon Valley: Why investors “need to get their hands dirty” - Startups.co.uk: Starting a business advice and business ideas | Travel & Time | Scoop.it

Read on to find out what the UK’s key players have to say about Europe’s funding scene and why Saul Klein advises that investors “need to get their hands dirty”…

The Europe v Silicon Valley debate is one that often crops up in the investment world but, on the back of recent news that European start-ups have raised over $2.8bn in the last quarter of 2014, it would appear that Europe is now going someway to creating its own tech cluster to rival that of the San Francisco hub.

Given this growth in European investments and London’s evolving technology community, it’s no surprise that some of the biggest names in venture capital were keen to weigh in on the topic at this week’s inaugural TechCrunch Disrupt.

In a panel discussion which saw Passion Capital’s Eileen Burbridge, Index Ventures’ Saul Klein, Accel Partners’  Philippe Botteri, and Balderton Capital’s Daniel Waterhouse take to the stage, questions were posed in regards to Europe’s “incestuous” investment communities, access to talent, and, more controversially, what “went wrong with Wonga”.

Read on to find out what the UK’s key players have to say about Europe’s funding scene and why Saul Klein advises that investors “need to get their hands dirty”…

What’s your take on European tech start-ups- how is the eco-system progressing?

Saul Klein: “I think we will pretty likely see a couple of European $10m exits in the next two or three years. Europe is still a pretty young eco-system. The Silicon Valley eco-system is producing these $50, $100, $200bn exits but it’s 30 or 40 years old.

“The European eco-system is really only 10 or 20 years old so I actually think the fact that in the last 12 months we’ve seen about 10 multi-billion dollar exits coming out of Europe is an indication of the way that things are really starting.

“We’re [Index Ventures] very bullish on the prospects.”

Eileen Burbridge: “The eco-system is developing. We’re seeing more successes in the earlier stages than the big A rounds – it does take time to realise that kind of value.”

In Europe, the common problems are lack of access to capital and talent – how far are we from addressing these problems?

Phillippe Botteri: “We’ve made a lot of leeway. If you look at how the system is progressing, especially in tech and financial, […] we’re already seeing this flurry of exits […] I think its progressing quite fast.

“There’s a lot of fresh capital to be deployed in Europe”

“In the next three or five years we’ll see some very interesting things. Look at this panel there’ a lot of fresh capital to be deployed here [in Europe] so it doesn’t feel to me that there is a lack of capital at this point.”

Is the funding pool in Europe as widely distributed as Silicon Valley?

Klein: “I think that it is starting to change. I mean it’s a fair criticism of the first and second waves of European companies but I think […] when you start to combine the alumni that are coming out of the LoveFilm’s, the Skype’s, the Zoopla’s, the JustEat’s etc., it seems […] that today’s entrepreneurs and investors have a much more Silicon Valley attitude to options and the fair distribution of the rewards.”

Botteri: “It’s part of the evolution of the eco-system.”

Some of the most promising European start-ups either move to the US or build a large presence there, it seems like that’s an approach you encourage – is that a fair assessment?

Botteri: “It really depends on the type of company and sector. If you take a company like BlaBlaCar, the ride sharing platform, the company started in Europe but if you look at the US market it didn’t get going for different reasons and the driving is much lower so it made a lot more sense to expand in Europe and other markets like Russia, Brazil, India actually before the US.”

Klein: “I agree with Botteri, it depends on the company but I also think that historically entrepreneurs were drawn naturally to the Bay (Silicon Valley) area – ZenDesk is a good example, those guys started in Copenhagen and then decided that San Francisco, for a SaaS enterprise software company, was the right place to scale up their organisation and they pretty much moved there. Other companies in our portfolio like Sleep.io want to be close to the key platforms like Apple and Google and establish a presence there.”

“The Europe versus Silicon Valley issue is really pretty old school”

“My view is the best entrepreneurs nowadays go where the opportunities are and they’re often building organisations that are multi location. It happens that as companies evolve, even for the biggest European and US companies, the UK becomes one of their biggest markets such as Twitter, HP, Cisco, Microsoft, eBay – the UK is their second or third biggest market and their most profitable. This has an effect on what the eco-system in Europe is, we have great developer organisations and very important research and development going on in Europe so I think the Europe versus Silicon Valley issue is really pretty old school.”

Could you build a successful tech company entirely out of Europe?

Klein: “Like Skype?!”

Burbridge: “Yes definitely. Saul and I were involved in Skype, I know that that was 2003 so nine years old now but that company for various reasons specifically didn’t target the US and all of its growth is outside of the US. They never had an office in the US until it became acquired by eBay.

“Other examples include QXL and LastFM, both had really dominant presences in Europe.”

Could a US-based entrepreneur start-up in Europe first?

Burbridge: ”Yes! Take Y-Combinator (YC) for example, a lot of entrepreneurs went over to the US for YC and actually decided to come back to Europe and London to start their companies. So 100%. It can sometimes make a lot more sense for people to focus on what they’re doing here in Europe without the noise, distraction and competing for talent like you might have to do in the US.”

“For urban and tech, London is an amazing place to start a business”

Klein: “It also depends on the sector and the market you’re targeting. SongKick is a good example of that. Seven years ago they were alumni of YC when YC was still in Boston and they came to London to start a company because they’re in the business of helping people to discover live music – London is the largest live music market in the world so why wouldn’t you be here?

“If you look at Citymapper for example which is about navigating and getting round cities, London is the number one English speaking city on Twitter and Facebook so for urban and tech London is an amazing place to start your business, same with financial services and I think we’ll see that more.”

Daniel Waterhouse: “There’s some great talent in Europe. Take Roli for instance, they’re a hardware company, and they can find scientists, software engineers, great developers, marketeers – a massive breadth which they’ve been able to get out of London.”

Burbridge: “I think it’s worth going deeper with some other examples such as Nutmeg , it got funding from US investors but launched in UK because the Financial Conduct Authority has a much more progressive view on regulation than the United States.”

Botteri: “For any start-up you want to be where the talent is and the talent in Europe is good.”

Klein: “Some of the biggest online fashion businesses are coming out of Europe, Asos, Netaporter etc.”

Is the investment community in the UK incestuous?

Burbridge: “It’s growing. I’ve been here for 10 years and invested for four/five years as an angel and I think it is growing now. We’ve seen 10 times the amount of investment in London just over the last four years.

“We’ve seen 10 times the amount of investment in London over the last four years”

“By nature and definition that means there’s probably two or three times the number of funds that were here five years ago It’s less the same people, fortunately the investors that have been successful are still doing it which is fantastic but we’ve got more and more new funds coming in every single year – Google Ventures EU being one of the latest.

“What’s good is that there is more choice for entrepreneurs and it’s bringing best practices to the forefront.”

When there’s more choice in investors, does that make your job more difficult?

Klein: “The best companies have a lot of capital available to them, not just in Europe but internationally and I think entrepreneurs really have not just choice, but we collectively see the best deals, we’re chasing the best deals and have to compete to get in tthose deals. Today capital is more or less a commodity, the tech stack whether it’s open source or cloud is relatively commoditised. Investors should work really hard to get into the best deals because they can demand a lot and they should.”

What’s the value add for start-ups using European investors?

Waterhouse: ”It’s a bit about shortcuts. Entrepreneurs going on an impossible journey – they’ve got to overcome so many things and the more they can shortcut some of those challenges albeit leveraging our portfolio or experience, it’s really about avoiding mistakes.

“An investor needs to get their hands dirty”

Klein: In the last year I’ve started a company and it’s been an amazing experience to go back to the drawing board. In the last 12 months We’ve [Index Ventures] done 31 seed to Series A or bootstrapped growth rounds – an investor needs to get their hands dirty whether they’ve been an operator or not. It’s about getting involved in the team. [...] Investors need to be in it for the long term game.”

Botteri: “We’re trying to bring Silicon Valley experience to the European eco-system.”

Two of the firms here (Balderton and Accel) invested in Wonga, was it a bad idea to invest in or was the execution of the idea flawed?

Botteri: “No comment.”

Waterhouse: ”Wonga have come out and said they’re working closer with the FCA, they’ve been pretty clear about what they’re doing now and how they’re moving forward.”

Burbridge: “I know the least about this but I don’t think pay-day lending on the high street is a great industry right. I think there was probably a lot of education around that which probably didn’t get updated for that kind of transaction online. I can’t see how any investor or the founds would go in and try and take advantage of a situation and try and extract as much money as possible.

“Investors are looking at the long-term game”

“I’m sure it was all very well intended to bring efficiency to what is not a very perfect system to begin with. My observation is they’re trying to correct it – I think it’s very clear that investors are looking at the long term game, we’re interested in proving the economy, creating more efficiencies and creating value from that. That doesn’t mean trying to play certain industries as that would be very short-term.”

Lastly, what are the biggest opportunities going forward? Tech trends?

Klein: ”Strengths in Europe are retail and financial services etc. One of the new things that I see is interesting is Deepmind Technologies which Google Acquired and Swiftkey is also really interesting.

“It’s [...]the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and deep technology. Google has AI and smart tech in abundance – AI and natural language is really exciting [...] really using data to find out information in new ways [...] it’s going to make a big difference.”

Waterhouse: ”Hardware is interesting in Europe as we have the talent and design skillset to build interesting stuff.”

Botteri: ” Already we’re seeing cloud computing, Big Data, cloud infrastructure and e-commerce enablement. The things that are more emerging are new competing platforms and devices, they’re evolving.”

Burbridge: ”I’m really interested in information security and cyber security.”

 

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

 

 


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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, October 26, 2014 9:42 AM

Great discussion with some insiders in VC in UK. This really illustrates the situation for Europe.

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Thief robs school on Big Island during Hurricane Ana - Hawaii News Now

Thief robs school on Big Island during Hurricane Ana - Hawaii News Now | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
A burglar ripped off the Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter school on the Big Island last weekend. ...
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Whether You are Democrat or Republican, What Races To Watch | Todays News

Whether You are Democrat or Republican, What Races To Watch | Todays News | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
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Tips to Create PowerPoint Infographic on Renewable Energy

Tips to Create PowerPoint Infographic on Renewable Energy | Travel & Time | Scoop.it

Create compelling PowerPoint infographics to spread awareness on renewable energy. 


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Rekha Sridhar's curator insight, October 23, 2014 9:33 PM

Visual aids like PowerPoint infographics come handy to educate and create awareness on renewable sources of energy. Here is a look at Kizee’s Renewable Energy Infographic Template for PowerPoint that helps communicate ideas instantly and visually.

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Cash Will Be King Time to Get Finances in Order

Cash Will Be King Time to Get Finances in Order | Travel & Time | Scoop.it

When grain markets began their free fall, Indiana farmer Gordon Millar eyed his farm's financial projections and knew he needed to come up with more cash to keep his lender happy and his operation prepared for tough years ahead. During hard times, working capital would be king.

 Gordon Millar (shown here with his father David on left) recently boosted cash reserves by refinancing farm equipment he had bought for cash over the last 12-18 months. (DTN photo by Marcia Zarley Taylor)

"In 2013, we had the most profitable year we ever had, and I've been aggressive in pre-selling our 2014 crop, which should keep us above breakeven this year," the New Carlisle, Ind., farmer said. But 2015 shows negative profit margins, even for an operator with crops as diverse as tomatoes, seed corn, sod and row crops of corn, soybeans and wheat.

"My goal was to lock in historically low fixed rates and ideally not have to borrow any short-term money," said Millar. He's been farming full-time less than a decade and bought out his parents, David and Renee, several years ago.

Farmers in the 1980s discovered what can happen when interest rates start stretching higher. "It was nasty for people who were victims of exploding interest rates," said Mark Nowak, retired Minnesota banker, now farmer and farm consultant in Wells, Minn.

While many farmers' financial situations are more secure now than 30 years ago, agriculture is still vulnerable to interest rate shifts. In a DTN August online poll, about 20% of the respondents said their operation could not handle an increase in interest rates. One in eight said a rate hike of 1% or 2% would be trouble. Twenty percent worried about a rate hike over 2%. On the other hand, 44% of the poll respondents said a short-term interest rate hike would not affect their operation since they borrowed so little money.

The problem for borrowers is that the Federal Reserve remains on course to begin raising short-term rates in 2015. Once that happens, Farm Credit System lenders expect rates to jump as much as 200 to 300 basis points in a 24-36 month period (see Minding Ag's Business "Defend Against Reversals of Fortune," http://goo.gl/…)

"When interest rates start to rise, it's too late to take advantage because markets move so fast," cautioned David Lynn, a senior vice president at Louisville-based Farm Credit Mid-America.

Millar restructured his debt by refinancing equipment that he had purchased for cash in the past 12-18 months. This effectively gave him working capital cash on a fixed, five-to-seven-year note. "I knew my lender was concerned about lending on specialty crops and this helped reduce my exposure to interest rate hikes," said Millar, who had worked for Farm Credit Services for three years before returning to the farm. "I looked at my 12-month cash flow needs and figured out how much I needed to get through the lowest point. I want to have enough liquidity so I don't have to borrow operating funds for more than six months in a year."

Bankers today are looking at minimums of 30% of gross revenue for farmers to have on-hand as working capital. "I would like to see that at 50%, heading into low-profit years," said Nowak.

"It's easier to restructure your balance sheet now when farm values are still relatively high, income statements from the past three years are still favorable for credit standards and interest rates are historically low," Nowak added. That picture may change 12 months from now.

"If you wait a year or two and the cost of production is higher and your cash is drained and you have no cash flow, you won't have the strength in your balance sheet and income statement to re-finance," said Bob Campbell, a senior vice president with Omaha-based Farm Credit Services of America. "Now is the time to tweak your income statement to give it some breathing room."

 Gordon Millar (shown here with his father David on left) recently boosted cash reserves by refinancing farm equipment he had bought for cash over the last 12-18 months. (DTN photo by Marcia Zarley Taylor)

Even locking in a one-year fixed rate may look smart a year from now. FCS Mid-America is offering operating lines of credit as low as 2.99% on a one-year fixed rate.

"My goal is to have as much cash as I possibly can," said Millar, but he is not opposed to borrowing short-term money to help him achieve his tax-saving strategy. "Right now, I plan to borrow some short-term money at current low rates to pre-pay 2015 crop inputs. Then, I'll pay that off in January," Millar explained.

Managing taxes is getting as much attention from Millar as managing his interest rate costs. "I think farmers are going to hit a wall at the end of 2015 where they have no equipment write-offs and they don't have the money to pre-pay expenses. They'll have income from the previous year's crop but no deductions," he said.

Millar aims to show a minimum taxable income of 1.4 times the principal payments on non-depreciable assets. "Looking ahead, I want to be sure I don't incur excessive tax liability," said Millar as he plans his 2014 and 2015 income tax strategies.

"My dad always said, 'It's not the decisions in the bad times that will kill you. It's the bad decisions in the good times that will get you. The good times we've had in agriculture the past couple years have covered a lot of bad decisions in ag," Millar noted. He is hoping his attention to details and conservative financial strategy will help carry him through the tough times ahead

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Europeans Lactose Intolerant 5k Years Post Farming - Laboratory Equipment

Europeans Lactose Intolerant 5k Years Post Farming - Laboratory Equipment | Travel & Time | Scoop.it
By analyzing DNA extracted from the petrous bones of skulls of ancient Europeans, scientists have identified that these peoples remained intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agricultural practices and 4,000 years after the onset...

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