COLUMBIA, Mo. – Farmers are encouraged to conduct a midyear “farm tuneup” as they approach the middle of 2023. Just as farm equipment needs the occasional tuneup, farm management practices can use proactive examination and adjustment to keep an operation on track for the rest of the year.

University of Missouri Extension recommends five steps for a midyear farm tuneup:

Revisit agricultural budgets

Check enterprise budgets to evaluate projected costs and returns and adjust as needed. By checking the pulse of their operations and using budget calculators, farmers can make management decisions to maximize profits.

Annual production budgets for a range of crop, livestock and forage enterprises are available. There are also customized budgets for southeastern Missouri agricultural enterprises, including cotton, peanuts and rice. Budgets are available for free download at and

Evaluate on-farm labor

Effectively managing labor and maintaining a qualified workforce can help keep farms running smoothly and ready to act on growth opportunities. As part of a farm’s midyear tuneup, MU Extension agricultural economist Ryan Milhollin suggests evaluating current labor needs and assessing employee relations.

“Hiring and keeping good farm labor can be a challenge for operators of all sizes,” said Milhollin. “Having a solid management plan to find and reward productive agricultural workers can position farms for success.”

Extension team members recently developed a suite of how-to videos, checklists and resources for farm labor management that can help operators attract, hire and retain farmworkers. Resources are available at

Compare custom service rates

Whether farmers are seeking custom services or offering services to clients, keeping track of current rates is another component of the midyear farm tuneup. Find median rates for a multitude of farm services by checking the MU Extension guide “Custom Rates for Farm Services in Missouri,” available for download at

This free guide is developed using a statewide survey, conducted every three years, that gleans insights on field work, planting, fertilizer and chemical applications, harvesting and hauling, heavy equipment jobs and more.

Prepare for succession planning

Transition and succession planning is another critical area for farm operations. Farmers should consider conversations and planning steps to allow for ease of transitions in the farming business. To help families navigate this process, MU Extension has developed resources, including worksheets, guides and videos. Download these tools at

Reflect on farm lease arrangements

Before wrapping up a midyear farm tuneup, take quick inventory of current farm leasing arrangements. Communicate with your landowner or tenant about changes to current agreements. Farmers and landowners might be surprised to know that multiple leasing options exist to meet their unique needs, beyond traditional fixed cash or crop-share leases. MU Extension specialist Juo-Han Tsay encourages operators to consider flexible cash leases when revisiting agreements.

“Flexible cash lease agreements allow landowners and tenants to split risks and return more equitably given uncertainty and fluctuation in input costs and prices,” said Tsay.

Tsay and colleagues developed a primer for flexible cash leasing arrangements. Download “Flexible Cash Leases in Missouri” for free at

University of Missouri Extension offers producers a range of decision-making tools and workshops to support farm business management and agricultural landowner decisions. Learn more at and find us on Facebook at