How long have you worked as a specialist with agriculture businesses? Tell us about your experience.
I was born into a dairy farm family outside of Omro, so I’ve been planting crops since I was in 5th Grade. I went to college, and continued to operate my dairy operation during that time. Over the years, I did audits, financial statements and tax returns for large dairies. I have experience in cash cropping—in fact, I still cash crop on land I bought from my parents. And I have a good background with co-ops and how they work financially.
Agriculture is a business, but very different than other businesses. What special advantages do agriculture businesses receive?
There definitely are differences. Most ag businesses deal with cooperatives, so there are patronage dividends and retained allocations that need to be properly reported. There are various agricultural programs they could become involved with. A farmer can depreciate livestock differently from the way most other businesses depreciate their assets. Farmers are also able to expense costs for raising animals that manufacturing entities would normally have to inventory until their products are sold. Agriculture also has a lot of heavy capital investment—the land, livestock, buildings and machinery.
What types of services does Huberty offer agriculture clients?
We’re able to offer payroll services for operations with employees. We’ll provide training in QuickBooks, allowing farmers to do basic accounting. Or, we’ll provide in-house accounting, tax preparation and planning. We can help them with succession planning, to bring the next generation into the business. With larger dairy operations, we can help with cost segregation studies for new facilities to help them accelerate depreciation if necessary.
How can hiring Huberty CPAs benefit my agriculture business?
A lot of accountants won’t deal with farmers because they don’t understand the concept of animals, the heifers, the calves and things like that. If you’re born and raised on a farm, and know the nomenclature, you understand it better than most accountants. There are a lot of different ways we can assist you. We understand your business. You can get financial advice and bounce ideas off of us. With our business experience, we can advise you whether it makes sense to lease a piece of equipment, or buy it. There are various government programs out there of which you might not be aware.
Tell us about an agriculture client success story you’re especially satisfied with.
Last year, we worked with a client who’d filed several years of returns. They’d taken the books to another firm that supposedly had a farmer/accountant on hand. We ended up amending their returns, found a number of state programs that this supposed specialist had completely missed. Our work resulted in several substantial refunds for them. Another way we’ve been very successful is through the use of farm income averaging. Many ag clients are not familiar with how that works, and they’ve been very happy to discover how it can help save them on taxes during the profitable years.
Dean C. Rogers, CPA has a BBA in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and works at Huberty CPA’s Ripon office.