Judges like House court funding plan

first_imgJudges like House court funding plan Judges like House court funding plan Associate EditorThe House plan to shift funding of the courts from counties to the state passed unanimously out of both the Select Committee on Article V and the Subcommittee on Judicial Appropriations, leaving judges feeling upbeat for a change.“We are pleased with the bill overall. That does not mean we do not have a few small things that we think need some tweaking,” Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge Susan Schaeffer, chair of the Supreme Court’s Trial Court Budget Commission, told the committee’s chair, Rep. Holly Benson, R-Pensacola, on April 4.“Quite frankly, where we were and where we are, what I am saying is we have come a long way. And mostly because of Madam Chair and her openness and willingness to work with us.”On April 15, Judge Schaeffer told the appropriations subcommittee: “We’ve come a long way, and we’ve come a little further today.”Improvements to the bill, from the judges’ perspective, were the creation of a contingency fund for the trial courts for budget shortfalls and unexpected due-process costs in the funding transition, as has been provided for the state attorneys, public defenders, and conflict counsel.More importantly, a successful amendment added “case management” as another necessary item the state agrees to pay for in the funding shift.“Case management, we have determined to be an essential element of the trial court. We don’t think we can do without it,”b Judge Schaeffer told the appropriations subcommittee chaired by Rep. Joe Negron, R-Stuart.“The chief judges were up here yesterday and feel we would be in dire straights without it.”The amendment adding “case management” was offered by Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas, R-Miami, who said, “We are going to gum up the system without it.”But Benson opposed it, saying, “My concern is there is a fiscal impact we haven’t considered.. . In the interest of moving this bill forward, and presenting it for an appropriate decision in conference, I am opposed to it.”So was Negron, who said, “I think the words ‘case management’ are open to a lot of interpretation and would include issues beyond what the state should reasonably pay for.”But adding case management to the state’s responsibility was supported by Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Pompano Beach, who said: “At the start of this process, many months ago, we talked about the issue of separation of powers. I think, at times, some of our funding issues have been so drastic that we have infringed on that separation of powers by not providing the independence to the judiciary that they need to handle their own affairs and their own budget.”Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, added his support, saying that in Dade County, the caseload is “so grave and so crushing that without this, judges will almost be unable to move the docket. I think this is consistent with the constitutional imperative we are under. And we need to figure out the best way to fund it.”Another big relief for the TCBC, Judge Schaeffer said, was retooling the makeup and role of what is called the Article V Indigent Services Advisory Board that will advise the legislature about cost containment strategies and policies, as well as qualifications and compensation standards governing such expenditures as court-appointed counsel, court reporters, and court interpreters.In earlier discussions, the members of the board were to be appointed by the governor to make binding policy decisions on due-process costs and court employees. Now, the board is advisory, and the chief justice will be allowed to appoint one-quarter of the board members. The others on the 12-member board will be appointed by the governor, the Senate president, and the House speaker.“That was a huge separation of powers issue,” Judge Schaeffer said. “There were lots of discussions and lots of give-and-take, and lots of meetings. Finally, we wanted to make it clear it wasn’t that we were trying to be aloof and say we were too good to participate. And maybe we could have taken that position. But we are a joint user of those due-process costs, along with state attorneys and public defenders and conflict counsel. They are volatile costs. For us to remain aloof and say we don’t want to be part of the solution, really, wouldn’t be right.”Now the trial courts will have important input, Judge Schaeffer said.“We can make sure they have good qualifications and reasonable fees. We believe it can work. Now, is it something the Supreme Court will be happy we gave in on? We don’t know, because we didn’t consult them on that. This is a Trial Court Budget Commission due-process cost. Of course, the chief justice gave the TCBC the rein to go negotiate. We negotiated.”Negotiations to allow drug courts to remain in the statutes as a mandatory program financed by the state were passionate, but failed in the end.Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Dania Beach, offered an amendment to put drugs courts back in, as they appear in current law.Extolling the successes of drug courts that have “exceeded expectations” in saving costs of incarceration and saving lives, Ryan said: “What we have is a system that works perfectly fine. When we were instructed by the voters that we had to take on the cost of the court system, we were not instructed to throw away, to overhaul, the programs that have operated so successfully.”Ryan’s amendment was supported by Seiler and Gelber.“We don’t want to limit all of our courts, our core courts, to the least common denominator of stuff in the tool box,” Gelber said.But Benson, Rep. Mark Mahon, R-Jacksonville, Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, and Negron joined in defeating the amendment.“This has a $2.8 million fiscal impact,” Negron said. “The treatment that goes on, that is a therapeutic endeavor. While it’s important, it is not a courthouse function. If the counties want that function of the courts to continue, the counties can certainly pay for it.”At the end of the meeting, there was heaping of praise on Benson for shepherding the complex Article V bill through the House committee.“I am very proud of the product. It is very comprehensive and thoughtful. I wish we had more time,” Benson said, adding that there is next year to finalize details for the transition by the July 1, 2004 deadline. “Some critics would argue that the state should simply assume responsibility for the 67 county systems that exist without question, that Revision 7 to Article V is merely a funding shift,” Benson wrote in a newspaper column.“To define our mission this narrowly would have been short-sighted and a misunderstanding of the amendment.. . . This proposal, and the praise the Select Committee on Article V has received from our judiciary, makes plainly evident that the House remains committed to preserving a judicial system that works for the people of Florida; a judicial system which will be just, responsive, and responsible for our citizens.”At the Select Committee meeting, April 4, Rep. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples, complimented Benson on her leadership and “outstanding effort.”“Notwithstanding some of what has been written in our various media about the House plan up until today, this is the first bill that we’ve considered. And I think that’s a very important issue,” Goodlette said.“We have been looking at opportunities to enhance the quality of our civil justice system. We have looked at ways we can work more closely with our clerks and with our counties. This has been a collaborative effort.”Here are some of the highlights of the House Article V plan:• The state will pay for state attorneys, public defenders, court-appointed counsel and the state courts system defined as “judges, judicial assistants, law clerks, and resource materials; juror compensation, court reporting services, auxiliary aids, appellate court facilities, interpreters, Judicial Qualifications Commission, masters and hearing officers, mediation and arbitration, basic legal materials accessible to the public, administrative services in support of these functions, offices of appellate clerks, and appellate law libraries.” Case management was added to that list in an amendment.• Specialty courts – such as drug courts – are now optional for counties. While the state will continue to fund judges, state attorneys, and public defenders, the counties must now secure other funding for costs related to specialty courts.• The clerks of courts will provide nonlegal advice assistance to pro se litigants.• Criminal defendants’ eligibility for public defenders has been made tougher by lowering the income level from 250 percent to 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Benson explained it was an attempt to make that consistent with other state public assistance guidelines. State-funded indigency examiners will be assigned to the clerks of court. And it will cost defendants a $40 fee to the clerk to apply for court-related services based on indigency. The right for an individual to have indigency determination reviewed by the court is preserved.A. Russell Smith, legislative affairs chair for the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, warned it is “going to create a pool of people who don’t qualify for the public defender but can’t afford to hire a lawyer. Ask the trial judges what happens when an unrepresented defendant in a felony case says, ‘I don’t want to plead guilty, I want my trial.’ Like a pebble in a pond, the ripple effect of this is it ends up costing far more on the back end of the system than it does to adequately fund the defense.”• Legal aid programs are included as a local requirement of the state courts system. Exempted from this requirement are counties with populations less than 75,000.“I urge my colleagues to support this,” said Gelber, who offered the amendment along with Benson, Goodlette, and Negron.“I know counties may have some consternation about making it a local requirement. But I think everybody should understand why.. . . It’s very important to note that whoever funds legal services, there should never be any question that there is support.”Goodlette explained the amendment this way: When a sentence regarding service charges in excess of certain amounts was deleted from the bill, it signaled alarm that they were eliminating funding of legal aid altogether.“And nothing could be further from our intent,” Goodlette said. “We felt it was important to insert something back in to point out that was indeed not our intent. This is the language. And if needs to be tweaked, with respect to the smaller counties of 75,000 or fewer, whether that becomes a local option rather than a local requirement, and if we have to look at issues of funding because of provisions that now provide that the clerks now receive these funds, we’ll do that. But the most important message that this amendment is designed to address is that we want to ensure not only the viability, but we want to enhance the legal aid programs at the local level. And that’s the only goal for this amendment.”Still, Rep. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, said: “I am concerned about the poorest of the poor.. . . I will support the amendment, but with a great deal of consternation, because I don’t think it fixes the problem.”Kent Spuhler, statewide director of Florida Legal Services, Inc., said: “We very much thank you for continuing to provide this opportunity so we will be able to work with our local counties. There will be great challenges to make sure it works.. . . No one partner can afford to do it all, but we hope that we can continue to work with the counties and talking to you about the state partnership. We have partnerships with the Bar and the court system. Hopefully, this will give us the window to continue in that partnership and continue to serve some of your most vulnerable citizens.”• Generally requires that fees, service charges, and court costs will be imposed as a matter of law, rather than by court order. Generally eliminates waiver of fees, charges, and costs. Preserves judicial discretion regarding the imposition of fines and penalties. Requires court clerks to enter into payment plans with those unable to pay court-related fees, charges, and costs.“For those who are found guilty in our courts, they ought to be paying. And we’re going to ensure that,” Benson said.• A draft of the bill raised the ceiling of county court civil cases from $15,000 to $30,000, but was put back to the status quo by an amendment by Negron.“I am temporarily declaring a loss on this issue,” Negron said, adding that the overall issue is that county judges are often used to handle matters for circuit judges.“I think in the next year we need to come to a conclusion to either have one tier of judges where all judges can do everything, or we need to follow the constitution that says you are county court judges and you deal with certain types of cases, or you are circuit court judges and you deal with certain types of cases. These legal fictions we’ve created of temporary assignments and appointments have blurred the distinction between the two. I think we need to revise our constitution and our statutes rather than the current system. But given the fact that we are trying to move the bill forward, I am offering this amendment to return us to the status quo,” he said.Benson said the single-tier system is something the National Center for State Courts recommended they discuss, but it would require a constitutional amendment.Goodlette added that both the county and circuit judges conferences have discussed the issue, and it would be an appropriate subject for an interim study, but not to be debated at this time.• A 13-member technology work group, made up of chief information officers, will be created to issue recommendations “to facilitate examination of data needs, access across multiple systems, and sharing of information.”“If we want a state court system,” Benson said, “we need to talk about ‘How do you share data?’” April 30, 2003 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

World Health Assembly addresses pandemic flu

first_imgMay 19, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The world has an unprecedented warning that pandemic influenza may be imminent, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report that urges swift action to prevent global illness and death.A WHO report, “Strengthening pandemic influenza preparedness and response,” is slated for discussion tomorrow at the organization’s annual World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva.Although distinct from the recent report produced by experts convened by the WHO in Manila on May 6 and 7, this document makes similar points about the threat of a flu pandemic.”The virus may be evolving in ways that increasingly favor the start of a pandemic,” the report states, later adding, “The ecology of the disease and behavior of the virus have created multiple opportunities for a pandemic virus to emerge.”Changes have occurred since a year ago, when the WHO advocated eliminating the virus in its animal reservoir. Experts now agree it is endemic in parts of Asia, and the public health focus is shifting to reducing the risk for people exposed to H5N1, particularly subsistence farmers, and improving response to illness, such as with a vaccine. However, the report says, creation of a vaccine “has moved forward, but not with a speed appropriate to the urgency of the situation.”Vaccines against H5N1 are being made and tested now, although the virus has changed since the current vaccine seed stock was created.The WHO report suggests that vaccine against the H5 subtype should be produced in bulk and stored.”Even if the actual pandemic H5 subtype virus shows mutational changes when compared with the current H5N1 strain, a vaccine that is protective against infection due to that strain could confer almost as much protection,” WHO said. “Stockpiles of an H5N1 vaccine would be useful in the early phase of a pandemic when large-scale production of a vaccine has not yet been initiated.”The report also emphasizes the importance of preparedness, particularly stressing vigilance for clusters of respiratory disease cases in affected countries.The meeting about pandemic flu caps a week of high-profile discussions on the topic that began May 16, when the WHO director-general sounded a warning as he convened the annual assembly.Calling avian flu “the most serious known health threat the world is facing today,” Lee Jong-wook, MD, MPH, noted the importance of the window of time between hints of a pandemic and its actual occurrence.”By good fortune we have had time—and still have time—to prepare for the next global pandemic, because the conditions for it have appeared before the outbreak itself. We must do everything in our power to maximize that preparedness,” he said.Mike Leavitt, US secretary of health and human services, said in Geneva on May 16 that transparency, strong surveillance, and communication are essential parts of a response. Leavitt’s remarks were posted on the US State Department’s Web site.Leavitt also urged strong international collaboration, with an emphasis on developed countries effectively helping developing countries control the virus and treat patients. He urged health ministers to support a draft resolution on pandemic preparedness and response, offered by the United States and several other nations, saying it “provides a good blueprint for action.”The WHO’s top flu official, Klaus Stohr, emphasized that fast response is important, according to a story published today by Agence France-Presse. “We are working on pandemic preparedness on borrowed time,” he said.While health officials in Geneva discussed the possible pandemic, new avian flu developments were reported in Asia:A positive serum sample from a poultry worker has led to concerns about human H5N1 infection in Indonesia, which has been plagued with poultry outbreaks. The worker, from hard-hit South Sulawesi province, is being retested, according to an Associated Press (AP) story May 18. He has shown no signs of illness, the AP reported. The WHO said the serum sample was positive for avian flu antibodies, which on its own doesn’t constitute a confirmed case. The worker returned to health officials for more blood tests, which are expected to be done within 2 weeks. Indonesia has tested 83 people for exposure to H5N1, according to an earlier report in the Jakarta Post. This is the first positive finding.Chinese authorities confiscated contaminated eggs from Vietnam hidden in the carry-on luggage of two airline passengers on separate flights, according to The Standard newspaper of China. Dogs sniffed out the 45 chicken, duck, and goose eggs Apr 28. The duck and goose eggs tested positive for the presence of H5N1 virus, the newspaper said.Thailand and Hong Kong are collaborating to create an Asian bank of influenza vaccine and antiviral drugs, the Thai News Agency (MCOT) said today. The countries will establish a bank of the antiviral drug oseltamivir and serve as a regional resource in event of a pandemic flu, a Thai official announced yesterday in Geneva. The collaboration will help link Hong Kong’s expertise in laboratory diagnosis with Thailand’s expertise in epidemiology, said Thailand’s health minister, Suchai Charoenratanakul. The partnership also will include research and the exchange of lab samples of the virus, the story noted.See also: WHO draft report “Strengthening Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response”http://www.wpro.who.int/entity/emerging_diseases/documents/docs/A58_13en.pdfDraft resolutions presented at WHA meeting; pandemic flu resolution is EB115.R16http://www.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB115-REC1/e/Resolutions.pdflast_img read more

Egypt, Vietnam report new H5N1 cases

first_imgFeb 9, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Egypt’s health ministry reported that an 18-month-old Egyptian boy has been hospitalized with an H5N1 avian influenza infection, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today, following news reports yesterday that a 23-year-old Vietnamese woman is also battling the virus.The boy, from Menia governorate, got sick on Feb 6 and was hospitalized the next day at Maghagha Fever Hospital, where he is in stable condition, according to the WHO. His illness boosts Egypt’s H5N1 case count to 55, of which 23 have been fatal.The boy received oseltamivir (Tamiflu) treatment, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported today.Egypt’s Central Public Health Laboratory confirmed the boy’s infection. Menia governorate is about 100 miles south of Cairo.An investigation into the source of the boy’s illness found that he had close contact with dead poultry before he got sick, the WHO report said.So far this year Egypt has had four H5N1 cases, and all were in children age 2 or younger who had contact with sick or dead poultry. None of the children have died, and all received prompt hospital care after they got sick, according to WHO reports.In Vietnam, a hospital official from Quang Ninh province said a 23-year-old woman has an H5N1 infection, according to a report today from Agence France-Presse (AFP). If the woman’s case is confirmed by the WHO, she will become Vietnam’s 108th case, of which 52 have been fatal.A doctor from the provincial hospital told AFP yesterday that the woman has been hospitalized for 5 days and is “not doing very good.” She is Vietnam’s first official H5N1 case of the year. The country’s last case, an 8-year-old girl from Thanh Hoa province, got sick on Dec 27, so the WHO counted her infection as a 2008 case. She has since recovered.The woman got sick on Jan 28 after eating chicken, AFP reported. Sick and dead poultry had been reported in her neighborhood. Quang Ninh is on Vietnam’s northeastern coast.If the WHO confirms the Vietnamese patient, the two new cases would push the global H5N1 case count to 407 cases, 254 of them fatal.See also:Feb 9 WHO statementlast_img read more

FIFA disappointed by ‘unfair, misleading’ reports over The Best Awards

first_imgFIFA has hit out at “unfair and misleading” reports about votes not being counted towards ‘The Best Awards’.Nominations for Mohamed Salah from Egypt’s captain and coach were not included, while Nicaragua captain Juan Barrera claimed on Twitter he did not vote although his name is listed on FIFA’s official documentation.FIFA said this week in a statement released to Omnisport that Egypt’s votes were not counted as they seemed “not valid” due to signatures in capital letters and world football’s governing body has again moved to clarify the issue.“FIFA has been disappointed to see a number of reports in the media questioning the integrity of the voting process for The Best FIFA Football Awards,” said a statement yesterday. “These reports are unfair and misleading.“The voting procedure for each of the awards is supervised and monitored by an independent observer, in this case PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Switzerland.“FIFA and PwC follow the Rules of Allocation and relevant standard control procedures. As per these procedures, FIFA requested all member associations to submit their voting forms both electronically and in writing.“The written documents must also be signed by the responsible persons of the association as well as by the persons authorised to vote. Therefore in order for a vote to be valid it must include the respective signatures and the member association’s stamp.“Both FIFA and the independent observer can demonstrate that all the votes submitted in accordance with the rules and within the deadlines were taken into account. Consequently, there is no doubt whatsoever as to the authenticity of the result.“Should there have been any case of wrongdoing, and even if this did not affect the result of the vote, FIFA will investigate and apply sanctions where necessary.”Salah appeared to be upset when FIFA’s full list of voting was released without hiscountry’s selections, reportedly removing a reference to Egypt from his Twitter bio.He also posted a cryptic message that read: “Whatever they do to try to change my love for Egypt, they will not succeed.” (Yahoo Sport)last_img read more

Half-time: QPR 0 Ipswich 0

first_imgJunior Hoilett was in the thick of the action as Bartosz Bialkowski kept QPR at bay during a largely one-sided first half at Loftus Road.The Ipswich keeper produced a double save after just 30 seconds, pushing away Matt Phillips’ shot and Massimo Luongo’s follow-up.And Hoilett missed a great chance for Rangers when he was unable to find a way past Bialkowski after Phillips’ low cross fell to the Canadian at the far post.Hoilett then had a long-range effort saved and, on 27 minutes, elected to shoot rather than square the ball for Phillips or Conor Washington, and again Bialkowski made the save.The lively Hoilett also curled an effort wide of the target five minutes before the break, and James Perch fired into the side netting following good work on the right by Phillips.In the final minute of the half, Hoilett was involved yet again, this time volleying wide after being teed up by Sebastian Polter’s lay-off.Washington is making his full debut, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – who is still waiting for his first home win as R’s boss – having opted to start with both the recent signing and Polter up front in a 4-4-2 formation.New signing Nasser El Khayati is among the QPR substitutes.QPR (4-4-2): Smithies; Perch, Onuoha, Hall, Konchesky; Phillips, Faurlin, Luongo, Hoilett; Washington, Polter.Subs: Ingram, Chery, Mackie, El Khayati, Angella, Tozser, Petrasso.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Chinese bank invests in SA

first_imgChina’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), has offered to purchase a 20% stake in Standard Bank, South Africa’s largest bank by assets and earnings, for US$5.5-billion, representing the largest foreign direct investment in the country to date.The majority state-owned ICBC will pay cash for the stake, estimated at R36.7-billion, which now surpasses the R33-billion that British-based Barclays Bank paid for just over 50% of Absa Bank in 2005.The deal is also the largest investment by a Chinese bank outside China. Of this value, Standard Bank will receive R15.9-billion in new core equity capital and existing shareholders will receive R20.7-billion.“A partnership between Standard bank and ICBC is attractive as each party brings numerous complementary benefits to the relationship,” Standard Bank Group chief executive Jacko Maree said in a statement.“Both banks can benefit through the creation of new revenue streams, access to the new partners’ expertise and sharing distinctive local market knowledge and expertise.”The Standard Bank group is the continent’s largest lender, with over R1-trillion in assets (approximately $156-billion) and a market capitalisation of R145-billion ($21-billion).ICBC is currently the world’s largest bank in terms of market capitalisation, worth some $319-billion, and has been on the lookout for overseas expansion opportunities after it raised $21.9-billion following a public listing on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges in 2006.In a jointly issued statement, ICBC said it views South Africa as an attractive market for investment, given its growth prospects, its sophisticated economic and well-regulated financial services infrastructure, as well as its rapidly growing banking customer base.The best way of capturing these opportunities, ICBC said, was through a strategic alliance with Standard Bank, which has significant operations on the African continent.“From a strategic perspective, ICBC has been seeking opportunities to expand its international business, in particular in Africa given strong trade linkages and the close and long standing friendship between China and South Africa,” ICBC chairman Jiang Jianging said.“As many of our large clients seek investments in Africa, the demand for cross-border financial services is accelerating. Standard Bank, with its market leading position in South Africa and a true pan-African footprint, represents the best organization with which ICBC can partner.”The two partners are not wasting any time in identifying joint business opportunities, stating they are discussing the launch of a $1-billion global resource fund that will focus on selected opportunities in Africa and China, specifically in the junior mining and energy sectors.Maree said the transaction also enables Standard Bank to have preferred access to the largest and fast-growing economy in the world, along with a substantial investment from and an alliance with a leading Chinese company in South Africa.“Standard Bank will have a strengthened position of facilitating and financing trade flows between Asia and Africa. In particular, opportunities will be enhanced for providing financial services to resource-based companies engaged with Chinese counterparts,” he said.“An investment of this magnitude is a strong endorsement of the strength, profitability and quality of regulation of South Africa’s banking industry. It is also a meaningful validation of the position achieved by Standard Bank on the African continent.”The transaction is subject to approval by the two companies’ shareholders, as well as gaining the necessary regulatory approval.Useful linksStandard Bank: www.standardbank.co.zaICBC China: www.icbc.com.cnlast_img read more

Livestock building rental considerations

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator Wayne CountyRecently I have gotten some questions about rental of livestock buildings, specifically dairy facilities. Typically, callers want to know a charge per square foot or a rental rate based on a per head basis or, for a dairy facility, based on number of free stalls. The reality is that there is no one right or correct answer.Several methods or approaches generate a dollar figure for rental. However, view that number as a starting point in a rental negotiation. There are additional factors that affect the final rental rate. Those factors include the age and condition of the building, location of the building, the functionality or obsolescence of the building, the demand for rental of this type of building and the character and personality of the parties involved in the rental agreement.The simplest and most direct way of calculating a building rental rate is to use a commercial rate, a known market. While these types of figures are available for grain storage and some equipment storage markets, they are not available for livestock building rentals. We don’t have a commercial livestock building rental market. A second method is to use survey data. Survey data is commonly used to provide rates for custom farm work and cropland rental. The reliability of those numbers is dependent upon getting significant numerous responses. The issue with livestock building rental surveys is that there are a very limited number of surveys and those surveys generally have a small number of responses, so use results with caution. You can get an answer that is fast, easy and very wrong for your situation. The most recent farm building rental survey that I know of is a May 2014 document by the North Central Farm Management Extension Committee. It is available on line as a pdf document at http://tiny.cc/farmbldgrentalsurvey. The number of responses for dairy building rental varies between three and nine.The best method to determining a rental rate for livestock buildings is to actually calculate some building ownership costs and use those figures as a starting point in coming to a rental rate agreement. There are two basic categories of building ownership costs, variable and fixed. Variable costs are dependent upon building use and the level or intensity of building use. Those costs include utilities, use-related repairs and maintenance, and possibly costs of additional wear and tear beyond depreciation. Often variable costs increase as the number of animal units or production level in the building increases.Fixed costs are incurred regardless of the level of building use. Fixed costs remain even if the building sits empty. The fixed costs of building ownership include depreciation, interest, repairs (maintenance not related to building use), taxes and insurance. The low end of any building rental agreement must cover at least the variable costs of using the building. There must be some way to measure these costs, especially costs such as electricity, fuel, and water. However, the building owner realizes no gain until at least some portion of the fixed costs are included in a rental agreement.The North Central Farm Management Extension Committee publication “Rental Agreements for Farm Buildings and Livestock Facilities” (http://tiny.cc/NCFMfarmbldgrental) contains a good worksheet to help building owners estimate ownership costs. A basic starting point for determining ownership costs requires an estimate of the current value of the building to calculate depreciation. One method commonly used is to determine a replacement cost for the current building along with an estimate of the useful life, generally in the 15 to 25 year range. Next, determine how many years of useful life remain in the current building. Depreciation is the replacement cost divided by useful years of life remaining in the current building. If the building is under loan, then the interest cost is the actual interest payments on the building loan. With no loan, calculate interest costs as a return on investment by multiplying an annual interest rate times the current value of the building. The interest rate used could be the current rate to borrow money, the rate for invested dollars or possibly an average of the two. The county auditor’s office can provide the building tax rate. Use the actual insurance policy for insurance costs. Alternatively, multiply the current building value by 1.5% to get an estimate of tax and insurance costs. The most accurate way to get cost of building repairs is from farm records. According to an Iowa State University publication entitled “Computing a Livestock Building Cash Rental Rate” (https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/html/c2-26.html), a value of 2% to 4% of the replacement (not current) value of the building provides a reliable estimate if records are not available.For example, let’s say I investigate and find that it would cost $325,000 to build a new free-stall dairy barn of similar size, function and with comparable technology and features to what is currently present on the farm. That building would have a 20-year life. My current building is 8 years old, so I have 12 years of useful life remaining, equivalent to 60% (12 divided by 20) of the building replacement value. The current value of my building is therefore $325,000 x 0.60 or $195,000. The annual depreciation cost is $325,000 divided by 12 (years of useful life left) equals $27,083. Note that in some cases, buildings may still be serviceable after their useful live and so depreciation expense could be zero. For this example, assuming no outstanding loan on the building, I am going to calculate a conservative return on investment using an interest rate of 3% times the current value of the building ($195,000) equals $5,850. To calculate taxes and insurance costs ideally I use actual values, but in this example I will use 1.5% times the current building value equals $2,925. Next, I need to estimate repair costs. I will use 3% times the replacement value ($325,000) equals $9750. My total estimated fixed cost of building ownership is the sum of these calculations or $45,608 annually.Knowing the fixed costs of building ownership can guide a rental negotiation. The ideal situation is that the building renter, in addition to paying all the variable building costs, will cover the fixed costs as well. In most markets that may not be realistic. The next best-case scenario is that the cash costs of building ownership are covered after building variable costs. Those costs include taxes, insurance and repairs. In our example, those cash costs equal $12,675. From a purely economic point of view, if an empty building can’t generate enough rental income to cover cash expenses in the foreseeable future, it is reasonable to consider demolishing the building.I have found a couple of spreadsheets available on-line that can help to calculate building costs and potential rental rates. They are available at https://www.agmanager.info/ksu-building-cost-rent, and https://dunn.uwex.edu/agriculture/farm-management/farm-lease-information/. Click on “Lease Payment Evaluators”, then “Building Rental Evaluator”.The most important piece of any building rental is a written lease. The lease spells out not only the rental rate but also specifies dates of rent payments, what happens if rent is late, and how the rental agreement is renewed or terminated. The lease contains provision about how repairs are handled, how water and utilities are paid for and maintained, limitations on modifications to the building, how many livestock can be housed, rights of entry and inspection and even how manure will be handled and where it will be applied. The North Central Farm Management Extension Committee publication “Rental Agreements for Farm Buildings and Livestock Facilities” contains a sample lease agreement that can serve as a starting point.Finally, the characteristics of the potential renter are another consideration in a lease agreement. Things like how they care for property, personal habits, reliability, honesty, temperament, how you get along with them, can all matter and might influence the rental price either upwards or downwards.last_img read more

Mark Wolfe joins Wilson National

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Mark Wolfe of Richwood recently joined Wilson National LLC, a real estate and auction group. In his role Mark will focus on development and implementation of marketing options for customer portfolios of agricultural assets. Mark’s past experiences include a successful career in farm equipment sales and agriculture lending. Wolfe will bring a depth of experience and focus on real estate and machinery sales, valuation and marketing. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in Ag Business and is a licensed real estate agent. Mark is engaged in Ohio’s agriculture industry by participating in his own farm operation with his wife and three children.Along with Mark Wilson, Mike Weasel and Brandon Wilson, Wilson National LLC welcomes Mark and the opportunity to continue serving the Ohio farm community. You can contract Mark at 740-361-6739 or [email protected]last_img read more

Managing Oneself Well

first_imgManaging oneself well isn’t easy.One CEO I know and work with keeps a small clock in front of him and the person he is meeting with at all times. If he is having a one-hour meeting, the meeting lasts for exactly one hour. This CEO is polite. He is professional. He is disciplined. He is structured. And he is rigid when it comes to his time. He is also overworked and under enough stress that his health suffers from time to time.I know another CEO, who is perpetually late. Not only does he show up late for meetings that he called, but he also misses meetings that other people have scheduled with him. He exercises little control over his calendar, and less control over himself. He is also overworked and stressed out.Too Much To ControlThe first CEO is doing too much. It feels to him like he has everything under control. But control is an illusion. His grip is too tight, and what slips through his fingers is often his health.What this CEO needs more than anything is margin. He needs to loosen up the control and give himself space to breathe. That space is not wasted; it’s room to reflect and be creative. It’s room to meditate, renew and recharge.Neither the mind or the body is like an engine that can run endlessly. Too much is a recipe for burnout.Too Little ControlLiving in a reactive mode is no better. Not only can you end up doing too much, but you can also end up doing too much poorly. Worse still, you can end up doing work that you shouldn’t be doing it all.The problem with living in a reactive mode is that by exercising too little control, you never invest enough time in the most important, most strategic, and most meaningful work that you should be doing.Without control, you miss commitments, and you damage relationships.BalanceOne of the keys to getting things done is to have a careful balance between controlling your calendar and your work while leaving room for yourself and other people.It might feel like the blank spaces on your calendar should all be filled with something, but that would crowd out the time you need to recharge, renew, and respond to people who need your help.Managing oneself well isn’t about too much control or too little control. It’s about making strategic decisions to do some things and not to do others.last_img read more

PM, Gilani talks positive, encouraging: Rao

first_imgIndian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, left, and Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, applaud the players, prior to the start of the Cricket World Cup semifinal match between Pakistan and India in Mohali on Wednesday, March 30, 2011.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday had a wide wide-ranging conversation of various issues on the sidelines of World Cup semi-final encounter between the two countries at Mohali. Manmohan said India and Pakistan should put ‘our ancient animosities behind to attend to the problems of our nation’. “Both PMs have had a wide-ranging conversation of various issues relevant to both countries. Just as we spoke of a Thimpu spirit last April, it would be appropriate to say today there is a Mohali spirit. Positive and encouraging spirit was generated today,” Foreign Secretary Nirupamo Rao told reporters. The two PMs believed there was a need for more parliamentary interaction. “The dialogue process has been set in motion. It will be followed by meeting of the secretaries. We have begun with a positive agenda. The meeting today reaffirms the intention of the government to take things forward,” Rao said. “Cricket has a truly constructive spirit. Sporting contact epitomises many senses like people-to-people contact, cementing our friendship. Both the PMs spoke of importance of such exchanges between MPs. Our RS and LS chairmens have called parliamentarians’ delegation from Pakistan. It could strengthen our dialogue,” the foreign secretary said, adding, “This dialogue has come after an interim. We have a number of issues flowing from home secretaries’ meeting that we hope to follow up on. The commerce secretaries will meet next month in Islamabad and foreign secretaries will meet in the middle of this year. We’ve begun 2011 with a good augury for the future. It has reaffirmed our intention to take forward process of dialogue. The goal is to normalise relations.” Rao said the game of cricket provided the impetus for this meeting and the manner that game has been played in has provided very good examples of how things can be taken forward. “We have not forgotten 26\11. We raised this issue on the on-going talks. It’s important that there should be proper closure to it,” Rao added. While Gilani extended an invitation to Manmohan to visit Pakistan, the two PMs felt the neighbours had to engage directly with a focus on development, economic and health issues. Both the PMs sought a spirit to address challenges to find solutions to the problems, Rao said. Manmohan said at the dinner he hosted for Gilani that India and Pakistan ‘should put our ancient animosities behind to attend to the problems of our nation’. “We have the will to persevere – we have the will to overcome. We should be working together to find cooperative solutions. We need permanent reconciliation to live together in dignity and honour,” said the PM, reiterating the need for an atmosphere free of violence. Gilani shared this sentiment. Political level contacts has a very positive impact on the relationship, the two felt. Both the PMs spoke about how good sporting contacts are between the two countries and ‘we would like sporting contests’. Geelani said that he would like the Indian team to visit Pakistan.The sense of the situation was that both nations will have to address each other directly. There will be challenges and opportunities.advertisementlast_img read more