A tough farm economy often puts a strain on finances and relationships. Consider Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services for resources to help navigate a tighter budget and strengthen your bottomline.

From time to time it is necessary to closely examine the operation, especially when low markets and high costs strain finances. Meeting with a farm financial analyst or farm economist provides a detailed overview of the current situation as well as the opportunity to consider alternative approaches for managing risk.

Whenever a producer sees potential risks that might have an adverse effect on their family or business, now is the time to be proactive. Not everything can be planned for, but if evaluated and managed properly early on, the risks involved can be reduced.

Identifying trustworthy people and resources for support during tough times also is important. It might be someone you talk to openly about anything like your spouse and it also could include business professionals such as a loan officer. Fostering positive business and personal relationships reduces animosity when discussing difficult topics.

KAMS is a safe place to call where producers can share their story and it will remain confidential. Other important resources include: AgManager.info, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops, K-State Research and Extension Farm Analyst Program, Kansas Farm Management Association and Kansas Legal Services.

The USDA also is distributing safety net payments to producers facing the market downturn. Established by the 2014 Farm Bill, the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs provide financial assistance when prices or revenues drop below normal. To find out more about these programs, contact your local FSA office.

KAMS also is available to discuss options with producers. The program provides a network of financial analysts, attorneys and mediators experienced in helping producers explore options with their finances. These professionals offer education and assistance from a neutral, non-emotional standpoint. Calls are free and confidential (800) 321-3276 or visit k-state.edu/kams for more information.

Stacy Campbell is a Kansas State Research and Extension agent in Hays for the Cottonwood Extension District Office.