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Roth 401(k) – Roth IRA on Steroids
The need for personal retirement planning and investing is increasingly
capturing the attention of Americans – it’s about time! If you are at that
age where you are closer to the end of your working years than the
beginning, you’re probably spending more time thinking about how you’ll pay
for those golden years.
Roth IRAs are a popular retirement savings vehicle
that has been available since 1997.
Roth IRAs can offer several advantages for individuals or couples with
adjusted gross income less than $99,000 and $156,000, respectively. For the
2007 tax year the maximum contribution amount to a Roth IRA is $4,000
($5,000 if age 50 or older. Since 2006 workers have an opportunity to
participate in a super-sized Roth retirement vehicle – a 401(k) Roth. Here
is how the 401(k) Roth is super-charged – first, there is no maximum
adjusted gross income limit as there is with the Roth IRA and second, the
annual contribution limit for 2007 is $15,500 or $20,500 if age 50 or older.
If you are over 50 and trying to build a retirement nest-egg as quickly as
possible, the difference in the maximum annual contributions of $5,000
versus $20,500 is gigantic.
Both types of Roth accounts foster the tax-free growth of investment funds
while providing more flexible withdrawal rules. While Roth IRAs and the new
401(k) Roth offer some attractive features, they will not always be the best
investment vehicle for everyone in every situation.
Some of the interesting features of Roth IRAs and the 401(k) Roth are:
held for five years or more, the distribution of gains will be
tax-free – however you must be 59½ or older to avoid the early
withdrawal penalty on the gains
withdrawals of your contributions are always tax and penalty free;
contributions are based on earned income and can be made at any age,
even after age 70 1/ 2
owner is not required, regardless of age, to take distributions from
the Roth account.
The Roth accounts can be excellent vehicles for accumulating retirement
funds. The longer the time period the Roth is held - the better. In fact,
Roth accounts would be excellent assets to be “passed on” to the surviving
spouse and/or other heirs. This is due to the extended potential compounding
time period without any federal income tax liability in your hands and that
of your heirs and because Roth accounts will not be considered income in
respect of decedent (as with most traditional IRA and pension accounts).
Heirs of traditional IRA accounts have to report distributions from a
traditional IRA as income, just as the original owner would have – this is
not the case with Roth accounts.
In addition to employees, this new 401(k) Roth
could be an excellent retirement vehicle for farmers and other business
owners. Many business owners invest nearly all of their
disposable income into growing their business – only to realize as they
enter their late 50’s and 60’s that they have limited funds stashed away for
retirement (unless they are willing to sell their business). If you like the
concept of the Roth IRA – opting to super-size with the 401(k) Roth could be
an excellent vehicle for enhancing your retirement funding.
Parman R.Green, Ag Business
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Heat and It’s Effect on Livestock
Heat has an effect on all of us. We need to particularly think about the
effect heat has on livestock and what we can do about it. Livestock
experience impaired functions as a result of excess heat. These can be drop
in production, increased days open, depressed immune system, and decreased
Animals have a different ideal temperature than humans do because of the
heat they generate and they don’t have the ability to turn on a fan like
humans do. For example, the ideal temperature range for a dairy cow is
between 25º F. and 65º F. At a temperature above 80º F., a reduction in feed
intake may be seen. At temperatures over 90º F., cows may reduce feed intake
and milk production may drop. Temperatures of 100º F. and 80% relative
humidity may be fatal to dairy cattle.
Animal species vary in their ideal temperature range so be sure to check
your livestock carefully as hot weather arrives. Sometimes, the first heat
wave can be the most harmful to livestock as they often adapt after the
first one and later heat waves don’t affect them as much.
In very hot weather, animals lose most of their heat by evaporative cooling.
Most evaporative cooling is from the lungs. Some sweating and evaporative
skin cooling occurs with horses and to a lesser extent with cattle and hogs.
Hot weather ventilation is important to prevent excessive temperatures in
Other things that can help increase animal comfort
Circulation fans to
increase air velocity across the animals
Spraying water on the
Air conditioning and
earth tube heat exchangers
Evaporative cooling of
take a closer look at these items.
Circulation fans: These help distribute
inlet air and provide higher air velocities across animals. They can be
especially helpful on still days. Circulating fans should be placed
throughout the building with a spacing of 25 times the fan diameter. Direct
the airflow downward toward the animals. Fan motors should be sealed. Be
careful that fan blades don’t create slow moving shadows when used in
poultry buildings. The shadows can be interpreted as predators.
Spraying water: The best sprinkler systems wet the animal and
then allow the moisture to evaporate. A thermostat connected in series with
a timer can regulate the operation of the sprinklers. Sprinklers should
deliver droplets large enough to wet a cow’s skin, not produce a fog. Care
should be taken to ensure that sprinkler systems do not create mud holes.
Swine can be cooled with drip cooling systems.
conditioning or earth tube heat exchangers: These are fairly high
cost investments and may be considered for the long term. The corrosive
atmosphere in animal units prevents recirculation of treated air. This
causes more costs in air conditioning air than we would see in a home
system. More information is available from MU Extension.
Evaporative cooling of ventilating air: Evaporative coolers can
be used in some cases. They provide air movement through the evaporative
unit. This results in several degrees of cooling of ventilating air. The
evaporative unit is a fibrous pad that water is pumped through.
More information on cooling livestock can be obtained from your local
University of Missouri Extension Center.
(Authors: Don Day, Natural
Resource Engineer; Mark Stewart,
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Farm and Ranch Emergency
Emergency planning is one of those things that everyone says they should do,
but somehow never quite get around to accomplishing the task. Denial (“That
will never happen to me/us/here.”) is probably the main reason people avoid
this task. This is unfortunate, because disasters happen. Look at
Seemingly even more remote, is the chance of a
Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) outbreak, such as Foot and Mouth
Disease. The impact of such a situation, whether naturally caused or as a
result of a terrorist act, is almost too staggering to contemplate. For
example, consider that the initial control area from a premises with a
suspected FAD is 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) from the borders of the
premises. This is the size of the area that initially needs to be
quarantined in an attempt to isolate and control the spread of the disease.
The more information you can provide to first responders, the quicker the
situation can begin to be controlled. The faster a bad situation can be
contained, the better off everyone will be.
Here are some things for you to consider for your emergency plan. These 12
steps are taken from UM Extension publication MP745
“Plant Biosecurity Preparedness Plan for U.S. Agricultural Producers”:
Post emergency response
phone numbers and contact list.
Complete a risk
Create maps and records
of your operation.
Enhance your crop
scouting and pest management skills.
Post visible address
numbers and safety signage.
Sponsor an emergency
responder’s tour of operation and training event.
Meet with your insurance
response drills with employees, neighbors, frequent visitors and
Evaluate, revise and
update your preparedness plan.
Involve others in
Use your risk assessment
checklist to identify mitigation activities.
Assemble your plan in a
notebook for emergency responders.
The publication will guide you
through the process of compiling the necessary information and includes
sample forms you can use. Much of this information will be valuable in the
case of either a natural or man-made disaster.
Keep in mind that many first responders may not
have any experience with or knowledge about the type of equipment found on a
modern farm. They may not have experience around livestock,
either. For these reasons, detailed maps of buildings, chemical and fuel
storage, wells, etc. are particularly critical. A tour of your operation for
emergency personnel would also be helpful. You may learn as much from them
as they learn from you.
Gene Schmitz, University of
Missouri Extension Livestock Specialist)
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Foreign Animal Diseases
In the United States, Missouri is ranked in the top ten for cattle and
calves, hogs and pigs and turkeys. If a foreign animal disease event (FAD)
occurred in Missouri, there would be a huge economic impact to animal
agriculture. What exactly is a FAD event and how does that relate to
agroterrorism? How much do you as a producer understand about FAD’s and
Foreign animal diseases include foot and mouth
disease and avian influenza. They are not necessarily spread by
agroterrorists, but can be introduced accidentally. According to the
International Association of Emergency Managers, on any given day in the US,
over 1.3 million people and over 38,000 animals enter the US. Also, FAD’s
can be introduced through the migration or movement of wildlife and even
through the natural occurrences of disease. Despite how FAD’s are introduced
the disease response will remain the same. The only difference between a
natural occurrence and a terrorist act is that if the FAD is determined to
be a terrorist action the FBI will coordinate activities with animal health
In 2001, United Kingdom producers lost entire herds of cattle, sheep and
hogs due to foot and mouth disease. Thousands of animals were destroyed and
sixty farmers committed suicide during this tragedy. Producers should
realize FAD’s will not just affect animals; it will affect them as well.
Agroterrorism is meant to destroy economies and
make people feel more vulnerable — it has nothing to do with the
actual animals that will be affected. Agricultural targets are not limited
to animals or plants but can also include: transportation systems, water
supplies, grain elevators or other storage facilities, restaurants and food
handlers, grocery stores, food and agriculture research labs, and packing
and food processing facilities.
Animal diseases make good terrorism agents because
they are low tech, low-cost and have a high impact. They also
spread rapidly from animal to animal and are difficult to trace. US
agriculture is considered a “soft target” because of the difficulty to
maintain biosecurity at all points from farm to table. A nationalized ID
program on cattle, sheep, goats and swine would increase biosecurity in this
Joplin Regional Stockyards is an example of how many states could be
affected if a FAD occurred. In one day, during certain times of the year,
cattle sold through the facility can be shipped to 26 states! Imagine if a
FAD was introduced, how this would impact those 26 states! Producers know
their animals better then anyone and if ANYTHING looks remotely suspicious,
producers need to call the local veterinarian! That
is why it is so important for producers to get involved with the
agroterroism prevention process.
(Author: Wendy Flatt, Livestock Specialist)
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Armadillos Among Us?
moved into the U.S. in the mid 1800s. They found their way in to central
Arkansas in the mid 1970s and mid Missouri in the last few years. Even
though they do not tolerate cold weather
well, they continue to spread northward.
Armadillos range as far north as southern Nebraska. It is believed they will
eventually be found along the east coast at latitudes at least equal to
Reports of armadillo damage have increased so University of Missouri
Extension has published a guide sheet: G9456,
Armadillos in Missouri: Techniques to Prevent and Control Damage.
This guide is available at County Extension Centers or via the Internet at:
Damage is usually more of nuisance rather than being economic. If control is
necessary, the process may be problematic. Fencing to exclude them must be
angled outward and buried since they can climb as well as burrow and swim.
Modifying the habitat around the damaged areas may work. Reducing insect
numbers, cleaning up debris and brush and installing electric fencing may
make problem areas less attractive.
Armadillos are nocturnal. They use their
strong, front digging legs to find insects, worms and other invertebrates.
The tracks have three toes with long claw impressions. Often the damage,
holes, is all that can be seen. By the time we arrive, they have gone
underground in their burrows to rest during daylight hours.
A burrow is usually about 7 to 8 inches in diameter and up to 15 feet long.
Damage in gardens, flower beds and lawns are pit like holes from a few
inches to 5 inches in diameter. Areas may appear to have been “rooted” up by
hogs. They may install burrows under foundations, driveways and other
Water presents little resistance to their migration. They can walk across
the bottom of streams by holding their breath for as long as 6 minutes. By
filling their stomach with air, they can float and swim across rivers or
Trapping can be one of the more effective methods
of control. Larger live or box traps work if placed along paths
to burrows or fences where armadillos travel. Boards 4 to 6 inches tall and
6 feet long can be used as “wings” to funnel them into the live trap.
Baiting the trap is not absolutely necessary. But over ripe or spoiled
fruits, meat or fresh meal worms can be effective.
Selective shooting works where it is legal. It is a night time activity so
extreme caution must be observed. Just finding the armadillos out of their
burrow and moving around requires vigilance and patience.
There are no poisons or repellants registered for
use against armadillos at this time.
(Author: Jim Jarman, Agronomy
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