Capital Press | Ag Financial Services Capital Press Wed, 18 Apr 2018 12:00:20 -0400 en Capital Press | Ag Financial Services Good accountant keeps business fiscally fit Thu, 7 Dec 2017 09:54:27 -0400 Dianna Troyer MALTA, Idaho — An agricultural well driller in southeastern Idaho, Rich Scrivner, admits he is an accountant’s nightmare, job security, and live entertainment with his sense of humor.

The 68-year-old Malta resident’s bookkeeping system for his business starts with receipts.

“I threaten my employees and remind them to save them all,” says Scrivner of receipts for parts, vehicle maintenance, food and other items.

Then he stuffs them in folders.

“When I get time, I’ll organize and itemize them. If I get really behind, my accountant makes a house call. She tells me, ‘Look, it’s time to get it together here.’”

Scrivner says his longtime accountant, Dot Belveal in Nampa, is indispensable because she helps keep his business fiscally healthy and prepares his tax returns.

“Plus, she’s patient and tolerates a client like me,” says Scrivner, who heard about her through friends. “She was a trap shooter and runs Chesapeake dogs, so I can relate to that. I’m not the type who would get along well with a shirt-and-tie kind of accountant.”

Belveal, 58, says many of her clients are rejected by accounting firms.

“I get the ones no one else wants because they haven’t filed a tax return for years for all kinds of personal reasons,” says Belveal, who named her business Tax Solutions.

“They hand me a box filled with papers, and I make sense of it. Over the years, I’ve developed a good working relationship with the (Internal Revenue Service) office here in Boise and the state tax commission and have negotiated settlements on clients’ reconstructed financials.”

Scrivner says last year Bellveal told him he almost made some money.

“I might have if I hadn’t been racing,” he says.

He drives his 1957 Chevy in the Super Stock division at quarter-mile drag races in Las Vegas, Seattle and Portland. The car advertises his business, Able Well Drilling, on the rear window.

“I wanted a name that was the beginning of the alphabet, so people who needed a well driller would see it first when they flipped open a phone book.”

Scrivner races in summer, his off-season from drilling wells.

“From mid-October to May, it’s go, go, go. Farmers need the water in summer, so I do my drilling and maintenance during their down time.”

While Scrivner says he does not take himself too seriously, he takes his work seriously.

“When I’m done with a job, I have a great sense of accomplishment. Like gold, silver or copper, water is a valuable commodity. Unlike metals, though, you can’t live without it.”

Scrivner advises irrigators to maintain their wells.

“It’s a lot cheaper than drilling a new one.”

He relies on a camera to help diagnose problems.

“If you’re not using a camera, you’re making an educated guess about what’s going on,” he says.

To remove mineral buildup, Scrivner uses a high-pressure pump that sprays 9 gallons of water a minute at 5,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.

“That jetter head can make a casing look new,” he says.

The area’s geology can be hard on a well, too. A fault line runs through part of the Raft River Valley. As the earth shifts, it often moves the well casing. To make the casing straight and round again, he inserts a “swedge” and applies pressure.

Scrivner says drilling wells has been a gratifying career for decades.

“Every job is different. You never know what you’ll run into. I’m like most well drillers. The only way I’ll quit is when I die on the back of a rig.”

Partners rely on banker to open new organic dairy Thu, 7 Dec 2017 09:55:25 -0400 Dianna Troyer RAFT RIVER, Idaho — To finance a new multi-million-dollar organic dairy, three partners in southeastern Idaho turned to their banker to make it happen.

One of the partners, Ray Robinson, a member of the cooperative High Desert Milk in Burley, sought out a lender with extensive experience in the dairy industry, Jon Maughan, who works for Rabo AgriFinance.

“I’d worked with Jon years ago when he was with Northwest Farm Credit Services,” says Robinson, who milks 20,000 cows daily. “I knew if we put up the collateral he could put together the right financial package for us.”

Robinson was impressed with Maughan’s communication skills.

“He kept us informed of where we had to be financially as we moved along,” said Robinson. “Whatever banker you pick, there should be honesty, so there are no surprises for either the lender or borrower.”

Maughan emphasized that a banker has to understand an industry and structure a company’s loans accordingly.

“With startups especially, it’s imperative and challenging to design a proper loan structure until the operation gets on its feet,” said Maughan.

“It’s our first greenfield project and the largest organic dairy we’ve been involved with,” said Maughan. “It’s been a pleasure to be part of it.”

The new business, Nature Ridge Organic Dairy in Raft River, has 2,450 Holstein/Jersey cows and 30 full-time employees. About 111,000 pounds of milk is produced daily for Glanbia Foods’ cheese production.

Maughan said the success of the three partners’ previous businesses played a role in financing the new venture.

Besides Robinson, other partners are Reed Gibby, who owns pig farms including one that supplies porcine heart valves to medical companies, and Kevin Schroeder, who specializes in disposal and recycling of agricultural waste products.

Schroeder said, “Reed found some ground that had been out of production for decades, making it ideal to develop as an organic dairy for a niche market.”

Schroeder is optimistic about the state-of-the-art dairy’s future.

“We milked our first heifer in December 2016 and are heading soon into our second lactation,” he said while watching heifers being milked on a rotating carousel with 60 stalls.

A cow is milked in about six minutes as the carousel slowly rotates.

“Some don’t want to get off when they’re done because they like it so much. It’s an efficient way to milk,” said Schroeder.

Watching the carousel is the most popular stop on field trips.

“We’ve taken a lot of students on a tour,” he says. “We want them to understand how their food is produced.”

Financial planner helps sheep company owner diversify his investments Thu, 7 Dec 2017 09:58:00 -0400 Dianna Troyer While raising sheep in southeastern Idaho, Henry Etcheverry has sometimes literally followed in his father’s footsteps.

He can still find an aspen tree where his Basque father, Jean Pierre, carved his name after he started Etcheverry Sheep Company in 1948. It’s in the rugged Toponce area north of Lava Hot Springs.

“Like my dad, I’m doing what I love every day: working outdoors, being my own man, and facing the challenge of making a good product,” said Etcheverry, 68, who raises Columbia Rambouillet sheep. “What I learned from him was as valuable as my college education.”

Every year, he sells about 10,000 lambs through Mountain States Lamb Cooperative and 80,000 pounds of wool to Pendleton Woolen Mills.

“As the years pass, you accumulate some assets,” he says.

To run the company, Etcheverry lives in Rupert in winter and spring and Lava Hot Springs in summer and fall to be near his bands of sheep and about a dozen herders.

Realizing the need to diversify his investments beyond livestock and real estate, Etcheverry sought a financial planner who would develop an individualized investment portfolio for him.

“You have to find the right person who understands your goals,” said Etcheverry. “For me, it’s prudent to be conservative with investments.”

He chose David Sanna, who at the time was working for A.G. Edwards in Pocatello.

Since then, Sanna has moved and works in Eagle, Idaho, for RBC Wealth Management, a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.

A Certified Private Wealth Advisor, Sanna is the first person in Idaho to attain the designation, which is administered by the Investment and Wealth Institute.

As an advisor, Sanna develops strategies for clients like Etcheverry to minimize taxes, protect assets, and maximize growth.

“When you first meet Henry, you would think he focuses exclusively on his business,” said Sanna. “But, not so. He approaches his finances with diversification in mind and understands the importance of spreading his risk away from the sheep industry.

“Land isn’t always liquid, and he understands that as well,” said Sanna. “But he sure loves those lambs more than money, and he shepherds them lovingly. I don’t see him leaving that scene soon.”

Like his grazing sheep, Etcheverry is in constant motion, delivering supplies to herders or attending industry meetings.

“Your energy level is right between your ears. My parents lived into their 90s, so I still have a few years left to enjoy this work.”