Having a Field Day

Since he was a little boy there’s nowhere Matt Long would rather be than in a farm field. Now 27-years-old, he has fond memories of spending summers with his grandfather on the family farm in Ada.  

“What I always enjoyed about it was just really my dad and my grandpa. I got to spend a lot of time with them every day and I still do. I was with my grandpa every day. He’d have little chores for me to do at the barn. I’d get up and do my chores at home and the barn was just a couple hundred yards away so I’d be gone the rest of the day. “

Matt says his great grandfather John Long purchased the land in 1938 after farming elsewhere in the region dating back to the turn of the century.  He says the Long family farm consists of 420 acres of grain, wheat, beans and corn and is now farmed by Matt, his father Dave Long and his cousin Rod Long.

But you could say Matt is leading a double life. Farmer by day… tax advisor by night.  Actually, the hours sort of mix and mingle with each other.

“Typically we plant in late April or early May. Wheat came off the week of the Fourth of July. We’ll harvest beans in late September or early October, and corn in late October or early November. Tax season fits right in the dead time there.”

Matt is a Senior Tax Associate in the Findlay office of Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD and advises clients who work in many industries. He says the tax work he does is very rewarding and it also allows him some flexibility during the farm season.  

He describes farming as the most relaxing thing he does. “I can sit on a tractor for 15 hours a day and it doesn’t bother me a bit. You’re just kind of off by yourself. All that peace and quiet in the outdoors. It just relaxes me.  It’s hard to explain. One thing that helps is I’m not making a living off it. I have a job. For those who make a living off it, a year like this year will hurt them.”

He’s referring to all the rain. Matt guesses they’ve lost 30 to 35 percent of their crop for both corn and beans because of the wet weather. He says it’s not so much the water itself, but the diseases and bacteria the water brings.

While many would think accounting and farming sound like two completely opposing lines of work, Matt says it’s a perfect fit for him. He says an accounting class in high school helped him to decide to pursue a career in the field.  A graduate of Ohio Northern University, Matt says he’s found that his accounting knowledge has also been helpful for his friends and fellow farmers making a living off the land.

“It’s really nice to be able to talk to people and give them advice and that’s what I like about accounting, talking with people. I’m a relationship guy, I guess.”

Bottom line, Matt likes learning about people’s business situations and helping them find solutions to problems. He remembers a particular situation a couple of years ago.

“A lot of guys had grain they weren’t selling until the next year. It kept building up. They were trying to figure out how to handle the situation and minimize the tax burden.” Upon Matt’s advice, many of them gifted grain to their children, which saved them considerable tax. “If you gift grain to someone who’s not a farmer,” Matt explains, “It can be taxed as capital gains and those tax rates are more favorable.”  

His advice could help smaller family farmers to stay in business across Hancock County. That’s not an easy thing in today’s economy. In fact, Matt sometimes wonders about the fate of his own family farm. He’s hopeful his 2 year old son may one day take it over. It sounds like he, too, may have farming in his blood. Matt says that the toddler has a battery-powered tractor and likes to watch him work in the fields. Who knows, maybe he’s also good with numbers, just like his dad.

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