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Thanksgiving 'Leftovers' Include Much More Than Food

Home stretch ahead for 2012 means still time to wrap up business from this year. '

If it's early in the week after Thanksgiving when you're reading this, you're probably still finishing up the Thanksgiving leftovers. Cold turkey sandwiches are good, but I prefer heating it up in the microwave. Maybe there's a little bit of gravy left to pour over it, or maybe some cranberry sauce. Those are all winning combinations in my book.

Thanksgiving leftovers aren't the only things you likely need to take care of in 2012 before this notorious year passes into the history books. Here are a few 'leftovers' from the year you may still want to think about.

*Crop insurance: If you have a choice, are you taking all that payment this year? If so, what will that do to your tax situation for 2012? What will it mean for the future? If you had GRIP crop insurance, your choice is made for you. You won't be receiving payment until after county yields are set by USDA in early March. We're told that often means those payments are delayed until at least April.

*Tillage plans: Maybe you've already done all the tillage you're going to do. If that means you left lots of residue, congratulations! Weather forecasts say this could be a wild winter. If it includes warm stretches with heavy rains, soil erosion could be an especially big issue.

*Equipment purchases: Some of you have money to spend. Which implement will make the most sense to buy? Is it a tractor, a new grain bin, a combine? Remember that all years aren't going to be like 2012. You will need grain storage again.

*Tax assessment: Some people in certain counties have received tax assessment information that will affect tax payments next year. In some cases, we've heard a lot of howling when people open those envelopes. Some counties are reverting to trying to tax some property as development land. In other cases the taxes on structures changed for no reason. This is one loose end you won't want to leave lying around. You only have so many days to appeal. So take care of it if you feel your assessment is in error.

*Christmas shopping: The area under the tree may be a little sparse for some, but not for others. High grain prices for those that have it to sell and insurance payments may take the chill off what could be a very cold Christmas. If you started Christmas shopping back on Black Friday, the first of the Thanksgiving leftovers, then finish it before Christmas Eve. You don't want to be the first shopper done – you miss bargains. But, you don't want to be the last either – you miss selection.

So wrap up those presents and make sure you take care of the most important job of all: encouraging your entire family to gather for Christmas dinner. There's still plenty to be thankful for this year as we once again celebrate the birth of one who gave all he had for us.

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