Farmers Make Better Decisions using the Farm Financial Planning Program

Name & Title:  
Michael Duffy, Faculty, Department of Economics

Date Submitted:  2010

POW Number & Title: 
120 Farm and Business Management

Title of Success Story:
Farmers Make Better Decisions using the Farm Financial Planning Program

Situation: 
Hog and dairy prices plummeted substantially in 2008 and 2009.  In addition, the grain price boom associated with the rise in ethanol had subsided.  Costs of production were increasing too.   As a result farm incomes fell and left many Iowa farms and farm families in a precarious financial position.

Objective: 
The objective of the farm financial planning program is to improve management skills and decision-making through business analysis and advice for farm families, especially families in financial difficulties due to natural disasters, changing market conditions or other factors. The program has been used to increase management among producers since 1984.  

Activities/Output:
Farm Financial Planning associates advise families on the potential economic impact of changes in their farm business, inform them of Extension and other services available and, in general, propose alternatives to help improve farm profitability.   The program provides the producer with a computer analysis of their business.

Outcome Statement:
Farmers acquired the knowledge and skills to better evaluate the impact of alternative farm plans on their farm business through the Farm Financial Planning Program.  Farmers are more aware of other support and help available because of the program.  Excerpts from a message I received regarding the program summarize the benefits farmers gain from the program.

“This computer assessment is helping us to make better financial decisions, especially regarding our dilemma and uncertainty as to whether we should continue raising livestock or rent our entire farm. The clear and concise printouts presented the financial ramifications for each of our options; we can now make much more realistic decisions. Chuck Morine was very pleasant and accommodating…He was also able to answer other related financial questions and direct us to other resources that are available in our area.”

 

120 Farm and Business Management

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