Whole Farm > Financial > Analysis

See a farm’s complete financial picture with farm financial planning program

pdf fileAgDM Newsletter
October 2017

It’s safe to say that financial management for farm families is unique. Farm income can be irregular and unpredictable. Bills must be paid, livestock fed, and crops tended to. Taking care of a family’s needs can bring added stress.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers Farm Financial Planning, a program providing one- on-one financial support and advice to farmers. The Farm Financial Planning program was initiated in the 1980s in response to the farm crisis. It continues to be available to give Iowans confidence with stressful issues, legal questions, and financial concerns.

The program includes a computerized analysis of the farm business using FINPACK software from the Center for Farm Financial Management. FINPACK gives information to make more informed and profitable decisions for the future of a farm business.
Farm Financial Planning is intended for farm families who want a more complete picture of their farm financial situation. It helps take the guesswork out of whether or not a change would increase profitability and improve cash flow. A FINPACK analysis may provide a more in-depth evaluation of the farm business, which many lenders are requiring before they will extend further credit.farm financial planning helps answers questions

Farm Financial Planning helps you evaluate your farm business and determine whether or not a change is desirable. It provides an in-depth plan for the farm business so the operator and the lender can make decisions for the future. The computer analysis looks at profitability, liquidity, solvency, and risk-bearing ability. This information is provided for three or more alternative plans at a time. Examples of alternative plans could be the addition, expansion, or phasing out of a livestock operation, or buying, selling, or renting land.

Farm Financial Planning can also help evaluate ways to correct negative cash flow and profitability problems.

A trained ISU Extension and Outreach associate meets with the family one to two times to get farm records and to discuss results of the FINPACK analysis in confidence and possible effects if changes are made. The extension associate may introduce other farm and family financial materials or information about outside sources for further help.

The service is currently available at no charge and is funded by the Agricultural Credit School, a program of ISU Extension and Outreach, and the Iowa Bankers Association.

Farm financial associates are part-time ISU Extension and Outreach employees trained in farm budgeting and financial analysis. They have agricultural backgrounds and understand farming and the challenges it may bring.

To set up an appointment, contact your Farm Management Specialist or the Farm Financial Associate in your area.

For questions regarding the Farm Financial Planning program, contact your ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist. Or contact the Beginning Farmer Center at 877-232-1999.

Another source for Iowans in need of legal, financial, stress, or crisis and disaster questions, is available through the Iowa Concern Hotline, call 1-800-447-1985.


Chad E. Hart, extension economist, 515-294-9911, chart@iastate.edu
Ann M. Johanns, extension program specialist, 641-732-5574, aholste@iastate.edu