Whole Farm > Financial > Analysis

ISU Extension offers farm financial planning support

pdf fileAgDM Newsletter
March 2015

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 add stress.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering Farm Financial Planning, a program providing one-on-one financial support and advice to farmers. The program includes FINPACK, a computerized analysis of the farm business. It also offers useful referrals to ISU Extension and Outreach programs and outside services such as counseling or finance management courses.
“FINPACK gives information to make more informed and profitable decisions for the future of a farm business,” said Ann Johanns, extension program specialist. “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.”

FINPACKAny farmer who wants to understand a complete picture of their farm financial situation, which many lenders are requiring before they will extend further credit, should consider the Farm Financial Planning program. The goal of the program is to help determine farm business needs, and whether or not future changes are desirable.

As part of the program analysis, farm business operators will see at least three in-depth FINPACK business plans and how to implement alternatives like 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 of help.

The service is 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 farm backgrounds so they understand farming and the challenges it may bring.

To set up an appointment, contact the Farm Financial Associates in your area,.

For more information, contact the ISU Extension and Outreach farm management specialist for your county. Or contact the Beginning Farmer Center at 877-232-1999.


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