Market-Based Enterprise Budgets Toolkit
The budgeting tools on this page can help guide small-scale farmers when analyzing net returns. Marketing costs can dramatically change the profitability of an enterprise or the whole farm. We have found that many farmers do not include marketing costs in net return analysis. Unless they consider marketing costs, they can’t calculate the operation’s true net return.
This toolkit contains sample budgets for 10 crops, or enterprises. It provides farmers the information they need to determine what sales market outlets to further develop or reduce, and how a change in production practices can influence the bottom line.
Each crop in the tabs below includes a free, downloadable Excel budget workbook that farmers can use to enter their own farm’s information for analysis.* This free resource was supported by funding from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.
According to the USDA NASS 2017 Census of Agriculture, 2,524 farms sold transplants for commercial vegetable and strawberry production; 2,058 of those acres were grown under protection. Total sales of transplants were $250,168,076 in the 2017 census. The farm partner for this study is certified organic, so the sales receipts in the accompanying enterprise budget reflect organic prices. See the first tab of the workbook for more information and instructions.
The budget presented here is a snapshot of asparagus production and sales. Asparagus takes two years to establish. This budget does not include costs for the establishment period because the owner (not the farmer) of the plots incurred those expenses. Therefore, the cell under “Ownership costs” called “Land” is blank. Normally, we would enter the average lease rate per acre in the state or region where the production is located. The three plots used in this study are leased to the farmer on a per-acre basis for one plot and percentage of total yield on the other plot. To view an asparagus budget that includes pre-production costs, please visit ISU Extension and Outreach AgDecision Maker. See the first tab of the worksheet for more information and instructions.
FFED program coordinator Emily Coll conducted the research with six Iowa farmers, and created the toolkit. Contact her with any questions.
*Note: The six farmers who participated in this study did not have loans for their farms. If yours does, be sure to include interest in the calculations on the Cost of Production tab.