Becky Finfrock

Dec 24, 2013  |  Today's News

Farm Futures magazine will hold a one-day seminar on farm financial management on Jan. 6 at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark hotel. The meeting is designed for all farmers who want to boost skills that can lead to better farm management decisions.

"Many farmers tell us they struggle to understand the numbers behind their business," says Mike Wilson, Farm Futures editor. "Our most recent farmer survey shows farmers with the best business skills are three times as likely to run high-profit farms."

The learning event comes at a crucial time for U.S. agriculture, as lower grain prices, farm bill uncertainties and high input costs squeeze profits.

"The Ag Finance Boot Camp is ideal for farmers who want to become better managers and navigate the volatility so common in farming," says Wilson. "Great business management starts with a broad understanding of dollars and cents."

The sessions will be taught by professionals affiliated with the Farm Financial Standards Council.

"I am excited that we have this opportunity to work directly and hands-on with a group of farmers and ranchers from across the country," says Jim Kelm, Ag consultant and FFSC president. "While we hope those at the Boot Camp will get great information from what our members present, we also look at this as a way to get some real feedback on the materials we've prepared and the way they are being used."

Topics for the boot camp include:

  • Why financial recordkeeping for agriculture is more than cash-basis accounting
  • Real-life application of the basic principles of ag accounting, including standardization of definitions, measures, ratios, benchmarking and analysis methods
  • How to improve the financial condition of your operation through sound financial analysis and improved financial decision-making skills
  • Understanding balance sheets, income statements, cash flows, liquidity and profitability measures

A panel discussion will focus on key financial topics for farmers and ranchers, such as financial literacy required to do accrual-based accounting; accounting on the farm vs. outside services; training available for accounting software and financial management; and how to use recordkeeping to improve borrowing power.

Attendees will be given a link to download their choice of either the “Financial Guidelines for Agriculture” or the “Management Accounting Guidelines for Agriculture,” provided by the Farm Financial Standards Council. The “Financial Guidelines” document will be the January 2014 edition, which includes a new, extensive section on hedging.

The Ag Finance Boot Camp costs $150 per person. Farm Futures has arranged for a special room rate of $85 per night at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark hotel. For convenience, the boot camp takes place a day before the Farm Futures Business Summit, Jan. 7-8, at the same hotel.

The boot camp is sponsored by John Deere and Farm Credit Services. To see the agenda and register, go to Farm Futures is a Penton/Farm Progress publication.