Becky Finfrock

Jan 27, 2014  |  Today's News

Farm Futures magazine will hold a one-day seminar on farm financial management on Feb. 20, 2014 at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark hotel. The meeting was first scheduled to take place Jan. 6 but was postponed due to inclement weather.

The seminar is designed for all farmers who want to boost skills that can lead to better farm management decisions. The event comes at a crucial time for U.S. agriculture, as lower grain prices, farm bill uncertainties and high input costs squeeze profits.

"With lower profit margins forecast for 2014, many farmers are telling us they want to beef up their financial skills," 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 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 receive one of two reports: “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 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 Ag Finance Boot Camp costs $100 per person. Farm Futures has arranged for a special room rate of $85 per night at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark hotel. To see the agenda and register, go to

The boot camp is sponsored by John Deere and Farm Credit Services with in-kind support from the Farm Financial Standards Council. Farm Futures is a Penton/Farm Progress publication.