Get a farm financial check-up this winter


As farm leaders continue to shift their focus from harvest wrap-up toward farm business review and planning for 2024, it’s time to schedule an important part of that planning: Getting a financial “check-up” for your operation.

Once you have your 2023 results and numbers in hand, that’s a great time to start diving into what it all means. It’s one thing to have a whole bunch of data – all the statistics and financial outcomes – but it’s another to turn those numbers into actual insights to help you improve your operation.

If you have a lot of data from 2023, it can become overwhelming at times to know how to turn it into something useful. It can be helpful to work to get key metrics set up for your operation – the right benchmarks for your unique operation that allow you as the leader to check in and get a clear sense of how your operation is doing, ideally at any time of year.

The metrics are key

If you don’t yet have key metrics selected for your operation, you can work with a financial advisor for your operation or with your lender to get those set up. The metrics that will work best will depend very much on a combination of your unique operation and your business goals for the future.

This is really important because the measurements and metrics that the farm leader chooses to focus on are going to also be where they will naturally spend more effort and energy to try to move the needle. Focusing on the right metrics – not just the metrics of another farmer or from a generic spreadsheet – will allow you to target your efforts in the right direction.

Checking up

Many farmers have found that working with their farm’s financial advisor throughout the year, but especially during the winter, can help them get a better sense for where the operation is at financially – through reviewing and looking at trends in the metrics, any unique circumstances of the crop year, and so on. This financial “check-up” is key before moving on to setting any 2024 business goals or other specific plans for 2024.

When you know where your farm is at, and can point to specific, meaningful metrics for your operation that provide deeper understanding, that can bring more confidence to setting up business and marketing plans for 2024. Running the operation by the numbers is a major goal for many farm leaders who want to take their operation to the next level. A clear financial view of the farm is a key step to make that happen.

How are you navigating this market?

Farmers have found that getting some third-party perspective from our market advisors has helped ease their minds. The advisors help farmer clients with planning and execution around marketing decisions and help keep them up to speed on the current rapidly-changing grain market situation – and how it impacts their operation.

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