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 business advice to farmers. The program includes FINPACK, a computerized analysis of the farm business. It also offers useful referrals to ISU Extension programs and outside services such as counseling or finance management courses.
Get complete picture of your farm financial situation
"FINPACK gives information to make more informed and profitable decisions for the future of a farm business," says Ann Johanns, ISU 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."
Any 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 using 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.
Analysis shows possible effects if changes are made
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.
Farm financial consultation is available at no charge
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 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 adviser located closest to your area:
• David Entriken, Webster City, phone 515-835-1565, or email [email protected]
• Jim Dane, Iowa City, phone 319-354-3963, or email [email protected]
• Roger Stewart, Red Oak, phone 712-623-6316, or email [email protected]
• Mark Olsen, Newell, phone 712-660-1597, [email protected]
• Tom Olsen, Newell, phone 712-272-3232, or email [email protected]
For more information contact the ISU Extension farm management specialist in your area. Their contact information is at extension.iastate.edu/ag/farm-management-0. You can also get in touch with a farm financial adviser who works for the Farm Financial Planning program by calling or visiting your local county ISU Extension office. If you are a beginning farmer, another contact for financial advice and help is the Iowa Beginning Farmer Center at ISU, phone 877-232-1999.