By STACY CAMPBELL
Cottonwood Extension District
Kansas State University agricultural economists have launched an updated online course to help farmers and ranchers develop and use financial statements more effectively in making management decisions, says Stacy Campbell, Crop Production agent with the Cottonwood District.
K-State farm analyst LaVell Winsor said the course, Finances and the Farm, allows agricultural producers to complete each lesson on their own schedule.
“The agricultural economy is swinging back to a lower margin environment, which makes it important for farmers to understand their finances to determine if they need to make changes in their operation,” Winsor said. “We hope that producers might learn how their lender looks at their financial statements, and understand ratios and how their operation benchmarks to other farms.” Registration is available online. The cost is $300 if the participant wants to earn Farm Service Agency borrower credits, or $100 for the education only.
Winsor said the online course focuses on seven key areas:
· Record keeping.
· Balance sheet.
· Income statement.
· Enterprise budgets.
· Cash flow.
· Goal setting.
· Managing family living expenses.
“Many farms have a younger generation that has returned to the farm,” Winsor said. “One good way to take this course is for the older and younger generation to take it together to prepare the younger generation to take over record keeping in the future.”
The instructors for the course are Winsor and K-State Research and Extension farm economist Robin Reid, who also encourage producers to consider another online course, Risk Management on the Farm, which focuses on commodity marketing, enterprise budgets, crop insurance and government programs.
“I commend LaVell and Robin for their hard work in putting together this self-paced online course for our farmers and ranchers in Kansas, and essentially across the country. Agriculture
producers can do the day to day, boots on the ground kind of work to keep their operation going. But can sometimes lack in area of financial statements and the time to commit to a course that meets for consecutive weeks,” says Campbell.
More information on these and other self-paced, online courses from K-State’s Department of Agricultural Economics is available at https://agmanager.info/events.
Stacy Campbell is a Crop Production Extension agent in the Cottonwood District (which includes Barton and Ellis counties) for K-State Research and Extension. You can contact him by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling 785-628-9430.