Financial Management Resources

Books  |  Budget Templates  |  Business Planning  |  General Resources  |  Goal Setting

Enterprise Budgeting Tools  |  Government Programs  |  Labor and Employment Information

Loans and Funders  |  Software  |  Taxes  |  Risk Assessment




Benchmarks of Yields and Prices

Iowa State Ag Decision Maker   Offers data for benchmarking

WI Center for Dairy Profitability Benchmarks for dairy farms, both organic and non-organic, including grazing operations.

MN Center for Farm Financial Management, Generates benchmark and summary reports for crop, livestock and dairy.

Selected Alternative Agriculture Financial Benchmarks, Iowa State University Extension, 2012

USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service, bi-weekly updates on current agricultural commodity prices.

Wis. Center for Dairy Profitability, Benchmarks for dairy farms, both organic and non-organic, including grazing operations.

Wisconsin Dairy Ratio Benchmarking Tool (WisDRBT) Allows you to compare your financial ratios to your farm’s past performance, and do a comparative analysis with the industry.



Building a Sustainable Business A 250-page free book from SARE with worksheets on goal settings, determining markets, business planning, mapping out strategies to take on new opportunities etc.

Farm to Market Handbook, Janet Hurst, Voyageur Press, 2014, 176 pp. Guides to markets available to small farmers. Also developing a realistic marketing plan, food laws and regulations and insider tips on how to be a successful businessperson.

Farms with a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business. Rebecca Thistlethwaite, 2013. 304 pp. Chelsea Green Publishing. A discussion of business management for long-term sustainability using numerous farmers’ best practices as examples.

The Lean Farm: How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work Ben Hartman, 2015, 256 pp. Chelsea Green Publishing, Practical, systems-based approach for a more sustainable farming operation.

Making Your Small Farm Profitable. 1999. By Ron Macher. Storey Publishing. Whether you’re buying a new farm or jump-starting an old one, with Ron Macher’s down-to-earth advice on planning, farming, and marketing you’ll soon make your farm profitable.

Market Farming Success: The Business of Growing and Selling Local Food, Lynn Byczynski, 2006. Chelsea Green Pub. 275 pp. An insider’s guide to market gardening and farming for those in the business of growing and selling food, flowers, herbs, or plants.

The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops and Staff – and Making a Profit.  Wiswall, Richard. Chelsea Green Publishing, 2009. Companion CD has electronic templates to create enterprise budgets and templates from the Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program Farm Financials Workbook.

Record Keeping for Organic Growers, Kristine Swaren & Rowena Hopkins, 2010, 116 pp, Canadina Organic Growers, templates for organic certification record keeping

Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers, Lisa Kivirist, 2015, New Society Publishers, 256 pp. Practical considerations from a woman’s perspective, covering business planning to tool use and integrating children and family in farm operations.

Starting and Running Your Own Small Farm Business. 2007. By Sarah Beth Aubrey. 2007. 176 pp. Storey Publishing. From financial plans to advertising budgets, Web design and food service wholesalers.


Business Planning

AgPlan U of MN Center for Farm Financial Management, 2010. Free business planning app

Agricultural Diversification Compass: A Guide to Choosing New Directions for Your Farm, Minn. Department of Agriculture, 12-page booklet.

Developing Your Business Plan, video series, U of MN Center for Farm Financial Management, 2013.

Getting Started in Farming: An Introduction to Farm Business Planning, National Center for Appropriate Technology, free, eight lesson online course for visioning a successful farming business and developing a business plan.

HMI (Holistic Management International) Resources, trainings and free downloadable tools for farm planning and management  505-842-5252


Enterprise Budgeting Tools

Ag Decision Maker website, Iowa State University. Numerous templates for various enterprise budgets.

Ag Risk-Farm Management Budget Library, A one-stop searchable database for crop and livestock enterprise budget information, designed to provide online access to current enterprise budget information and software from throughout the U.S.

Enterprise Crop Budgets, UW Center for Dairy Profitability, Excel budgets for corn, soybeans, alfalfa, small grains)

Small-scale Livestock Enterprise, Purdue University. Publications and online spreadsheets to help assess cattle, sheep, goat and turkey operations.

Veggie Compass, UW-CIAS. You enter cost, sales, and labor data, and the Compass spreadsheet will calculate cost of production for each crop and the profitability of each market channel.


Farm Transfer

A Legal Guide to the Business of Farming in Vermont. University of VT. Updated Sept 2015, can be downloaded in 9 chapters.

Farm Transitions Workbook, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension, 2015, 122-page workbook that can be downloaded.

Managing Debt to Prepare for a Farm Transfer, Farmers Legal Action Group, 2006, 12-page booklet.

Preparing to Transfer the Farm Business, U. of MN Extension, 2013, 30-page fact sheet series.

Transferring the Farm Virtual Workshop, Univ of VT Extension, 2015. Virtual workshop. Online course


Financial Statements and Budget Templates

Simple Farm Cash Flow Projection – Badgerland Financial, Fillable Excel Template

Simple Balance Sheet – MOSES, Fillable Excel Template

Simple Income Statement – MOSES, Fillable Excel Template

Farm and Ranch Account Book – Oklahoma State University, 82-page printable pdf

12 Steps to Cash Flow Budgeting, Iowa State University, 2014

AgPlan Financial Spreadsheet. U of MN Center for Farm Financial Management, Downloadable Excel spreadsheet to develop balance sheet, income statements, and cash flows.

Balance Sheet Spreadsheet, KSU, 2016, downloadable Excel.

Basic Farm Accounting and Record Keeping Templates, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) 2012, Downloadable Excel spreadsheet with templates for budgets, cash flows, balance sheets and income statements.

Cash Flow (Budget) Spreadsheet KSU, 2016, downloadable Excel.

How to Calculate Current Assets, an article by Fit Small Business to help you determine your farm’s assets.


General Financial Management Resources

Farm Finance Scorecard, Univ. of VT, 2014. PDF form listing Farm Financial Standards Council ratio definitions and benchmarks

Growing Farm Profits online course, Southern SAWG. Developed for farmers to improve the profitability of their farms. Videos, worksheets, presentations and documents. Includes financial and non-financial management info and tracking tools.

Interpreting Financial Statements and Measures, U of MN Center for Farm Financial Management. 2009. Resources to help you learn how to interpret your financial statements.

MN Center for Farm Financial Management, U. of MN, provides educational programs and software tools for farms.  800-234-1111

MN State Colleges and University Farm Business Management, Farm business management classes and assistance.  218-894-5163


Goal Setting and Planning

Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, USDA national website for value-added agriculture, wide diversity of information on idea assessment and feasibility analysis.

Exploring the Small Farm Dream Course and Workbook, New England Small Farm Institute, 80-page workbook and course.

Evaluating a Farming Enterprise, ATTRA, updated 2011, 20-page fact sheet.

Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management Planning Book, Oregon State University Extension. 2011, 44-page workbook.

Planning for on-farm Success, Workbook for Montana’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, Module 1, Strategic Planning. Community Food Agriculture Coalition, 2015.

Planning for Profit in Sustainable Farming, ATTRA, 2011, 20-page fact sheet.

Square One: Build a Farm to Match Your Values, Goals, Skills, and Resources, Cornell Small Farms Program. Online course to set goals, assess available resources, and explore enterprises.


Government Programs & Resources

Farm Answers, USD-NIFA, beginning farmer and rancher web clearinghouse, resources to help new and seasoned farmers succeed. Links to 100s of useful resources created for farmers with support from USDA grants.

Farm Bill Programs and Grants Overview, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Chart of farm and food-related programs and grants, listed by issue and eligibility. 202-547-5754

New Farmers, USDA website, tools, stories, links to Government resources.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) FSA offers variety of farm loan programs, including traditional operating loans, beginning farmer and youth programs.


Labor and Employment Information

Beyond Basic Compensation, ATTRA, 2016. 20-page fact sheet.

Farm Commons, legal resources for sustainable farm businesses. Articles, videos, webinars and tutorials. Info ranges from contracts to employees to business structure and farm law.

Farm Labor and Human Resource Management website, Michigan State University, publications and fact sheets including employees handbook template and ag employer checklist.

Farmers Legal Action Group (FLAG), resources and publications including farm labor law publications for Minn.

Positive Practices in Farm Labor Management, ATTRA, 2008. 16-page fact sheet.

Willing Workers on Organic Farms, (WWOOF) International exchange program for those interested in helping on organic farms.


Loans and Funders

Farm Credit Network, A network of federally chartered borrower-owned lending institutions and related service organizations that specialize in providing credit and related services to farmers.

Financing Your Farm: Guidance for Beginning Farmers, ATTRA, 2011. 8-page fact sheet.

FSA Farm Loan Application Forms, Farm Service Agency, 2015.

Funding Opportunities Database, ATTRA current announcements for grants, loans, scholarships, awards, challenges, and costshare and research programs.

Guide to Financing the Community Supported Farm, U. of Vermont Extension. 2012. 70-page book with ideas and case studies.

Minnesota Department of Ag, Farmer loan programs for MN farmers.

Small Farm Funding Resources, USDA, 2016, resources collected by the Rural Information Center: starting a farm business, develop business and marketing plans, funding sources, training, technical assistance contacts.



Comparison of Transaction Costs by Marketing Outlet, Iowa State University, downloadable Excel spreadsheet to plug market numbers into.

Exploring Markets and Profits, (BD 102) Cornell University online course.

Guide to Working with Food Market Professionals , Wis. Dept. of Ag, Devt. 6-page pdf.

Wisconsin Local Food Marketing Guide, Wis. Dept of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection, 2014. 109-page book, free online



How to Determine the Right Farm Rental Rate, Univ of VT Extension, 2017. 31-page booklet useful for farmland, equipment and infrastructure rentals.

Machinery Cost Calculator, Iowa State University Extension, 2015. Downloadable Excel Spreadsheet to use to calculate the cost of owning and operating machinery.

Valuation of Raised Breeding Livestock, OK State Extension, 201. 4-page fact sheet.


Non-Financial Record Keeping

AgSquared, Online diversified vegetable record keeping software $99-$300+ per year. (non-financial) seasonal calendar, help estimating seeds to purchase, scheduling tasks etc.

CSA Toolkit, U of CT Cooperative Extension, 2015. 55-page booklet with information to start and operate a CSA farm business.

Recordkeeping Instructions and Templates for Small-Scale Fruit and Vegetable Growers, Farmers Legal Action Group, 2015. Templates for collecting data useful for planning and tracking data on small farms.

Siskiyou Sustainable Cooperative (Oregon) CSA App. Open source, customizable content available to any CSA farm. Designed to provide members with CSA-specific information, including recipes and box information.


Resources for New Farmers

Beginning Farmer Resources, ATTRA,

Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, formal apprenticeship program for beginning dairy producers,

Farm Answers, USD-NIFA, beginning farmer and rancher web clearinghouse, providing resources to help new and seasoned farmers succeed. Links to 100s of useful resources created for farmers.

Farm Beginnings Collaborative, a network of non-profits offering in-person classroom trainings for new farmers over a series of months.

Farmer Veteran Coalition, National network offering resources and support to mobilize veterans to feed America.

New Farmers, USDA website, tools, stories, links to Government resources,


Software & Apps

AgSquared, Online diversified vegetable record keeping software $99-$300+ per year. (non-financial) seasonal calendar, help estimating seeds to purchase, scheduling tasks etc.

Capterra, Large list of farm management software tools.

Decision Support Tools for Agriculture, Montana State University. Extensive collection of free farm software based on excel spreadsheets.

FinPack, University of Minnesota Center for Farm Financial Management Software program. $149/year.

Introduction to Farm Accounting Using Quickbooks: Users Manual, Univ of Wis Extension, 2008.

Moneydance, financial software.

“Quick Tips” newsletter, Ag Econ Extension at the University of Oklahoma.

QuickBooks, financial software by Intuit.

Quicken, financial software by Intuit.

Quicken for Farm/Ranch Records Manual, 2016, Oklahoma State University



Rural Tax Education website provides farmers with a source for easy to understand and current agriculturally related income and self-employment tax information.

Tax Management Tips for Farmers, 2016, Michigan State University. 7 page fact sheet.

Understanding Your Federal Farm Income Taxes, Penn State Extension, 8-page fact sheet. 2013.


Risk Assessment

Managing Risk in Agriculture, Purdue University website .

Risk Assessment for the Small-Scale Farm, 2015 New England Small Farm Institute, 4-page fact sheet

USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Online publications and crop fact sheets.


The information on this page is supported by NIFA, USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (2015-70017-24092).

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