As we get started in a new year, resolutions abound and we set our sights on making improvements over the previous year. In conjunction, the mission statement of Alabama Extension is to ‘enable people to improve their quality of life and economic well-being’. One main goal of the farm management Extension team is to reach more producers and enable them to improve the quality of their financial records. In 2018, we met with a number of producers and were encouraged by both the feedback and progress we made.
One question that’s always important to answer is: why? Why would a producer care to maintain their financial information? There are several reasons but one major factor is simply being able to make good decisions for the farm. It’s hard to fully understand a situation with incomplete information. In this regard, how could an owner know if the business is doing well or making money without an accurate record of what is happening? Other benefits include: having information necessary for other parts of the business, knowing the value of the business, support in case of an audit, and the ability to see and make changes over time.
Profitable producers generally are the ones able to make incremental changes to their business from year-to-year. Meaning a small reduction in cost and a small increase in revenue from last year could end up being the difference between making money or not. Good records enable producers to see areas where changes are possible and likely ways that the business can improve upon what they are currently doing. If you think you or someone you know could benefit from improving their farm financial records, reach out to your local Extension office.
As is typically the case, appointments and training received are at no-cost to anyone, part of the Extension mission of helping citizens without regard to compensation, ability / income of producers, or any other characteristic. Training can come in the form of a one-on-one meeting set up at a preferred date and time, or with enough interest classes can be held to accommodate up to 10 farmers in one meeting. Producers should leave with enough knowledge and know-how to set up a simple and effective system for tracking financial information. Again, if you think you or someone you know could benefit from improving their farm financial records, reach out to Kevin Burkett, Ksb0002@auburn.edu, 205-245-5365.