2011 Dairy Farm Business Analysis - The time is now!

Dianne Shoemaker, Field Specialist, Dairy Production Economics, Ohio State University Extension

Grain prices rocked in 2011 if you were selling, but hurt like the devil if you were buying.  Milk prices were pretty nice, but net farm income on each farm will vary from outstanding to poor depending on a number of factors. Whether you were selling grain or buying feed will be one of the major factors. How did your farm do? You surely have a general sense ... you were either pre-paying to manage income tax liabilities or that wasn't an issue ... but how did you do by the numbers?

Direct costs, total costs, and net returns per cow, per cwt, per acre, per bushel, per ton of crops grown. Total cost of production per cwt, feed cost per cwt, net farm income per cow.  These are important numbers for every farm as they monitor individual enterprise profitability, develop and monitor risk management plans, and look for opportunities. 

What was the return on assets? Return on equity? What were the Farm Financial Standards Council "Legal 21" financial measures? How did your farm do this year compared to last year? How does your farm stack up against all of your competition? Against all farms your size? Against the top 20% of both groups? 

Need help answering all of these questions? Completing your farm's financial analysis for 2011 using the FINAN with enterprise analysis program is an organized and effective way of getting those answers done each year ... with the added benefit of a growing state, regional, and national database for benchmarking.

Through grant funding from the National Farm Benchmarking project, we are able to offer a full 2011 FINAN financial analysis, including enterprise analysis to 100+ farms. Field crop, dairy, livestock, poultry and horticultural crop farms are welcome to participate. Analyses will be completed by either Extension or Farm Business Consultants who previously worked with the Farm Business Planning and Analysis program. 

Participants in the project will work with their Extension Educator or Farm Business Consultant to complete their farm's analysis by May 2012. Maintaining each farm's confidentiality is critical and farm analyses are coded before submission to the database where data are only shared as group data, so individual farms are never identifiable.

In July, Ohio's farms are invited to participate in a meeting to review Ohio's farm business summary and learn how to use their individual farm's analysis, Ohio's data, and the national database to enhance their farm’s financial and risk management.

We invite and encourage you to participate in Ohio's 2011 Farm Business Summary. This is a prime opportunity with the benchmarking grant covering the $600 per farm cost of analysis. Questions? Contact Dianne Shoemaker or Eric Barrett at (330) 533-5538 to discuss this opportunity. 

Extension and Financial Analysis Consultants who can help you with this project include:

Dianne Shoemaker

Mahoning County Extension



Ann Gano McCleary

Keeping Tabs, Inc



Thomas Weygandt

Farm Consulting



Don Garrett

Ag Data Solutions



Tom Ackerman

Farm & Sm Bus Consulting, LLC



Eric Barrett

Mahoning County Extension



Chris Bruynis

Ross County Extension



Bruce Clevenger

Defiance County Extension



Jeff McCutcheon

Morrow County Extension



Heather Neikirk

Portage County Extension



Jon Rausch

Union County Extension