Monitoring Financial Data

Determining the sustainability of your farm means looking beyond maximizing profits, the traditional measure used by agricultural economists. If maximizing profits is your only guide, you will miss the larger picture of quality of life, environment and community. The materials presented in this chapter provide you with a way to see how well your farm supports this larger picture.

What Is It?

Monitoring farm sustainability with financial data involves the use of a simple worksheet and information from common financial statements to measure your farm’s progress in four areas: 1.) reliance on government programs; 2.) use of purchased inputs; 3.) creation of local jobs; and 4.) balance Image

between feed use and feed production.

Who Does It?

The worksheets are geared primarily for use by individual farmers or farm families.

When?

The worksheet should be completed once a year, as part of your annual financial planning process or after tax reports and financial statements are completed.

Time Required

Once the usual financial statements and tax reports are complete, filling out the worksheet should easily take less than an hour.

Materials & Cost

A master copy of the worksheet is provided with this chapter; your only cost will be to make copies of this master.