Finance training can make farmers better customers

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Like the chief executive officer of any corporation, an agricultural CEO is a manager and visionary for their agricultural enterprise. The “Growing Ag CEO's” education program under the leadership of the South Dakota State University Extension Service will be held at two locations in the state beginning in early May.

Such training is becoming highly prized for helping farmers and ranchers run their operations in a sustainable, profitable manner. Purdue University is an institution of higher learning that has taken a leadership role in showing the value business-person training and has training programs designed for different business types, including agricultural retailers. Customers with a solid background in finances is usually a good customer for retailers.

The South Dakota training begins May 8, 2013, at Kadoka and Belle Fourche beginning May 28, 2013. The program will be held on four consecutive Wednesday evening in Kadoka and Tuesday evenings at Belle Fourche with a meal served at each session. If participants attend more than the first session the course will qualify them for the Extension service’s “FSA Borrower Training” program.

Ag CEO focuses on teaching beginning farmers and ranchers to use a systems approach to farm business planning. As changes to production systems continue to move forward across the state, nation and world farming and ranching business needs to adapt to these changes.

Strategic planning, breakeven numbers, developing budgets and creating benchmarks to compare the yearly production and financial performance are the main focuses of Ag CEO. These are keys to success for a sustainable operation, says Adele Harty, SDSU Extension cow/calf field specialist.

"Ag CEO is a program geared toward beginning farmers and ranchers, but is of value to any producer," Harty said. "Producers are being charged with feeding 9 billion people by the year 2050. With the changes to agriculture during the past 20-40 years, their skill set needs to expand in order to accomplish that goal and remain a viable and sustainable operation."

To address these changes the general topics for the sessions include: ranch vision, resource inventory and management (family, land, crops and livestock), and financial record creation, budget development and analysis and production topics that are personalized to the producers in attendance.

Registration for the meeting can be made at http://www.igrow.org/. Registration fee is $250 for all four sessions, for the first two people from the operation. A fifth session will be offered to assist those producers who need FSA Borrower Training for an additional $100.



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