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Agricultural News

A Pilot Project Focused On Helping Farmers With Financial CheckUp Now Available Free of Charge From OSU Extension

Tue, 13 Oct 2020 14:32:43 CDT

A Pilot Project Focused On Helping Farmers With Financial CheckUp Now Available Free of Charge From OSU Extension A free program is now available for Oklahoma agricultural producers interested in getting help with their farm financial plans through a new pilot project offered by Oklahoma State University Extension.

Farm financial specialists with the OSU Department of Agricultural Economics and OSU Extension field staff economists recently received grant funds through the University of Minnesota to begin doing farm financial plans that will ultimately become part of the benchmarking database FINBIN.

FINBIN is one of the largest and most accessible sources of farm financial and production benchmark information in the world, providing detailed reports about whole farm, crop and livestock financials.

"For this pilot program, we are working to recruit farmers and ranchers and help them complete beginning balance sheets," said Courtney Bir, OSU Extension agricultural economist.

Bir was recently interviewed by Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays and she emphasized "knowledge is power" when it comes to knowing your financial situation.

People don't like to talk about their financials and often wait until serious problems occur that need to be fixed, Bir said.

"If we demonstrate there is enough interest, we then can complete full financial plans and contribute to FINBIN, which should be very useful to Oklahoma producers."

The OSU economist said farmers should consider this a financial checkup, much like humans getting a physical checkup.

Beginning balance sheets are a great start to the program because they are also useful for farmers and ranchers as they try to secure loans, Bir said.

Additionally, many support programs require beginning balance sheets.

"Benchmark data is extremely important in that it allows producers not only to identify specific areas of concern in their operation but to get an idea how they are doing compared to other producers in the state," said JJ Jones, OSU Extension area agricultural economist for southeastern Oklahoma.

We're here to guide you through the process, Bir added.

The program is free so it's a great value. Other states charge for the service, she said.

This is similar to a program in the 1980's known as IFMAPS (Intensive Financial Management and Planning Support) that OSU Extension used to help farmers reorganize debt load and convince lenders to advance loans to some applicants who had been turned down.

For more information or to take part in the farm financial support program, contact Bir by email at courtney.bir@okstate.edu or by phone at 405-744-9813.

To hear more of Ron's interview with Courtney Bir, click on the listen bar below.

(Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services)


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