Lincoln, Neb. — A new Nebraska Extension financial services program offers farmers and ranchers across the state tools to utilize existing data to improve decision-making and management in their operations.
Nebraska Strong Financial Services was created by the Department of Agricultural Economics to offer analysis and planning that is complementary to — and independent of — accounting services. Benchmarking, which measures a variety of financial indicators to compare performance to other area operations, will be a major focus of the program.
“Management requires measurement,” said Cory Walters, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics. “Benchmarking provides a foundation for farm businesses to assess how they are doing relative to leading businesses.”
Comparing a producer’s operation to state and regional data will provide a clearer picture of performance over time and aid in decision-making.
“Benchmarking allows farms to survive and correct weakness to increase economic efficiency, which increases the chance of farm survival,” Walters said.
As part of extension, Nebraska Strong Financial Services offers an unbiased source of analysis, according to Pedro Masi, a financial analyst hired earlier this year to work with producers in the program.
“We don’t see ourselves as competing with accounting firms for accounting services,” he said. “We are actually providing an additional service to help farmers improve their decision-making.”
The program offers both whole farm and enterprise analysis to provide an overview of operations and identify strengths and weaknesses. Cash flow planning and benchmarking are then incorporated to aid projections and assessment over time. All data that is collected through the service will remain anonymous.
During the post-analysis phase, Nebraska Strong Financial Services can also work to help producers connect with the specialized expertise of extension educators and university faculty, to assist with farm management needs, such as better marketing strategies, pest control systems, land leases and more.
Producers of any size, including those affected by the 2019 flooding, are encouraged to find out more or sign up for the service by calling Masi at 402-472-3401 or visiting the Nebraska Strong Financial Services website at https://agecon.unl.edu/nsfs.