Financial and Strategic Management

The mission of the F.A.R.M. Team’s Financial Management & Strategic Planning Workgroup is to improve the farm financial and decision-making skills of Wisconsin agribusiness and farm managers, agricultural lenders and UW-Extension Agents.


Financial Benchmarking (AgFA – Agriculture Financial Advisor)

Understanding your own financial profile is important for the success of your farm operation. Benchmarking helps you assess your farm operation and determine its strengths, weaknesses and areas where improvement is possible.

WI Dairy Farm Ratio Benchmarking Tool
Compares dairy farm’s financial status with +500 dairy farms in the State of Wisconsin. Data is from the AgFA (Agriculture Financial Advisor) database: 2000-2008. Calculates 15 Financial measures. REQUIRES: Excel 2007. (CLICK ONLINE TOOLS)

Interpreting Financial Statements and Measures (IFSaM) – Center for Farm Financial Management. This site was created to help producers understand how to interpret common financial statements. Learn how to use your financial statemetns in day-to-day managemetn of your farm management. Anyone with an internet connection can assess these videos.

Decision-Making Tools
The Center for Dairy Profitability and affiliates have developed a number of tools to help improve production efficiency and profitability.

The Working Capital (WC) Decision Support System: consists of a suite of tools. It is intended to assist dairy producers in identifying annual cash flow balances for the recent past (1-2 years); project expected incomes and expenses for the coming year and identify cash excesses/shortfalls well in advance of occurrence. Stand alone Excel, AGFA compliant, Balance Sheet and Farm Earnings Statements are also offered.

Supporting Documents:


Heart of the Farm – Financial Management Factsheet Series, 2018

This factsheet series was developed as part of the Heart of the Farm – Farming Your Finances Workshop Series.  They were authored by Sandy Stuttgen, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Taylor County with input from Heather Schlesser, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Marathon County and Simon Jette-Nantel, Nate Splett and Jenny Vanderlin, University of Wisconsin, Center for Dairy Profitability.


Rachel Perry, agronomy student intern at Arlington ARS
Photo from UW-Madison CALS Flickr

Understanding the Financial Model 

Understanding the Farm Business Balance Sheet, Part I

Understanding the Farm Business Balance Sheet, Part II: Interpretation and Analysis

Understanding the Farm Income Statement, Part I

Understanding the Farm Income Statement, Part II: Accrual Adjustments and Interpretation

Understanding Profitability Using the Farm Business Balance Sheet and Income Statement

Managing at the Bottom of the Farm Income Cycle


Financial Benchmarking Papers
Cost of Production 

Financial Management Papers: Accompanying financial management articles for RME Grant, “Planning for the Next Swing in Milk Price.”

Record Keeping Software

Agricultural Accounting and Information Management System (AAIMS)
Integrated financial records system that enables farmers to organize and quickly analyze their financial records. Allows for the concurrent storage of physical information associated with the financial data.


Building a Vision – Financial Management and Analysis
This curricula provides agricultural producers with a working knowledge of finance and strategic planning to help improve their ability to reach desired personal and business goals. Producers will increase their understanding of profitability, cash flow, and other financial measures used in the industry. There is ample discussion on how financial issues influence the decision making process in their business.


For more information on training CONTACT: Jenny Vanderlin, 608.263.7795

  • AgFA – Data Input and Analysis
  • Quickbooks Training for the Beginner