The Business of Crops: Risk and Reward Back »

This article was written by Kim Dillivan, former SDSU Extension Crops Business Management Field Specialist.


This proposed program is an online library of information materials for use by South Dakota crop producers covering business planning, record-keeping, enterprise budgeting, and financial records and analysis. Although many of these documents are currently available in generic form, these examples fail to contain the specificity required for use by South Dakota crop producers. The completion of this proposed plan will remedy that situation.

Crop Enterprise Budgets

These products will consist of one document for each South Dakota region (multi-county), containing the crop enterprise budgets for crops common to that region. A webcast will also be developed that explains how crop enterprise budgets are developed and why they are useful.

Crop Financial Documents

The products will be an income statement, balance sheet, owner equity statement, and cash flow statement specific for South Dakota. A webcast will also be developed for each document that explains how these documents are developed, why they are developed, and how they are used.

Introduction to Record-Keeping

The products will be production and financial record-keeping examples. Also webcasts will be developed that provide relevant information.

Planning for Risk and Reward

This component will focus on the production of webcasts that introduce participants to strategic planning, scenario planning, SWOT analysis, GAP analysis, and the implementation, monitoring and adjusting of plans. Documents will also be developed.

Program Justification

Crop enterprise budgets will provide producers with updated costs of production. These documents are essential for decision-making purposes. Although some SDSU Extension budgets currently exist, they have not been developed by region and they do not exist for all crops. Crop budgets are needed for corn, soybeans, wheat, corn silage, sorghum, alfalfa, grass hay, and oats. Also, sunflower budgets are need for both oilseed and confectionary crops. These documents should help South Dakota crop producers increase profitability and efficiency. Other land grant universities produce similar documents, but South Dakota crop production is sufficiently different from crop production in other states. Therefore, South Dakota crop producers require a set of budgets that incorporate their unique costs. To our knowledge, information related to crop enterprise budgets are not offered in private programs.

Various crop financial documents and record-keeping documents are necessary for South Dakota agricultural producers to improve efficiency, profitability, solvency, and liquidity. Prior to the farm debt crisis of the mid-1980’s, farm financial record-keeping was not widely practiced or standardized. Some experts theorize that inconsistencies in record-keeping might has worsened or prolonged the financial crisis. As a result, agriculture producers today have an ongoing need to be proficient with standard financial practices and analysis. SDSU Extension does not have relevant examples of these documents, and to our knowledge they are not being produced by private programs. In regard to these documents, explanations and guides-to-use must also be provided by SDSU Extension.

Also, adequate planning is necessary for any farm and ranch businesses to succeed and thrive. SDSU Extension currently does not have any programs in place that focuses exclusively on strategic planning, scenario planning, or other planning components that would help foster business success. To our knowledge, this type of programming is not being offered by private entities in South Dakota.

Target Audience

Target audience is crop producers in South Dakota. We hope to reach at least 1,000 individuals who play some role in the management of their farming operation.

Private and Public Value

We anticipate that participants will become better farm managers. The overall goal will be to improve farm productivity, profitability, liquidity, and solvency. And as farm managers improve their abilities in these areas, farms will become more sustainable, which should help improve the stability of rural communities, improve the bottom line of input supplies, help generate increased tax revenue, and lessen the need for some government intervention. Another indirect outcome will be the continued growth of a sustainable food supply that does not compromise environmental concerns.

Program Delivery

An online library consisting of webcasts, electronic newsletters, examples of agricultural production and financial documents, iGrow articles and documents, and various analyzes and comments. Products are from the following areas: farm record-keeping, business planning, enterprise budgeting and cost analysis, and financial documentation and analysis. Products will be available on iGrow.

Data Collection

This online library of information material will be developed from large amounts of data. Much of this will be gleaned from existing publications or from documents that are produced as the result research. Some information will be collected from partners and collaborators. Survey information collected from stakeholders may be required.

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