Annual report provides snapshot of SD agriculture

Farm Forum

The South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management will soon publish the 2015 Annual Report. I realize many of you are not fond of numbers and this report contains a bunch of them! So, I think it might be best to explain how the numbers are compiled.

First of all, this program would not exist without our students who have paid tuition to enroll in classes offered through Mitchell Technical Institute. The “classes” consist of on-site farm visits throughout the year with most of that time devoted to helping the producers develop a better recordkeeping system. A key element in analyzing farm profitability is collecting accurate financial data at the beginning of the year and comparing that to the end of the year data. For many farm families, that usually involves upgrading their bookkeeping records to a computer-based accounting package and we, as instructors, devote much of our time assisting in this area. Once a good recordkeeping system is established, we monitor progress during the year and offer other suggestions for improving farm management skills

The other goal our program is compiling all of the information from individual farms into the Annual Report. This data is strictly confidential between the instructor and participant. An individualized financial analysis report is provided to each farm enrolled in our program. This is a great tool in determining the strengths and weaknesses in their own operation, especially in the current ag economy.

The Annual Report might seem overwhelming with over 50 pages of data; however, it is organized under three main categories: Farm Profitability, Crop Profitability, and Livestock Profitability. This report provides a glimpse of the financial status of farming operations in South Dakota and can be used to benchmark your farm’s performance. For more information on how to enroll in next year’s program, please contact the South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management at 1-800-684-1969 or email me at