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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Release of New Farm Planning and Analysis Software

Farm Business Management Update, April 1999

By Gordon Groover of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

The Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota has released a new version of its popular farm financial planning and analysis software FINPACK. FINPACK has been an agricultural industry standard for assisting farmers in analyzing past financial performance and projecting financial implications to changes in production management. FINPACK provides a systematic way of addressing the three most important questions a farm business manager must ask about his business: "Where am I?" "Where do I want to be?" and "How do I get there?" Virginia Cooperative Extension farm business management agents have used FINPACK for more than 15 years to assist farmers in addressing these critical questions. Addressing these questions is of paramount importance to Virginia farmers having suffered through the low commodity prices in 1998 and with limited prospects for improvement in 1999.

FINPACK 99 is available in a personal version for farmers to use with their farm businesses and in a professional version for agricultural consultants and lenders. Virginia Cooperative Extension's farm business management agents are all trained to use FINPACK to assist farmers seeking to assess financial performance and plan for a major change in their farm businesses.

"FINPACK 99 is designed to run under Windows 95, 98, or Windows NT 4.x.," says Bob Craven, Center Director and Extension Economist. "We think we've maintained the best of previous versions while making improvements that will benefit old and new users alike. We've added input and output guides to help you move around the program faster. You can preview your output to quickly check your work on the run. We have improved loan and conventional calculators. Finally, we have what we think is an impressive Windows interface."

"We've always maintained that one of FINPACK's greatest strengths was the improved give and take it creates between lenders and the producers they work with," says Craven. "It helps when a farmer walks into the bank with a balance sheet that shows his or her business structure and borrowing capacity. Add to that a well thought out cash flow plan, and the comfort level, even in tough times, is certain to improve."

For more information, contact Gordon Groover, AAEC Dept. (0401), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24060; phone (540) 231-5850, or e-mail You can visit the Center for Farm Financial Management's Web site at:

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