You've reached the Virginia Cooperative Extension Newsletter Archive. These files cover more than ten years of newsletters posted on our old website (through April/May 2009), and are provided for historical purposes only. As such, they may contain out-of-date references and broken links.

To see our latest newsletters and current information, visit our website at

Newsletter Archive index:

Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

The Management Calendar

Farm Business Management Update, April - May 2009

By Gordon Groover (, Extension Economist, Farm Management, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

teal bar

Most business managers are uncertain about the future of their business. Declining revenues and increasing costs have lead many to shut down some enterprises or reduced production to a few core products that they can at least break even on costs. The foundation for making business management decisions during uncertain times and in better times is financial and production records. The main objective is to start where you are now and build your production and financial records system. Where do you start? The best place to start is with your fellow farmers and local extension offices asking questions about current practices. Ask what financial and production records programs are used and what’s good and bad about them. Then gauge what level of data collection and management you will feel comfortable with as a starting point. Be careful not to over estimate what you can get done the first year. I have asked a number of producers what financial system they are using on their computer and their response was, “Our accountant recommended this package (holding up a dusty box). She uses, we got it, we tried it for a few months, and gave up. We went back to the farm record book we’d always used.” So just start off simple, learn as you go, and then upgrade to more integrated software. The same is true for production records; learn as you go, and then upgrade as you realize the need and ability to incorporate the data into the daily management process. The main objective is to establish a system that will help provide the data to manage the uncertainty and a sound foundation for decision making.

Selective information available that might be useful:

Listed below are the items that need to be included on the farm business manager's calendar for the spring of 2009.

teal bar

Visit Virginia Cooperative Extension