To succeed in today´s agricultural and economic climate, farmers need to evaluate the financial health of their farm businesses, to use strategic planning concepts in making financial management decisions, and to think strategically about their future.
The UW-Extension Financial and Risk Management Team developed the AgVentures "Building A Vision" Farm Financial Management and Analysis curriculum to improve participant´s understanding of strategic planning and farm financial analysis concepts. The curriculum is a three day workshop. Between the first and second workshops, the teaching team meets with the participants to gather financial information to produce an individual farm financial evaluation using the Agriculture Financial Advisor program.
Participants are challenged to determine issues influencing the profitability and viability of their business. There is discussion on how these issues influence the decision making process in their business. A plan is developed to set the course for the future of the business.
The AgVentures workshop utilizes interactive learning with a case farm, hands-on opportunities to apply learned skills to the case farm and the participant’s farm.
To date, 57 individuals from 35 farms have completed the course in a series of six workshops. Evaluations indicate participants have increased their understanding of strategic management concepts and important financial measures. Ninety-six percent have indicated they are adopting strategic planning as a regular part of their business operations. One respondent reported that "BAV opened our eyes to a more comprehensive look at the direction the business can go and the mechanics to get us there."