Benchmarks provide key measures of a farm’s performance over time and an opportunity for comparison with industry standards/expectations. Ideally, benchmark data are useful in evaluating past business decisions and serve as guides for future actions.
Benchmark standards and trends are available for producers of many major agricultural commodities in the US. Whereas, benchmarks for highly diversified farms selling products in multiple, direct and intermediary markets are hard to find and, for most regions of the country, nonexistent.
Since 2018, six states in the upper Northeast (primarily New England) have lead an effort to better define financial performance measures for two distinct high-value agricultural sectors; namely, direct market produce operations and maple syrup producers. The Center for Farm Financial Management’s analysis program, FINAN, has served as the principal tool for collecting participating, direct market farm data and providing initial reviews of business financial performance.
This presentation will share the results of our work with diversified, direct market produce farms through 2020. We’ll focus on the financial benchmark measures, project impacts to date, and challenges we found common across the farmers with whom we worked. Participants who attend this session and work with farmers on financial management will be able to apply lessons learned and financial measures in their efforts