The economic turmoil in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has left many small farm operators with difficult questions about managing their finances.
“The margins of agricultural businesses have always been tight, and now there is a lot on the move, even more than usual,” said Courtney Bir, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and extension specialist in the ‘Oklahoma State University. “Making decisions when you don’t have a clue of what’s going on is difficult. “
OSU has several resources and events that can help. For example, Bir and other experts in economics and finance will be featured at the upcoming Women in Agriculture and Small Business conference, scheduled for August 5-6 in Oklahoma City. The annual event, which could not take place last year due to the pandemic, will feature four programming tracks highlighting agricultural production, alternative businesses, business and finance, and farmers’ interests beginners. A sample of topics includes:
• Understanding of cottage laws and on-site processing, led by Erin Johnson, Commercial / Marketing Client Coordinator with OSU Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center.
• Make smart financial decisions, by Janna Walker, CPA.
• Tax Considerations During COVID-19 Financial Flow, by JC Hobbs, OSU Extension Tax Education and Farm Management Specialist.
• Resources Grants and Loans, by Travis Jones with Federal Natural Resource Conservation Service and Sara Diamond with SDiamondS Consulting.
• Navigating Financial Stakes in a Diverse Farming Operation, by Chad Ward, CPA, with Ward Family Farms.
“There are a few opportunities where people can get help managing their farm finances, which is especially important in these uncertain times,” said Sonya McDaniel, conference organizer, Pottawatomie County Extension Manager . Registration for the conference is available online at https://bit.ly/3hzD6hZ.
OSU Extension’s other financial and agro-industrial resources include:
• Farm Financial Planning Assistance — Expertise in financial planning, including balance sheets and other financial statements.
• Master Cattleman Program — This program deals with beef production, business planning, record keeping, risk management and marketing.
• Lunch and Learn Webinars — This monthly series of short presentations covered a wide range of issues such as leasing pasture, managing commodity price fluctuations, and federal payment plans in the event of a pandemic. Each session is saved for later viewing.
“One of the best ways to prepare is to know your financial situation, your costs and your budgets. This knowledge is invaluable for good financial health, ”said Bir.