The past few years have been challenging for farm owners, who have been faced with numerous issues that have taken their toll on many farmers’ financial affairs. Farmers have long found themselves facing issues caused by high prices, have experienced difficulties in paying back loans, and the spectre of further interest rate rises – which would make debt repayment all the more complex – continues to loom as we move into the latter half of 2019.
While many of the issues farmers are facing are outside of their control (for example, they cannot influence geopolitics or encourage the Fed to keep interest rates low to ease debt repayments), a focus on finances remains incredibly important in trying times. So below, we’ve put together three tips that can allow you to get the most out of the aspects of farming finances that you are able to control…
#1 – Make time for budgeting in your schedule
Budgeting is rarely anyone’s favorite task, but it’s a task that has to be done. However, when time is short, budgeting tends to fall by the wayside, which can lead to issues further down the line. As a result, it’s helpful to schedule a specific time every week that you can use for financial purposes: you can carefully monitor and update your budget, track the farm’s outgoings and expenses, and essentially just make sure that all figures are adding up as you would expect. If you are not currently using dedicated accounting software, then this is well worth considering – software can help to ensure these regular check-ins are straightforward, so you can return to your regular working day as soon as possible.
#2 – Build the habit of constantly seeking the best possible deal
In everyday life, people are constantly told of the importance of finding a good deal – and these simple techniques can also apply to your farm’s finances. If you have been with a supplier for a long time, it’s worth shopping around afresh and seeing if the price can be beaten; consider attending farm equipment auctions when you need to replace machinery rather than buying new; and constantly check to see if there are ways you can cut your expenses.
#3 – Consider additional revenue streams
If your budget is in need of a boost, there are a number of “side hustles” that may be able to help with this. You don’t need to stray too far from farming to give a side hustle a try, either; you could, for example, set up a farming-focused YouTube channel that you can monetize, or start a blog about daily farming life. Alternatively, you could also look ahead to fall and consider creating a pumpkin patch that the local community can visit, or offer tours of the farm to school and community groups. Finally, if you’re looking for long-term revenue boosts, adding a restaurant or cafe could secure a second stream of income that you can rely on for many years to come.