Record keeping - OH, MY!
Posted: October 2, 2012
Record Keeping – Oh, My!
When I think about farm record keeping I remember when we had cows. We saved every receipt and check stub, had DHIA and A.I. records, kept livestock registration certificates, and even did our taxes. This is not what I’m talking about today. Keeping records is easy. Doing something with these records is the hard part. Fortunately, this hard part is where the value is.
Let’s first try to come up with a few reasons why we may be able to utilize our record keeping efforts.
This is a good one. The Federal, State and Municipal authorities where we live and conduct business probably expect us to file tax forms annually. There are well established guidelines and even experts we can pay to get this done. To me – taxes are the least important reason to have a record keeping system.
Another good reason. Without adequate planning, calculating, projecting and then measuring-of-results we have no idea if our time, trouble, and finances are being put to good use. All of this requires some form of record keeping. How many acres, plants, animals, people? How much fertilizer, fuel, labor, water? How much yield? What was the price received? What did we plan to get? versus What we got?
C) Risk Management
This is my favorite reason to have an adequate and appropriate record keeping and records analyzing scheme. For me – it’s all about minimizing the risks we take balanced against maximizing the returns. It’s very difficult to get this done if we are simply working from day to day without the benefits of an organized and efficient way to track and then adjust our actions. And besides, if we don’t establish a record keeping system early on we are at a great disadvantage when we start to take advantage of the crop insurance products available to us. These products are best utilized by those farmers that can justify their past history as farmers.
For additional information on record keeping and record analysis consider the following sources:
Record Keeping as a Form of Risk Management
Penn State Extension
Farm Planning & Record Keeping
North Carolina Extension
Establishing and Using a Farm Financial Record-Keeping System
University of Tennessee Extension
Computerized Farm Record keeping
Ohio State University Extension