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Extension > Agriculture > Dairy Extension > Business tools and budgeting > University of Minnesota Extension website has much to offer dairy farmers

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University of Minnesota Extension website has much to offer dairy farmers

Julie Sievert

As Extension Educators, we get asked a wide variety of questions about everything from livestock production to plant diseases to agricultural drain tile. One general topic on which I field a lot of questions is agricultural business management. Many farmers have questions relating to how they run their business – including recordkeeping, pricing, and even estate planning. A great resource for crop and livestock farmers alike is Extension's Agricultural Business Management website. I'd like to give a brief overview of what resources can be found on this very helpful website.

The University of Minnesota Extension Agricultural Business Management website can be found at:

In the center of the page on this site, you can search for upcoming workshops. The workshops offered are presented by members of the Ag Business Management team and address specific topics of interest to Minnesota farmers.

Farther down the center of the page you'll find a link to their most-used and most-popular resources, which are separated into the topic of general Agricultural Business Management, Crops, and Livestock resources.

On the Ag Business Management website, you'll also find a link to information on 15 different topics in their Legal Series – including topics such as marketing contracts, bankruptcy, and mortgage contracts. This website also offers important tax updates, and of course, the latest Education Offerings around the state. The Educational Offerings include information on such topics as the Farm Bill and Farm Policy, Information for Farm Military Families, and Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) Insurance.

Exploring the links on the right-hand side of the Agricultural Business Management website can be helpful for a wide variety of farmers, and these are links and publications that I use often.

Have you ever wondered what a reasonable price is to pay for custom harvesting, drain tiling, or custom baling? Do you provide custom planting to a neighbor and wonder what is a fair price to charge? The Iowa Custom Rate Survey, published by Iowa State University Extension, is a go-to resource to find the range of prices being paid for a wide variety of custom farm work. The link to this publication is at the top of the list on the Agricultural Business Management website, and this publication gets updated annually.

Below the link to the Iowa Custom Rate Survey is a link entitled CFFM Farm Management Publications. CFFM stands for the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota. This link includes resources to answer commonly asked questions. Topics of some publications found here include:

The Rental Rates for Minnesota Counties document includes the average land rent paid on agricultural land per county in Minnesota. Anyone can look up the county they live in and find the average rent paid for the previous year. This information can be great to compare and see where the land you rent from your neighbor fits into that county average. This answers one of the most common questions that I am asked as an Extension Educator: "What is the average land rent in my county?"

The Agricultural Business Management website also has links to related websites including Minnesota Land Economies, FINBIN, Winning the Game, and the Applied Economics Department. I encourage everyone explore these websites as well, where there is a wealth of information on a lot of different agricultural business topics.

One last website I want to mention is managed by the North Central Farm Management Extension Committee. The information on this website is put together by University and Extension Educators and also attorneys from North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. This team has put together a website with fantastic resources that educate about fixed and flexible land rental arrangements, crop sharing land rental arrangements, and pasture rental arrangements. If you would like to learn more about these topics, visit

If you have a question about any of the above mentioned types of rental arrangements, click on a publication on that topic to read more about it. If you want an example of how to actually write a lease contract, click on the lease form for the type you are looking for. There is a wealth of information in these publications for those who want more information or may just be exploring their options with their rental leases.

The next time you have a question relating to the business aspect of how you run your farm, check out the resources Extension has to offer. Always remember, if you have more questions about a topic that you find on the Extension website, contact us by phone or email. We are here to help give you the research-based information you need and want to make your farm business successful.

January 2013

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