Farming and ranching is a way of life. Farm management is a business.
The Farm Management Education Program is a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program which provides a practical study of the farming business for families currently engaged in managing their farms or ranches. This course provides training in computerized record keeping programs which will in return help the farm family organize an accurate record keeping system. Enrollees will learn to analyze their records and determine the financial strengths and weaknesses of their farm business as well as each of their farm enterprises. Content deals with the farmer’s own financial information, which remains confidential. Farmers and ranchers will learn how to prepare financial statements and use them in day-to-day management. All analyses and income statements will be completed on an accrual basis.
You may enroll in this program at any time. You’ll work one-on-one with your instructor for a personalized learning experience tailored to your farm or ranch.
Our mission: To provide lifelong learning opportunities in economic and financial management for families and individuals involved in the farming and ranching business.
Benefits of the program
- Set up and maintain an accurate farm record-keeping system
- Prepare a balance sheet and cash flow projections
- Prepare financial statements for use with lenders and tax preparers
- A long-term computerized record of the performance of the all the aspects of your farm or ranch: types of crops, yields, livestock, sales, profits/losses, expenses, etc.
- Ability to compare year-to-year performance
- Ability to compare your performance to other farms using regional data
- Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your farming operation
- Ability to adjust your farm’s business strategy based on solid data
Farmers and ranchers need to make a lot of decisions about crops, livestock, budgets, and expenditures. The Farm Management Education Program teaches you how to gather data and develop the skills you need to make those decisions with confidence. Don’t just farm your farm. Manage it to maximize profitability and make the most of your farm’s potential.
A student must be actively engaged in farming or a beginning farmer to enroll. All types of farms are eligible. Students may enroll in up to two semesters per year. The course is repeatable. Throughout the course, students will be using their own farm’s financial information, which will remain confidential. The information will be used anonymously in local, regional and state databases.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I enroll?
Enrollment in the program involves registering for a class with a one-on-one instructor at Dakota College at Bottineau. Contact an instructor from your area and they will guide you through the process of filling out a few simple forms.
What will it cost me to enroll?
The tuition is currently $374.08/semester or a total of $748.16 per year.
I don’t want my financial information made public. Should I be concerned?
There is no need for concern in sharing information. All information and data collected is completely confidential. We will establish a relationship with your lender so information can be shared. Your analysis will be submitted for the purpose of publishing state and regional averages but will only be used as part of a group average.
Is there assistance available for paying tuition?
We have a limited number of grants/scholarships that are distributed where there is a genuine need.
Isn’t the farm management program for beginning farmers/ranchers and those with financial difficulties?
Our program has great value to all ages and situations. We have students from ages 18 to 70 and from 1st year farms to well-established operations. It is all about understanding your farm’s financial situation and performance and to help you make better decisions.
Are group classes held?
Regular group classes are not held but there may be special group presentations from time to time which are optional to attend.
What is the time commitment that is required of me?
The time you put into the program will determine how much you get out of it. At a minimum you will be expected to keep a complete set of financial and production records suitable to complete a whole farm analysis. Three to five visits a year are typical but new students may meet monthly. Long-term students may meet less often. Each student’s needs are different.
Do I need to be proficient with computers?
You do not need to be proficient with a computer to take the course. Although learning to use a computerized accounting program is the most common task for first-year students and will ultimately prove to be a time saver it is not a requirement. Our instructors can guide you through the process of learning a new computer program. We have many valuable and time-saving tools and spreadsheets that farmers come to rely on so we do encourage learning how to use them.
I already use a computerized accounting program. Will I have to switch?
You will not need to switch accounting systems. Although each instructor has their preferred accounting program it is your choice. We will make recommendations if you are choosing a program or looking to switch. We can do a better job of answering questions and solving problems if we are familiar with the program. The only requirement is that you have accurate, reliable numbers to work with at the end of the year.
Here’s what farmers are saying about the benefits of this program
“I appreciate the Farm Management Education Program. I like looking at how my numbers are trending from previous years. The program gives me the opportunity to go over my year end numbers on an accrual basis and to see how my numbers stack up to other farmers in the area.”
Bryan A., Bowbells, ND
“I am a beginning farmer/rancher that got involved with the Farm Management Education Program after receiving an FSA loan. This program has been so beneficial to me, I am able to provide my bank and other financial institutions with documentation of whatever means of my operation they need whether it’s financially, herd amounts, or previous years history. Lynsey is great at her job and goes up and beyond the call of duty to help make things easier for us whether it’s planning to buy land, creating cash flows for the bank, or figuring out any problems you may have with easy farm – she guides you through every step. I have benefited in many ways and I know that I would not have the records I have for my business without this class.”
Costas K., Plaza, ND
“Our family has been in the Farm Management Education Program in Bottineau since the first year it started, and it has always been an important part of our farm. From budgeting to the year-end analysis they have been an invaluable partner to the success of our farming operation. They are also a valuable resource for benchmark analysis so we can compare our financials to other farmers in our area to see what we are doing well and where improvements can be made.”
Ben T., Bottineau, ND
“The Farm Management Education Program shares its benefits not only with the producer but with their Ag lender. I myself can attest to how much quicker and easier my job is made when I have customers that work with this program. The packet that is derived allows me to accurately and efficiently originate my presentation to my lending committee in a timely matter. This in turn allows me to get an answer to the customer sooner and gives them peace of mind that they know that everything they give to the lender is correct. By knowing that my customer has a better grasp on their financial scope, I gain a peace of mind that they fully understand their situation from both my eyes and theirs.”
Jacob Fannik, Ag Lending Officer, First Western Bank & Trust, Minot
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