Farm financial associates through ISU Extension program can help producers in challenging times

The year 2020 brought many challenges and uncertainties to the world, and agriculture most definitely felt the impact.

Wild price swings, supply chain disruptions and economic hardships caused farmers across Iowa to review their finances and operating plan in great detail.

During these difficult times – and any time farmers are looking for financial advice, they can turn to the Farm Financial Planning Program with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Seven farm financial associates are available to help, and will work one-on-one to develop confidential financial plans that help producers across the state. The associates are part-time extension employees with career training in farm budgeting and financial analysis, with farm backgrounds and an understanding of the current farm situation.

Associates use the FINPACK software to provide producers with a more in-depth evaluation of their farm business and advice on working with lenders, whether it’s to restructure the farm, expand, find new revenue, liquidate or something else.

“I love helping farmers explore their options,” said Norlan Hinke, farm financial associate with ISU Extension and Outreach. “When I retired from banking, I wanted to do something where I could be beneficial and help people or an organization, and I wanted to do something I enjoyed, using some of my career skills.”

Hinke said the challenges of the current year have created a “tremendous demand” for financial help, and he hopes more people will take advantage of the financial planning program.

The service is free for the client, and the financial associate can become as involved as the client wishes. Hinke said he will meet with the farmer and lender if the farmer wishes, but the farmer is still the decision maker.

Hinke explains the many benefits of working with a farm financial associate in an audio recording with Ann Johanns, education extension specialist with Iowa State University. A total of five audio recordings are available at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/farmanalysis/audio.html, covering topics like contacting an associate, what to do after an analysis, and what lenders are looking for.

For more information, contact Ann Johanns, education extension specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, at 515-337-2766 or aholste@iastate.edu. Or contact your local farm financial associate by visiting the Farm Financial Planning Program website at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/farmanalysis/associatelist.html.

For information about the Farm Management team and your local farm management specialist, visit the Farm Management team website at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/ag/farm-management.

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