The number of female farmers and agribusiness owners is growing. According to a United States Department of Agriculture report, the number of farms operated by women has nearly tripled over the past three decades—from 5 percent in 1978 to 14 percent in 2007.
The 2007 study of women-operated farms also reveals:
Regardless of your gender, farming is a demanding career. It requires hard work and knowledge of agriculture, business and marketing. Here are a few financial tips for female farmers and agribusiness owners:
Develop a business plan.
Outline your business goals and how to achieve them. Remember, business planning is a process, not an end product. When you focus and organize your goals, you will work smarter and improve your odds of success.
Keep good, accurate records.
To be successful in the ag industry, it’s not enough to be a good producer. You have to be a good financial manager, too. Keep accurate and detailed records to encourage both short-term and long-term financial planning. Not only does it help you stay organized and make better management decisions, it makes it easier for your lender to assess your financial situation.
Getting price quotes on supplies such as feed, fertilizer and fuel can uncover lower cost sources. Your research might get you a discount from a local, preferred supplier that gives excellent service. Make sure product quality is part of your evaluation.
Research financial resources.
Your banker can help. Ask them for guidance on how to access state and federal credit enhancement programs. Some banks even also offer special benefits for first-time schedule F tax filers.
Ask for help.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and share your business plans. Aspiring farmers can learn from seasoned growers, a trusted advisor or even your local banker. You don’t have to make important financial decisions alone. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one.
Busey understands the unique challenges female farmers and agribusiness owners face. Our experienced farm managers can help—whether you need a loan for production expenses or to purchase land and equipment. For the resources you need to maximize your efforts, call us today at 1.800.67Busey.