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Supporting Farmers Through Challenging Times

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Wisconsin News Connection is here.

MADISON, Wis. - Even in the best of times, running a successful farming operation is more complicated and demanding than most people realize. It's a tough time for farmers now, and that's why the University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture sponsored recent meeting called Supporting Farmers During Challenging Times in Kiel, Wisconsin.

As farmers face increasingly tight margins, financial consultants with the Agriculture Department's Farm Center will give presentations on how to accurately analyze a farm's finances. "Part of this is having them do big picture thinking as we go through the presentation," explains Frank Friar, one of the presenters. "I talk about green flags, meaning move ahead, and red flags, something that ought to be stopped, just like the traffic lights." One presentation dealt with ideas to help farmers avoid stress when they have to make tough decisions about their operation, and another will help farmers develop nutrition strategies. Friar says the presentations were designed to give farmers information they can take home and put to work immediately. "Just overall things - if they can do something, they come away from this meeting with one or two things that they should consider and think about doing, then I think the meeting is successful," he explains.

The Agriculture Department's Farm Center can be a great resource for anyone involved in agribusiness, according to Friar. He says they deal with a variety of issues. "Reviewing cash flows, reviewing feasibility, reviewing debt analysis," he points out. "We want the farmer to come in with the base plan and we'll review it and give them feedback. We also do a lot of transition planning for transitioning from one generation to the next." The services of the Farm Center are available for farms just starting up, as well as for established farm operations.

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