A couple sitting down to planning and budgeting

How we support farmers: planning and budgeting

Kristen Johnson Latest Blog Posts, Permanent Crop, Product Success, Row Crop, Specialty Crop

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It’s true that “the best laid plans” shift and change and sometimes go all to heck. But that doesn’t mean you don’t make them. Our Planning and Budgeting module, a cornerstone of our farm management software system, gives you actionable insight to plan for profit, through the unexpected variables every year will inevitably bring.

Conservis Planning & Budgeting helps you create operating and financial plans based on accurate numbers, then use those plans to align resources and drive your business forward. Our solution makes it easier to spot issues quickly, reconcile your actuals against budgets, and deal more confidently with bankers and investors.

Conservis Planning and Budgeting

Plan for profit. We help you make a plan that's based on real numbers and real scenarios, a plan that's customized for your operation and perfected for profit. Create detailed crop plans that are optimal for different growing scenarios and are based on accurate, field-level information, not averages. When your operating plan takes margins at the field level into account, and when you can see projected margins, you can optimize your production.

“Starting at the field level improves the accuracy of a budget and ensures all input costs can be tied back to each field,” says Stu Clark, Senior Product Manager at Conservis. Then as you implement the plan, you continue to see what's happening with your budget. “As activities are tracked throughout the season, actual costs are calculated automatically, which means growers have real-time insight into their plan vs. actual costs," he said.

Brueggeman Farms

Improve your margins. Armed with financial insight and awareness of where your money is going in real time, you’ll have an easier time knowing what financial moves to make in your operation. You’ll know your costs of production, including your break-even position, instead of guessing. You can look ahead to understand cash requirements and therefore improve cash management. You’ll have the insight to manage well through shifting plans and market shifts.

Reno Brueggeman of Brueggeman Crop Services in Miller, SD, appreciates that insight into predicted profitability helps him make informed market decisions. “Planning and Budgeting is a good way to budget out and see where we can lock in future prices to make us profitable,” he said. “Everything in budgeting is a guess, but this gives you a good idea of where you need to price your grain.” (Read the Brueggeman Farm case study.)

Sproule Farms Team, Grand Forks, ND

Sproule Farms

Make informed decisions. With resource and cost information in one place, you can make every penny count. You can make adjustments to crop plans to optimize your profit based on growing season and field specific conditions. You can analyze your input costs and see clearly how different scenarios impact your margins. With a clear eye on profit margins, you’ll be able to optimize every decision and its financial results.

Paul Sproule of Sproule Farms in Grand Forks, ND, enjoys the process of looking at financial performance through the lens of field performance. “One of the biggest things I look at is yield and how it performs overall as far as by soil type, by fields, by region, and plant population,” he said. He’s impressed by the ability to manage profit margins down to the acre. “The platform has gotten very, very good,” said Paul. “When we look at our yield data… what it comes down to is, what is your ROI? Are you making the right decisions, right timed decisions, and are you doing the right things?” (Read the Sproule Farms case study.)

Deal confidently with stakeholders. The ability to communicate real-time numbers with stakeholders such as bankers, landowners, and investors is a big win. A detailed plan can make it easier to secure working capital, and borrowing costs can be reduced when you’re able to better manage lines of credit. As the year goes on, you can communicate changes and progress with those you choose to share with, building transparency and trust.

Anytime you have clear, organized, up-to-date information in your hands, it makes things easier for all parties. “At any point of the year we can make a quicker decision for clients based on higher quality info and much more accurate information, to make an informed decision in a timely manner,” said Rabo AgriFinance COO, Robert Lubben, in one Farm Progress article.

Use the plan to manage the work

When it’s time to get to work, you’ll use your plans to make purchase orders for inputs and generate detailed work orders to move materials, machinery, and manpower right where they’re needed. With a common set of tools used across the operation, everyone knows the plan and can track progress against goals.

Parket Merritt at MBS Family Farms in Plainfield, IA, appreciates how Planning and Budgeting flows into the work that needs to be done on the farm, keeping efficiency front and center. “We use Planning and Budgeting and the Work Order modules to help manage our outside helpers,” he said. “It gets challenging to manage those folks. Conservis allows us to create those Work Orders ahead of time, so those outside helpers know what they will be doing when they arrive on site. It allows us to release those Work Orders to them, indicating it’s ready to go anytime now." (Read the MBS Family Farms case study.)

“It’s starting to tie our whole system together. From the Planning and Budgeting piece to the Work Orders which enable the operations guys in the field to know what to do. This continues down to the inputs and follows all the way through to the moment that I sell the grain and put a settlement in to ensure we’ve been paid for the crops. It’s nice to have one system that helps ties the whole entire process together step-by-step, making sure that information is correct from beginning to end.”

Kerri Mehmen, MBS Family Farms

Conservis Planning & Budgeting helps you create crop plans and lock in budgets in one place. You start by creating revenue scenarios based on factors like historic yields, crop prices, and the sequence of activities needed to grow a crop. When you line up that information with costs of inputs, land, 3rd-party services, and other factors, you get insight into your total cost of production, break-evens, and margins.

And then you get to work. Plans can always go awry, but you know what they say: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Interested in what Conservis farm management software could do for your operation? Let’s start with a conversation.

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