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UTIA receives grant to improve farm financial performance in Tennessee

October 05, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand the farm financial management database FINBIN to include Tennessee farms, making Tennessee the only Southeastern state currently contributing data. FINBIN is a well-established, publicly available, secure farm financial database that provides benchmark financial information for producers, Extension educators, lenders and other agricultural professionals.

Because Tennessee is agriculturally diverse, the state will be contributing data on enterprises not previously represented, such as cotton, tobacco, a variety of vegetables, hay, meat goat production and more.

The project will include both UT Extension and UT AgResearch faculty and staff in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. "The goal of this project is to make Tennessee farmers more money," states Chris Boyer, project director. "Benchmarking financial information such as net farm income and cost of production can improve the profitability, competitiveness, risk management, and overall financial health of farms in Tennessee."

Along with producers, stakeholders such as Farm Credit Mid-America can use benchmarking to guide their lending decisions and educate agricultural lenders. "This project will provide much-needed resources to aid our farmers and customers in making better-informed financial decisions for their farming operations," said Mark Wilson, senior vice president for financial services at Farm Credit Mid-America. "Having the ability to compare their operation's financial data to benchmarked data from both inside and outside Tennessee will prove invaluable, especially during this time of tightening profit margins."

In December 2012, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam challenged state leaders in agricultural industry and education to develop a 10-year strategic plan for ensuring the growth and prosperity of agriculture and forestry across the state. One of the recommendations of the Governor's Rural Challenge is to enhance farm net income and cash receipts for Tennessee by improving marketing and production of agricultural products. Thus, the development of benchmarking for farms in Tennessee will be of great interest to state policy makers and could play a key role in gauging the progress of the strategic plan.

The success of this project relies a great deal on Tennessee farmer participation and their partnership with UT Extension. It has the potential to have a large impact on the bottom line of the state's producers. "Throughout my career I have witnessed how effective benchmark analysis can be in improving farm business management decisions and producers' profitability," said Delton Gerloff, interim dean of UT Extension. "This project is a great opportunity to support farm financial management in the state of Tennessee."

Farmers wanting to know more about this project and how they can participate, can contact Chris Boyer at 1-800-345-0561 or cboyer3@utk.edu

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu
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University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

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