Integrating the North Dakota Farm Business Management Program into the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center

S. Metzger

As of October, 1997, the Carrington Area Farm Business Management Program, with its original sponsorship through the Carrington Public School district and the North Dakota State Board for Vocational Education, relocated its office facility to the Carrington Research Extension Center. The Carrington Area Farm Business Management Program serves over sixty farms within a sixty mile radius of Carrington. In addition, it also serves as the local educational agent for the North Dakota Farm Management for Profit program, serving over twenty additional farms in this capacity.

How does the work of this program then relate to the work presently done at the Center? The Research Extension Center spends countless hours and much effort in producing production and performance data to better serve the needs of the agricultural producers of central North Dakota. The Farm Business Management Program is devoted to increasing farm profitability and assisting agricultural producers and their families, in achieving their business and family goals.

The Farm Business Management Program deals in depth with such items as farm record keeping, short and long term cash flow planning, enterprise analysis, marketing, whole farm analysis, business and family goals, and other related topics. The presentation and discussion of these topics, is greatly enhanced by the constant interaction of research and extension personnel with this program. Likewise, data gathered by the Center, can often be enhanced by relating it to actual costs and returns, as recorded by producers in the area. For example, the economic impacts of trials dealing with such items as chemical or fertilizer rates, may have additional meaning when compared to the actual costs and returns of producers as summarized in the area and regional farm management reports. Detailed production information and the reality of farm economics must be viewed in unison, if North Dakota farms are to grow and prosper.

The physical proximity of the Farm Business Management office within the Research Extension Center lends itself to much cooperation and team effort. The cooperative efforts of these two agencies have produced, over the past years, numerous workshops and seminars dealing with assorted crop and livestock topics. In addition to attending a wide variety of group meetings, area producers now find themselves calling at the Research Extension Center to discuss not only their production practices but also their overall management, financial, and business concerns.

As the production, economic, environmental, and social demands increase for rural farm families, the continued joint efforts of these programs will lend itself to providing for additional opportunities for agriculture producers in central North Dakota.

Return to Contents