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2018 Financial Analysis for South Central North Dakota


The North Dakota Farm and Ranch Business Management Education Program published their 2018 Annual Report for South Central North Dakota in mid-April.  The report is a summation of the financial analysis for the 2018 fiscal year of the farms/ranches enrolled in the ND Farm and Ranch Business Management Programs in the region.  The South Central Region consists of 20 counties in south central/eastern North Dakota, excluding the Red River Valley.

Exploring a few key numbers from the report, we see that average net farm income in 2018 was $127,089 compared to $116,714 in 2017.  Net farm income ranged from $-23,274 (low 20% farms) to $379,822 (high 20% farms).  The $127,089 net farm income compares with a low of $20,193 in 2015 and a high of $421,735 in 2012, when making comparisons over the last 10 years.

Gross cash farm income on the average farm was $878,646.  Ranging from $662,236 (low 20% farms) to $1,803,585 (high 20% farms).

The average net worth of the farms/ranches in the region was $1,306,389.  This represented an increase in net worth of $76,241 (6%) from 2017.

The average net return per acre on cash rented land before government payments/after government payments.          

  • Corn:  $-1.68/$10.74
  • Soybean:  $70.58 (including MFP)/$87.94
  • HRSW:  $22.12/$40.30
  • Barley:  $13.35/$33.93
  • Canola:  $-32.75/$-15.49
  • Pinto bean:  $-6.32/$4.51

Beef cow-calf whole herd operations with backgrounding saw on average per cow $875.30 in gross revenue, $669.73 in total direct expenses, and $86.78 in total overhead expenses for a net return of $118.78 per cow.

Key financial ratios for the average farm in the region were:

  • Current Ratio:  1.46 (working capital of $194,163)
  • Farm Debt-To-Asset Ratio:  48%
  • Farm Equity-To-Asset Ratio:  52%
  • Rate of Return on Farm Assets:  4.7%
  • Rate of Return on Farm Equity:  4.9%
  • Operating Expense Ratio:  73.2%
  • Interest Expense Ratio: 5.4%.

For additional information about the ND Farm Management Education program and to find more reports go to


Joel Lemer
Farm Management Education Instructor

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