Did you know?

Like any software, FINPACK has capabilities that users may be unaware of or have forgotten, as they aren’t often used.  We’ll explore some of these options here.

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Recent FINPACK Update Features

New FINPACK Features 2019

By:  Kevin Hamilton and Taylor Engquist

FINPACK version 5.10.6 was recently released. New features included in the update are the ability to import or export balance sheet details and a financial scorecard addition to cash flow projections (FINFLO). These features have been added at the request of our users and we hope will be useful to all. Let’s take a closer look at these new features.

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Dairy Margin Coverage and how it may help your borrowers

By: Joleen Hadrich, Associate Professor, Extension Economist

Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) is a voluntary federal program available to dairy farms across the country, which can be used to help stabilize dairy farm revenue.  DMC replaces the previous Margin Protection Program (MPP).  DMC makes payments to enrolled farms when the national average income over feed cost margin falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. A number of coverage levels are available for dairy farmers with varying premium rates. 

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Form 1040 Updates

Tax Time - FINPACK

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) is a major piece of tax legislation that has brought about changes to tax brackets and filing rules for individuals and businesses.  The TCJA has also lead to changes on Form 1040, the Individual Income Tax Return form, for 2018. With the changes to this tax form, the most recent FINPACK release – 5.10.4.1988 – includes the updated 1040 form.   This update will align with the changes you will see on the 2018 1040 Form.

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Minnesota Farm Income Hits Historic Low

After adjusting for inflation, Minnesota farms earned the lowest median farm income in the past 23 years of data tracked by University of Minnesota Extension and Agricultural Centers of Excellence within Minnesota State.  

In 2018, the reported median net income was $26,055, down 8 percent from the previous year. Farmers in the lowest 20 percent reported losing nearly $72,000. The analysis examined data from 2,209 participants in farm business management programs, as well as 101 members of the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association.  This is a collaborative project with the FINPACK Team and the Center for Farm Financial Management (CFFM).

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Projections Training

FINPACK Online Training

We want all users to have a positive experience using the FINPACK tools.  Therefore, several training options are available to assist with learning the ropes of the new FINPACK Projection tool.

One of the training options for FINPACK is online training.  Each FINPACK tool has a learning module in FINPACK Online Training.  As you migrate to the 3-in-1 cash flow projection (FINFLO), know training is available and accessible for your use. These training modules have been updated to specifically address using the FINPACK Projections tool (FINFLO).

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FINPACK Annual Update – What’s New?

The annual FINPACK update was released in November and there are several new features to be aware of as you use FINPACK for the upcoming renewal season.

Each year the FINPACK Team takes suggestions and requests from our users to enhance the software. Therefore, feel free to pass along constructive feedback! This year’s update includes:

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FINPACK Training Options

FINPACK Training - Classroom, Online, Custom, and the FINPACK Lenders Conference

There are several training options available to sharpen your FINPACK skills.  Training opportunities are varied to best meet your training needs and schedule. [Read more…]

Farm Incomes Take Another Dip in 2017

Farm Income Takes a Dip in 2017

Minnesota farmers experienced their fifth consecutive year of low profitability in 2017. The median farm earned $28,551, down slightly from just over $36,000 in 2016.  Declines in farm income were largely driven by low profits and losses for cash crop farms, while livestock farms, in general, had a better year.  With average investment of over $2 million, farms earned a 2.2% return on investment. Across all farm types, almost one-third of farms lost net worth in 2017.

Those are among key findings in the annual farm income analysis conducted by University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota State in collaboration with the FINPACK Team and the Center for Farm Financial Management (CFFM). The analysis used data from 2,164 participants in the Minnesota State Farm Business Management programs and 104 members of the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association. Participating producers represent approximately 10 percent of commercial farmers in Minnesota.  CFFM’s work with projects like this provide the benchmarking metrics used in FINPACK.  The full FINBIN report on MN Farm Finances can be accessed here[Read more…]

You Need a Marketing Plan!

The FINPACK team at the U of MN is fortunate to have a broad range of ag expertise. Ed Usset, our Grain Marketing Economist, developed a time-tested approach to establishing commodity marketing plans which have hit home with a lot of producers. Commodity marketing is a big, and often emotional, issue for producers.  We also recognize its importance to your work with farmers.

Margins are tight—Ed’s message of “finding the dime(s)” is imperative.  Planting season will arrive soon. Do your customers have a pre-harvest marketing plan for their 2018 crop? Let Ed show you his plan and suggest a few ways it can be adapted by your farming customers.   [Read more…]