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FINBIN – What is it and how do I use it?

by | Mar 5, 2020

FINBIN is the national farm financial database.  The site provides financial benchmark information for farm producers, educators, lenders, and other agricultural professionals.  The database summarizes actual farm data from thousands of farmers and ranchers who use FINPACK for their farm business analysis.  All data is aggregated, with queries requiring a minimum number of farms to generate a report. (No individual farm data is available, this is strictly protected.)

Data in FINBIN is contributed by farm management education programs that use FINPACK as their farm business analysis and summary program.  Currently, FINBIN includes data from 13 programs in 12 states. Additional farm business management associations in other states are in the process of preparing data for submission to FINBIN as well. (Learn more about the contributing farm business management programs here.)

About the data

FINBIN deals with real-world data and the real world is not perfect, but we work hard to verify, to the best of our ability, that the data is complete and accurate.  We feel confident that our work with our cooperating partners yields accurate data you can use to provide meaningful benchmarks for a broad range of farms. All FINBIN data is provided by groups that use FINPACK for individual farm year-end analysis. FINPACK’s financial analysis includes whole farm financial statement and ratio analysis as well as detailed crop and livestock enterprise analysis. Individual farm data is compiled into local, regional, state and finally the FINBIN national benchmarking database. Rigorous accuracy checks are completed at each level and farms that do not meet accuracy standards are excluded. 

Types of Reports

Summary Reports

Summary reports display the average results for the farms or enterprises you select. This type of report is an excellent guide to use when you are examining costs to produce a crop or even preparing a budget for your operation.

You can choose from three types of summary reports. Whole Farm reports look at the farm as a whole. Crop and Livestock reports summarize the costs and returns for a specific crop or livestock enterprise. Each type of report can be sorted or dissected in several ways, such as by farm size or farm type, and filters can be applied to include only farms with specific characteristics.

Creating Summary Reports

  • Report type: Choose the type of summary report you are interested in.  There are several to choose from, whether it is a specific crop or livestock enterprise or whole farm reports on balance sheets, profitability measures, or a financial summary to name a few.
  • Location: FINBIN allows you to drill down to data specific to your area.  Filer the location data by a specific, state, region, or even county.
  • Sorting: Select the way you want to sort the data by choosing the “Column Headings” you’d like.  Select Years for historical reports; Profitability Group to compare high versus low-profit farms; or use Enterprise Size to sort based on farm size.
  • Filters: Filters allow you to narrow your report to include the farms and ranches that fit your criteria.  Select parameters like operation size, profitability levels, or farm practices.  You can even use special sort filters to include or exclude organic or specialty crop farms.
  • Generate Report: Once you’ve selected the customization you are looking for, click Generate Results to see your report.  We take data protection seriously. 

Note: To protect producers who submit their data to the database, we have set a minimum number of farms in order for a report to generate results.  Whole Farm reports need a minimum of 10 instances with crop and livestock summary reports needing 5 instances.  If a report doesn’t generate or a column is missing from your report that means there wasn’t enough data for that specific criteria.  Broaden your search criteria as needed to gather enough farms to yield a report.

Benchmark Reports

Benchmark reports are designed to help producers, or professionals that work with them, identify where they are performing better than like farms and where they may be able to improve. Benchmark reports display the range of results for a specific peer group. For example, a corn report will break down the income and expenses of corn production into percentiles. Having the range of data allows for a more detailed comparison of performance, as compared to the averages displayed in Summary reports. Benchmark reports are available for whole farm comparisons, as well as specific crop, and livestock enterprises.

Similar report types, location options, and filtering variables are available with Benchmark reports, just like what was explained above for Summary Reports.  As you interpret Benchmark Reports, it is important to note results are shown in percentiles, with the median for the group displayed at the left.  Each line of the report is sorted individually, with the weakest observations shown on the left, with the strongest on the right.  For Benchmark Reports, a minimum of 30 instances is required to generate a report.

Compare Your Farm Financial Ratios

The Compare Your Farm Financial Ratios report allows anyone, even those who did not contribute data to FINBIN, to compare their farm’s financial ratios to FINBIN. You might be familiar with the farm financial standards council which developed the “sweet sixteen” ratios. This report uses these ratios to compare your farm to farms included in FINBIN. Once the report is generated your numbers will be highlighted to help you understand where you stand compared to a selected peer group of FINBIN farms.


FINBIN is the premiere public farm financial database available for anyone to use. FINBIN users can generate reports to see the average results for a specific group of farms or to benchmark their farm directly against a peer group of like farms. Comparisons can be made based on whole farm metrics or for specific crop and livestock enterprises. Either way, FINBIN provides users a deeper understanding of the farm business.

Economist | 612-625-6760 | dnord@umn.edu | + posts

Dale is a major contributor to the design and development of the FINPACK farm software as well as the FINBIN Farm Financial Benchmarking Database.

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