Here is a sample farm dashboard with key financial ratios that indicate your financial health. The categories are listed as the Farm Financial Standards Council recommends; liquidity, solvency, profitability, repayment capacity and efficiency.

benchmark farm dashboard form

While the categories may be of equal importance to an operation, Dale Nordquist, University of Minnesota Center for Farm Financial Management associate director, suggests the most important measures within each category may be as follows:

  • Liquidity –working capital to gross revenue
  • Solvency –debt to assets ratio
  • Profitability –rate of return on assets
  • Repayment capacity –term debt coverage ratio
  • Efficiency –operating expense ratio

The "average" column reflects 2,939 farms' average values. Users who view Minnesota data, see data from farmers who participate in MnSCU Farm Business Management and the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Association. Individual farms work with representatives to complete detailed financial analyses at the close of each year. The analyses are compiled into the FINBIN database.

At the whole-farm ratio level, this data can be used with care by farmers in other states, although Nordquist cautions farmers will see some regional differences in certain years.

To complete a dashboard online, go to http://www.finbin.umn.edu/WholeFarmBenchmarking/default.aspx. The site has a handy option for those who don't know their ratios, where it will calculate them for you.