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Free Farm Analysis

NDSU ag management class is looking for producers who will open their books.

North Dakota State University students in an advanced farm management courses are looking for farm and ranches to study.

The program is part of Students in an advanced farm management course will work with about 14 farmers and ranchers in North Dakota and Minnesota to develop integrated farm business plans, according to

"Cooperating farmers will come away from this with an extensive analysis of their farming operation that will allow them to see where they stand relative to peer groups and the industry," says Eric DeVuyst, an NDSU associate professor who is the course instructor. "They'll also have a long-range business plan for the next three to five years that encompasses production, financing and marketing."

DeVuyst says potential cooperators should be within 150 miles of Fargo and have basic records for their operation, including balance sheets and income statements.

"Farms can be large or small, financially strong or struggling," he says. "A diversity of farm types and financial condition will give students a broader base of experiences."

To participate, farmers and ranchers must make their production and financial information available to the students. The students will keep those records confidential, DeVuyst says. Participating producers also will need to be available to meet with the student team one or two times during the semester to answer questions about records and goals.

A team of two to four students will evaluate a farm and suggest management opportunities to improve long-term viability. Each participating farmer or rancher will receive the team's final report. The report will include detailed production analysis; a five-year production, marketing and financial plan; and recommendations.

This is the ninth year that farmers and ranchers will be involved in the course.

"The last eight years, both the farmers and the students found this to be an educational and enjoyable experience, and many producers expressed interest in being involved in future classes," DeVuyst says.

To take part in the project, contact DeVuyst at (701) 231-7466 or by Jan. 4, 2008.

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