Whether you are looking to get started farming, or perhaps you are considering expanding or discontinuing farming, folks at the Wisconsin Farm Center offer a variety of services that may help you.
The Wisconsin Farm Center is part of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in Madison and is funded with state taxpayer dollars, explains Wisconsin Farm Center ag program specialist John Gasner.
"We are working for you," Gasner says. "There is no additional cost to those we help."
The Wisconsin Farm Center helps producers navigate their farming lifecycle from beginning through growth, change, challenging times and retirement. But Gasner notes, "I have no money and I have no magic wand."
The Wisconsin Farm Center was born out of the 1980s farm crisis for assistance to distressed farmers. According to Gasner, there is no other state that offers these services to farmers.
"We help to grow agriculture in Wisconsin and improve farmers' quality of life," he says.
The Wisconsin Farm Center has financial experts who are experienced in a wide range of farm-related subject areas. The Farm Center team can answer questions and assist with cash flow and enterprise analysis, feasibility analysis, debt restructuring and business planning. All personal and business information is kept confidential. The Wisconsin Farm Center can also direct you to useful resources available.
The Wisconsin Farm Center offers a viability and profitability analysis before making a business plan. The purpose of the analysis is to explore the viability of changes to your farm business. Examples include expansion, modernization of facilities, changes to business management or succession planning.
By doing the analysis, farmers can explore multiple options for changing their business.
"We do this to make sure the farm is worth expanding or transitioning to the next generation. If your finances do not look the best, we will tell you," Gasner says. "We offer a neutral, third-party opinion to farmers. We have no incentive except to be honest with you."
Wisconsin Farm Center staff will go over a summary of planned capital expenditures for the proposed project and detailed budgets. The analysis includes a detailed balance sheet of existing assets and liabilities for the business.
The Wisconsin Farm Center also offers free mediation services to resolve conflicts between family members or lenders, debt restructuring and bankruptcy assistance. They also help retiring farmers decide what to sell, what to rent and what to give away.
The Wisconsin Farm Center financial experts are available weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Farmers can contact the Farm Center toll-free at: 1-800-942-2474 or by email at [email protected].