K-State offers online courses in finance and risk management – AgFax


Agriculture and ranching, even in times of prosperity, can be difficult pursuits. Among many other forces, growers regularly face weather uncertainties, disease, pests and even politics.

But the events of the past few years — a trade war with China, COVID-19, rising farm input prices and the current war in Ukraine — have piled on an already long list of hardships for rural Americans.

“More than ever,” said Kansas State University extension agricultural economist Robin Reid“The management of agricultural finance and risk is essential to the long-term financial viability of agriculture.

K-State’s agricultural economics department has released two online courses to help farmers and ranchers through tough times. They are:

  • Finances and the Farm – six lessons covering record keeping, the balance sheet, income statements, cash flow, managing family living expenses and setting goals. The course includes three hours of short video content and 1.5 hours of bonus content. The cost is $100 (studies only) or $300 if the participant wishes to receive the Borrower’s Financial Training Credit from the Agricultural Services Agency. Registration is available online.
  • On-Farm Risk Management – a five-part series on production costs, crop insurance, crop marketing, farm programs and beef cow/calf risk management. The course includes over 4.5 hours of short video content. The cost is $100 (education only). Registration is available online.

Both courses are self-paced, which means that participants can take up to six months to complete the material, although it is recommended that participants set a schedule to complete it in 4-6 weeks. Reid and K-State Farm Analyst LaVell Winsor are the instructors.

“These courses provide an excellent applied approach to developing and using agricultural financial statements for management decision making and for mitigating risk using insurance products, government programs and marketing plans,” Winsor said.

Reid said the finance course is designed for “a wide range of agricultural producers.”

“Keeping farm records and preparing financial statements is not unique to any type of farm or ranch, she said. “So in this course we offer two case studies: one is a row crop and beef cattle farm, and the other is a farm oriented towards Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or farmers’ markets.

The risk management course, she added, is designed for a row farm operation, “with additional information on risk management for cow-calf producers.”

Last year, 133 producers took the finance course; The Risk Management course is new this year, although it is based on material presented during a five-part series offered by K-State agricultural economists earlier this year.

“This program offered 28 in-person locations and had 340 participants,” Winsor said. “By launching the same program in an online and on-demand format, we’re allowing producers to take the course at their convenience.”

Reid said those who register before May 15 get a $25 discount on education-only prices. For the finance course, the promo code to use is EP2VC5; for the risk management course, the code is RSKMGMTFM25.

More information is also available by contacting Reid via email, [email protected], or 785-532-0964.

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