New Farm, Ranch On-line Planning Tool

Published in the January 2009 Issue Published online: Jan 13, 2009

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has launched an online resource to aid farmers and ranchers in focusing on how to protect against down-side risks, as well as how best to take advantage of up-side opportunities in the market.

The new resource, a sub-site of the RMA’s Web site called Farm-Risk-Plans.USDA.gov, allows producers to complete a risk management checklist, identify their enterprise’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and explore a wealth of risk management information.

The new resource features four modules: Risk Management Planning, Better Marketing Planning, New Enterprise Planning, and Farm Planning Library. Each contains the best available information, consolidating resources from leading Land Grant Universities and government agencies.

Producers are able to complete two exercises online which give them a novel look at their risk management situation. First is the Risk Management Checklist, a three-page list of questions to stimulate conversation among the family or leadership team of any farm or ranch operation.

The second is a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis, a commonly used planning exercise in the business world, recognizing that small- to medium-sized farms are serious businesses which must use the same tools as any other modern business.

The team that developed this project together over the past year includes farmers, Extension educators, and risk management education consultants, as well as the head of the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas and RMA professionals.

The Web site may be accessed at farm-risk-plans.USDA.gov or from the main RMA site at www.rma.usda.gov.

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