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State officials offer financial advice to farmers for end of year planning


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wisconsin farmers may not be doing a lot of growing right now, but ag officials say financial planning in the winter can make for a fruitful season next year.

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is offering farmers a chance to talk with experts about what sort of planning they should be doing now and into next year. Foremost is figuring out your current financial situation. Frank Friar of the Wisconsin Farm Center says the last days of 2013 are crucial. "They need to be evaluating where they are tax-wise, do they need more income, do they need less income, is this the time to sell another 2000 bushels of corn?" Balancing this year's budget can help keep problems from forming on in the start of 2014.

You should also be taking a close look at your financial statements over the past year and correct any mistakes. Friar says having an independant person look at those numbers can be helpful. "There is one thing worse than having no records, and that's having inaccurate records that lead you astray when you think you're doing it right."

This is also a good time to sit down and look at how your farm performed, and what sort of money will be going into the start of 2014. "Was it a profitable year, could have it been more profitable if some things have been done differently? So, it's a never ending process in planning, it's going back saying 'what went well, what can we do better?'" You should also be sitting down with your workers or family and go over the numbers so that everyone is on the same page.

If you'd like some help with that planning, you can call the Farm Center toll free at 1-800-942-2474 or email them at farmcenter@wisconsin.gov. Staff are available weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.