Open Books for Farmers Farm Finance Events

open books for farmers

Open Books for Farmers – Enroll today, orientation begins January 2018!

Open Books for Farmers is a project designed to help non-commodity farmers master farm financial record keeping and analysis through real-world application. Farm financials are vital to the success of a farm business, but can be difficult to tackle without the proper training. With support from a group of farmer peers and professionals, Open Books helps farmers assess financial statements, organize their finances, and take control of their farm’s financial performance! 

In Open Books participating farmers meet periodically to share business successes and challenges with one another over the course of 3 years. Participants learn how to use financial ratios and benchmarks to identify strengths and weaknesses of their businesses and to make management decisions that increase profit and improve quality of life.

Through the Open Books for Farmers project, farmer participants will:

  • Improve financial recordkeeping skills
  • Learn how to use financial analysis tools to boost your bottom line
  • Share financial challenges with other farmers in a confidential setting
  • Receive referrals to business and financial professionals

Open Books for Farmers 0rientations are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

Northern Illinois Open Books Group & Orientation 
Starved Rock Lodge | January 20th, 2018 | 10:30 am – 3:00 pm

Southern Wisconsin Open Books Group & Orientation
Monroe Library | January 27th, 2018 | 10:30 am – 3:00 pm

Learn More & Enroll Today!>>>

Project Goals

  • To assist farmers in achieving greater financial viability and a higher quality of life
  • To enable experienced farmers to become financial mentors to others in the farming community
  • To deepen our collective knowledge of non-commodity farm financial trends in our region

Application Criteria

Farmers who meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply:

  • Currently operate a farm business in northern Illinois or Wisconsin 
  • Have been producing and selling farm products for at least three years 
  • Had gross farm revenue of at least $15,000 in 2017

Participant Commitment

Open Books for Farmers participants agree to:

  • Share farm financial information with Open Books group members
  • Be open to advice from group members
  • Respect privacy of group members and agree not to disclose any financial information
  • Attend 2-3 in-person meetings per year and actively participate in the program for 3 years
  • After 1 (or 2) year of participation in this program, consider mentoring one or more beginning farmers during the second year
  • Use our financial record keeping tool 


Learn more about farm business planning from at

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