Crop Information Tracking for Farms – It’s All About Profits

The plain and simple truth is that if you don’t track financial information by crop, farm, field, and land owner, you are just guessing whether you are making the right decisions regarding your farm. On the flip side, when you are tracking it, you can also do “what if” scenarios that open the pathways to making better business decisions. “What if” scenarios can help you:

  • Compare the profitability of individual production years regardless of crop/livestock.
  • Determine which products to continue producing by comparing the profit per acre/head of each crop/livestock.
  • Determine if fields/livestock are not producing to their potential.
  • View the break even cost/bushel for each field in a production year.
  • View the profitability of a field regardless of which crop it raised over a period of time or determine if it is more profitable to raise feeder hogs or farrow to finish.
  • Analyze and compare profitability between profit centers, farms, and production years or any other combination of business segments.

If you track inventory, it will provide you with more accurate profitability analysis. If you aren’t tracking inventory, then you can’t really do accrual accounting, so you just expense your supplies (seed, fertilizer, etc.) in the year you purchase it. But that might not be the same year that you use it, AND it may not be the same year you sell the crop. So you could have the expense in one year and the revenue in another year… thus throwing off profitability for each year.

You can decide how detailed you want to be with tracking crop production…

  • Start really basic – just do production tracking by crop, farm or field, or a combination of crops & farms or by land owner.
  • Once you are comfortable with that, you could expand the next year (or whenever you feel comfortable doing so) and start tracking inventory.
  • Then once you are comfortable with that – you can start using WIP (Work In Process) accounts and doing accrual accounting (and getting more informative and meaningful financial reports).

5 Ways to Get Good Tech Support

I recently ran across a blog that had great information for anyone who calls tech support for assistance. It doesn’t matter if you’re calling for help on your accounting software, your computer or your cable tv, the posted information can help you get your assistance in a quick and friendly way.

Thank you to for the great reminders on how we can all get better technical support.

5 Ways to Get Good Tech Support

As someone who has both given and received copious amounts of tech support, I thought I could offer a few pointers on what works and what doesn't. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment!

  1. Don't be afraid or sheepish to ask for help. If I got a nickel for every time someone came to me asking for help saying "This is a stupid question," or "I'm sorry to ask you this, but...", well, I'd be rather wealthy. This is what the tech support people are there for! It's their job. You can certainly be nice to them, but don't be afraid to straight-out ask for help.
  2. Ask for help right away. Instead of plugging away for hours to try to figure out a problem, go ahead and tap their expertise early. The earlier you get to them, the less frustrated you will be and the more likely that you will have a pleasant interaction.
  3. Explain what you are trying to do when something went wrong and then what happened--exactly. Please don't give the whole story about where you are trying to go with your project and why you are trying to do what you're doing, and why you hate this particular program... If you can list the exact steps that took you to the problem point and then what happened, including any error messages you saw and screenshots, that will help the tech support person help you.
  4. Keep your goal in mind. Remember your goal is to get good tech support and to get your problem solved. So many tech support people get burned out. They're dealing with problems all day, never anything nice or a "wow this works great!" Remember that the tech support people are not the ones who built the product that is annoying you; they are the ones who are trying to help you. They want to help you. Remembering that, it will serve you well to say thank you when the solution is solved, and to be pleasant to the person during the interaction.
  5. Don't turn your emergency into someone else's. This goes out beyond tech report, but it also applies here. When we find ourselves in an emergency, or we left something to the last minute, we become crazed. As a result, we infect others around us with our craziness. If you infect tech support with your panic, you will not only get worse service, you will probably become "that guy" -- the person that the tech support people avoid in every possible way. You don't want to be "that guy," so calm down, get the help you need, and continue solving your emergency.

When calling about help with software issues, there are a few additional things to keep in mind…

  • Start with a reboot of your pc before you call support. They are machines and machines have fluky days too. Sometimes just simply rebooting (Shutdown or Restart) can correct the problem.
  • If you receive an error, write it down or take a print screen of it. And if you can, note exactly what key strokes or actions were processed right before the error was displayed.
  • Take a minute to think about what has changed on the computer recently? Did the operating system do an automatic update? Was a new printer or other hardware installed? Were any software updates installed (for the software having problems and others; sometimes an update to something like virus protection software can affect other programs installed on the same pc).