Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Financial Statements and Stress: Understand One, Reduce the Other

26/05/2020


The agriculture industry is complex. It is turbulent and the arc of its market swings often are unprecedented. Extraordinary stressors outside of farmers’ control impact the bottom line of our operations, from weather to politics, to commodity prices to, of course, COIVD-19.

What makes these stressors so acute is they can seemingly come out of nowhere, no matter how well you manage your farm. Mitigating risk in todays agriculture operations requires significant resources, both human and financial, adding to the stress.

The first step in mitigating financial risk and combatting the effect of financial stress is understanding your own financial situation. Knowing your figures and current financial situation can be a tremendous de-stressor as can knowing your gross margin or break-even in your operation.

Clarity is Empowering

There are countless companies offering services to risk management strategies for currency and commodities. Many of these mitigant interventions require some level of financial capital and they require your understanding of the mechanisms to implement the right strategy for you. Understanding your operation’s capacity to absorb a shock or market setback both long term and/or short term is essential.

Reducing the number of uncertainties by increasing your knowledge of financial information combined with risk mitigation options will help reduce your overall stress. Knowing these facts will help alleviate some unnecessary stress as markets fluctuate and you are trying to understand “what does this mean to me.” Doing this internal examination may mean talking with your trusted advisors such as accountants or bankers, and others, that can help show your company's capacity to navigate troubling times.

Call on your accountant to help you learn and understand what the numbers in the financial statement means to your business. Try to break down the costs and margins for each part of your operation. If you need to make cost adjustments through the year, knowing where to make them while having the least negative impact on the business is critical, especially in a highly fluctuating market.

Access your accountant or advisor to help inform you of public and private methods of mitigating risk. These include crop insurance, livestock price insurance and commodity hedging. If possible, have them model your farm to show the impact of costs and benefits.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Simple Conversation

Take a proactive approach to handling stress by engaging with your circle of influence – family, friends, spouse / significant other, neighbor or advisor. Reach out to associations within the sector you operate.

Support – Understand where and what resources are available to manage through the situation.

Awareness – Ask for help. When you don’t understand what is going on, reach out to your circle of influence.

Relationships – Lean on your trusted relationships. Reach out and seek support.

One thing you can control in unpredictable times is good financial management of your operation, which in turn will contribute to a better quality of life for you and your family.

Understanding your business’ financial statements and overall situation will help you make better decisions. All parts of your operation will benefit from having a sound understanding of your financial matters – marketing, inputs, insurance, human resources, assets etc.

From having this understanding your personal and business health will improve as you feel more aware of those things you can control. Understanding all facts of your operation is empowering.

You are the most important machinery in your operation, and a little self-maintenance goes a long way. We’re here to support you and your farm operation, showing where and what resources are available to make it through to the other side.

For more information, contact Trevor MacLean, Senior Advisor, Agriculture, at 403.329.1552 or [email protected] or Ezio Di Emanuele, Senior Advisor, Agri-Food Business Development, at 519.772.2978 or [email protected]

Learn more at MNP's COVID-19 Business Advice Centre

Strategies and tools to help your company navigate the coronavirus crisis, stay resilient and take the next steps towards recovery.