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It will be a pivotal year for most farmers as they try to solve their information management puzzle.  As farms continue to expand acreage and deal with new complicated regulations, computerized record keeping will become even more important in 2013 and beyond.  Lorra and Jim Martens of Inman, Kansas have been using Farm Works™ Accounting and Mapping software on their farm since 1994.  “We wanted and needed a better way to manage our farm records”, says Lorra.  Information management was very different in 1994 because the personal computer was just starting to become accepted as a farming tool.  Lorra states, “We took advantage of training classes offered by Farm Works so that we could learn it quicker while meeting others in the classroom with the same concerns as us.”  Training classes are not necessary, but they do offer tips in accelerating the process of mastering the software while developing relationships with others in the classroom.   Soon Lorra started her own consulting business in 1995 to assist local farmers with their information management concerns.  Today she is one of the leading information management consultants in the Midwest.  Lorra has big plans for 2013 as she focuses on more training, sales, and consulting services for farmers throughout the United States.


It is challenging for Lorra to pick her favorite feature of the software; however, the field and equipment enterprise statements rank toward the top.  “We are big fans of the enterprising statements because the decisions we make on the farm affect everyone.  The landlord enterprise statement gives us a way to better communicate our expenses with our land owners.  The software easily provides an enterprise statement titled “Landlord(s) Inputs only” which contains the landlords share of inputs, quantities, costs, as well as planting, harvest, and rotation information.  I can mail a field report or email a PDF to each landlord then follow up with a phone call,” says Lorra.


Other reports that Lorra uses on a daily basis include Asset Sales and Purchases, Long-Term Investments, New Debt and Debt Reduction, Owners Draw, as well as changes in the farms cash positions.  Lorra states, “When we need more detail, we use the General Ledger Accrual reports.  Marketing is vital to us from tracking contracts and delivering the grain to printing marketing gains/losses on field enterprise statements - all included in the Farm Works Accounting software.”


End of year prep is easy too.  Lorra uses the cash and accrual income statements to pre-plan strategies with the accountant.  Bankers are also satisfied when handed the Market Value Balance Sheet which offers the most current information about the farm.  “My local banker told me that if all farmers used Farm Works software, he would not have as much work to do.  This not only makes it easier for both parties, but strengthens our business relationship which is important in today’s world,” says Lorra.


Also ranking high on their reasons for computerized records is leaving a legacy of records and information for the next generation of farmers.  Lorra recalls, “A client of ours moved back to the farm with the goal of eventually taking over for his father.  They worked ten months when the father died suddenly.  The knowledge of the fields died with the father, he never wrote much down always kept it in his head.  We want to prevent this from happening to other farms because data is so important.”

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Lorra offers these questions for every farmer who owns or plans using Farm Works in 2013.

  1. What are your reasons to keep farm records?  
  2. What types of reports do I want out of the software?
  3. Am I struggling with initial set up?  Do I need one-on-one assistance to accelerate the learning process?

 

With close to 20 years of experience, Lorra welcomes any questions about how they use Farm Works to manage their farming business.  If you have any questions or comments, please visit their website www.martensfarms.com or call 620-585-6761.

 

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