Financial records are commonly associated with filing taxes. This is only one reason for keeping records. Lenders also require records but, increasingly farmers and ranchers keep records as the basis for management decisions. The records included in this section illustrate some of the production, labor and financial records that a farmer or rancher might keep. These may be kept physically or electronically. The agricultural software directory lists many of the electronic software packages that are available. Other types of records that may be used by farmers and ranchers are illustrated below.

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    Records and Record Keeping



    Quicken and Quick Books (top)

    Quicken and Quick Books have become two of the most popular computer-based accounting packages used by farmers, ranchers and small businesses. Several universities have developed tutorials that provide guidelines on the use of these programs for agriculture, including: Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and Ohio State. Utah State Extension had also created a self-study tutorial for QuickBooks®.  USU extension also offers workshops on the use of these popular programs. Some of the material used in these workshops are found on this web page. People interested in attending one of these workshops should contact their local county agent.


    Financial (top)

    Financial records are needed to file taxes, apply for loans and to provide information needed to make management decisions. Financial record keeping systems such as Quicken provide needed input, but these do not provide the analysis needed to evaluate the financial position or health of a firm. One program that is widely used in the US to evaluate the financial health of farms and ranchers is Finpack. The Farm Financial Standards Council publishes guidelines that should be used in preparing financial statements. This site and the software at Montana State University provides additional resources that may be used in preparing and evaluating financial statements.


    Labor (top)

    Every firm that hires individuals must keep labor records. Before any person is hired two forms must be completed and retained by the employer. These are an I-9 and a W-4. Example records that may be kept by an employer are illustrated in the pdf files found on this page.


    Crop (top)

    Several type of records may be kept by a farmer. This site provides several examples of records that may be kept.


    Livestock (top)

    Dairy and beef operations are the most common types of livestock enterprises in the state. the Dairy Herd Improvement Association program provides dairymen with a convenient way to keep needed records. These may be processed and evaluated electronically and compared to other dairy operations. Similar programs are not available for beef operators, the SPA program at Texas A&M provides some useful guidelines for beef producers. This site provides example records that may be kept by a livestock operator.


    Miscellaneous (top)

    Numerous other records may be kept by the farmer and rancher. These might include grazing, machinery, as well as other types of records. This site provides several examples of these types of records.