Record Keeping

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. Records that may be used by farmers and ranchers are illustrated below.

Financial records are needed to file taxes, apply for loans, and provide information needed to make strategic management decisions.  The Farm Financial Standards Council publishes guidelines that should be used in preparing financial statements.  Several computer programs are available to aid agricultural producers with financial record keeping.  Quicken and QuickBooks have become two of the most popular computer-based accounting packages used by farmers, ranchers and small businesses.  Finpack is another program widely used in the US to not only maintain financial records, but to provide needed analysis to better evaluate the financial position or health of an agribusiness.  This site provides additional resources, as well as links to other resources, that may be used in preparing and evaluating financial statements. 

Financial Records
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Basic QuickBooks® Guide PDF    
Farm and Ranch Financial Records   Excel  
Farm Financial Standards Council Website     Link
Finpak     Link
Montana State University Software Downloads     Link

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

Crop Records
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Chemical Application PDF Excel
Fertilizer PDF Excel

Dairy and beef operations are the most common types of livestock enterprises in Utah. The Dairy Herd Improvement Association program provides dairymen with a convenient way to keep needed records. These may be processed andevaluated 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.

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Breeding Record PDF Excel
Farrow Record PDF Excel
Litter Record PDF Excel
Sow Record PDF Excel
All   Excel
Dairy Herd Improvement Association Link

Every firm that hires individuals must keep labor records. Employers are required by the Internal Revenue Service to complete certain forms relative to their employees.  Some of the IRS forms and additional labor record keeping templates are available on this page.

Web Links
I-9 Form Link
W-4 Form Link

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

Miscellaneous Records
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Equipment Repairs PDF Excel
Equipment Inventory PDF Excel
Tool Inventory PDF Excel