By Tim Leeds
Montana State University-Bozeman Extension Marketing Specialist Duane Griffith will be teaching "How do I survive in agriculture as part of Cabin Fever on Dec. 19.
"What forces people out of agriculture is the inability to meet financial needs," Griffith said. "There are all kinds of things we will be discussing (at the class) that have financial parameters."
Griffith said the will be talking about production parameters too, but the class will focus on tracking finances and figuring out how to make an ag business workable.
"We're going to profile the kind of agriculture operation that has the ability to survive in the end," he said.
Griffith said the class will be very interactive, giving all of the students an opportunity to participate, give input and ask questions. He said they will be using a custom computer spreadsheet he has created to do financial analysis of agriculture operations.
"We'll use what I refer to as the Reader's Digest condensed version of a financial statement," Griffith said.
He said the spreadsheet gives a good analysis of a financial situation with a minimal amount of data entry. Part of the class will be showing the students how to use financial statements to improve their financial situation, Griffith said. He said he will show how finances interact, how they can be used to improve the situation and what it tells about the ag operation.
Griffith said using the spreadsheet will also be interactive. He said he will collect information from the audience for use in the class.
"It isn't the case where people will come and listen," he said. "It will give us a pretty clear picture of what is happening and maybe why. (The interaction) will hopefully give them an understanding of what is going on."
Griffith said part of the interaction is to make sure he, and the class, know what the students think is going on with agriculture and finances.
He said they will do at least two, possible three, case studies. He said he will demonstrate a farm and a ranch which have the financial balance to survive.
Griffith said this is the kind of work he does full-time. He said that, as farm management specialist for the extension service, he does no teaching of classes at MSU-Bozeman. Instead, he said, his duties are to travel around the state working with groups to teach them farm management.
The class will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at Brockmann Center, room 214, at Montana State University-Northern.