While interest in specialty crops appears to be growing among both beginning and seasoned farmers in Minnesota, practical information about how profitable they really are can be hard to find. This following data on the financial performance of eight different specialty crops on real Minnesota farms in recent years is provided through a joint effort by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Farm Business Management, the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota (CFFM), and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). You can run additional customized financial reports EXT for these and other crop and livestock enterprises.
The information in these reports comes from actual farm records from individual specialty crop producers. With the help of a MnSCU farm management educator, each grower completes an analysis to evaluate the financial soundness and performance of his or her entire operation. Most farms have more than one crop enterprise, so the grower and instructor they assign farm income and expenses among the specific crops grown in order to create the individual farm enterprise reports that are published in this report. The analysis for each farm goes through several layers of review to provide as much confidence in the accuracy as can be reasonably expected. The data is published by CFFM in a searchable database called FINBIN, which is available to the public.
For data integrity and grower privacy reasons, at least five farms must have grown the crop for it to be included for any one year. The column called Avg. All Farms is the average for 2009-2013. If only an average column appears, it is the average of the crop over multiple years, because in each individual year, too few operations reported data to be included. As you review this information, keep in mind that while this a relatively small sample, there are not a lot of sources of this type of real-farm data, so these reports do reflect the “real world” for participating farms.
Much of this work was supported by a series of Specialty Crop Block Grants from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Meg Moynihan, Principal Administrator
Meg.Moynihan@state.mn.us or 651-201-6616
Ag Marketing & Development Division