While interest in specialty crops appears to be growing among both beginning and seasoned farmers in Minnesota, practical information about profitability can be hard to find. Data on the financial performance of specialty crops on real Minnesota farms in recent years can be found using a searchable database called FINBIN, published by the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota (CFFM).
The information in these reports comes from actual farm records from individual specialty crop producers. With the help of a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Farm Business 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 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.
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. 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