WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency has launched an online resource to aid farmers and ranchers in focusing on how to protect against down-side risks, as well as how best to take advantage of up-side opportunities in the market.
The new resource, a sub-site of the agency’s Web site, farm-risk-plans.USDA.gov, allows producers to complete a risk management checklist, identify their enterprise’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and explore a wealth of risk management information.
The new resource features four modules: risk management planning, better marketing planning, new enterprise planning and farm planning library.
Each contains the best available information, consolidating resources from leading Land Grant Universities and government agencies.
Producers are able to complete two exercises online which give them a novel look at their risk management situation.
First is the risk management checklist, a three-page list of questions to stimulate conversation among the family or leadership team of any farm or ranch operation.
The second is a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis, a commonly used planning exercise in the business world, recognizing that small- to medium-sized farms are serious businesses which must use the same tools as any other modern business.
The team that developed this project together over the past year includes farmers, Extension educators and risk management education consultants, as well as the head of the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas and Risk Management Agency professionals.
The Web site may also be accessed from www.rma.usda.gov.