Published Mar 4, 2014

Budgeting for Success: Adding a New Generation to a Row-Crop and Livestock Farm

By Practical Farmers of Iowa


Want to ensure you stay profitable on a cash grain and livestock farm? Learn when, why and how to do farm budgets from a farm that has been successful for generations – and is in the process of adding a new generation to the family farm business.

  • Erwin Johnson and his daughter and farm business partner, Wendy, operate Center View Farms Co., a crop and livestock farm near Charles City, Iowa, that has been in the family for four generations. They will share what they do on their farm on an annual, biannual and quarterly basis to ensure they are profitable. In addition to using spreadsheets from ISU Extension’s Ag Decision Maker, Erwin and Wendy use FINPACK, the bookkeeping and financial decision-making software. They will discuss how they work with these tools, as well as the cost of production and how they make their marketing plans.
  • Wendy Johnson grew up near Charles City on the family farm managed by her father Erwin, the third generation to run the farm. In 2010, she returned home to learn the farming trade and continue as the fourth generation to manage the farm. She and her husband, Johnny Rafkin, have taken on responsibilities that include sheep flock management and marketing the farm’s hay. Wendy also helps with all the duties related to the corn and soybean enterprises. In addition to learning conventional methods from her father, she is exploring transitioning some acres to organic row crops and using cover crops on all the farm’s acres.