When trying to promote new practices there’s often a change needed in the cropping rotation or in the current farming operation. I am often told by farmers to “show them the money”. I know that economics is not the only thing that drives farmers to make changes on their farms, but it is an important factor in their decision-making process. I believe that the more information and resources we have available to us to help farmers in this process the more likely they are to consider changes to their operation.
The Land Stewardship Project recently released an updated Cropping Systems Calculator that’s specific for Illinois. This free calculator can help agriculture advisors, as well as farmers, with economics associated with adopting conservation practices. There are many ways this calculator can help, and includes:
- Estimates average yearly cost and returns from two rotations (original crop plan and new crop plan)
- Accounts for crop-specific costs as well as overhead costs
- Rotations can be simple or complex with up to six years of crops in the rotation for comparison.
- Incorporates perennial or grazing systems into the rotation
- Uses default values for Illinois or inputs real cost data into the program (or a combination of both)
If you are an adviser looking for another tool to add to your toolbox to help farmers in their decision-making process, please check out the new Cropping Systems Calculator from the Land Stewardship Project.
Midwest Deputy Director of American Farmland Trust