7 Midseason Financial Considerations: Controlling Your Controllables

Posted May 14th, 2024 | By Liz Schmidt

keeping your farm's cash flow on track

Managing Your Farm Finances During the Summer

Summer is both a busy and critical time for Canadian farmers, as they tend to their crops and prepare for the harvest season. It is also a time when farmers need to proactively manage their financial situation and reevaluate fixed and anticipated costs and revenues. Embracing the notion of "controlling your controllables" can be particularly useful in this context, as it encourages farmers to focus on the aspects of their operations that they can directly influence. Here are a few fundamental aspects to consider during the summer months to contribute to a successful season.

Cash Flow Management

One of the most critical elements of farm finance is cash flow management. Farmers must ensure they have enough cash flow to cover the ongoing costs of labour, fuel, maintenance, and other operational expenses. These costs can add up quickly and affect the farm operations if not carefully monitored. Farmers should track their income and expenses regularly and adjust their budget accordingly. Ideally, they should also have access to credit or an emergency fund in case of unexpected cash shortages.

Loan Payments

Many farmers manage loans for equipment, land, inputs or other operating expenses, which are often subject to a predetermined repayment schedule. This can significantly influence the operation’s cash flow and overall profitability, especially in higher interest rate environments. It might be beneficial to periodically review loan terms and prepare for upcoming payments. While considering refinancing or consolidating loans might provide opportunities to lower payments, it's equally important to consider how well the repayment aligns with cash flow needs and the ease of accessing additional credit when necessary. These factors can be crucial in maintaining financial stability and flexibility.

Cost of Inputs

The cost of inputs such as fertilizer and crop protection can vary depending on a multitude of factors. These inputs are essential for ensuring quality and yield. While some of these input costs are predictable, there might be new pests or disease to contend with. This leads back to the notion of having quick and easy access to credit or an emergency fund.

Support Resources, Incentives and Grants

There are a variety of programs and grants to support farmers, especially in regions affected by adverse weather or economic impacts. These programs can offer financial relief and support, as well as incentives for adopting best practices or innovations. It is beneficial for farmers to explore these opportunities and apply early. These programs can help growers cope with income losses, market disruptions, disaster recovery or help implement new technology that will better position the operation for a more sustainable future.


Insurance is another tool for managing the risks associated with farming, such as crop damage, equipment breakdown, or liability claims. These risks can have devastating consequences for the farm's financial health and reputation. Growers should review their insurance policies and coverage to make sure they are adequate for their needs. They can also compare different insurance providers and plans and look for ways to reduce their premiums or amend deductibles. This can help them protect their assets and income from unforeseen events.

Revenue Forecasting

Based on the growth and health of their crops observed during the summer, farmers may revise their revenue forecasts for the harvest season. This is also influenced by the market prices, which they need to monitor closely. Revenue forecasting is crucial for estimating the farm's profitability and cash flow. Farmers should be realistic and conservative in their projections and account for potential losses or fluctuations. This can help them plan for their expenses and savings and avoid cash flow shortages. If revenue forecasts may lead to cash flow challenges, we always recommend talking to your lenders early to explore potential solutions.

Capital Investments

Depending on financial health and future outlook, growers may consider making capital investments such as purchasing new equipment, upgrading technology, or expanding operations. These investments can improve productivity, efficiency, or profitability in the long run. However, they should also weigh the costs and benefits of these investments and ensure they have enough cash flow and savings to fund them. These investments can have a significant impact on the farm's finances and operations, so they should be carefully planned and executed.


Summer is a crucial period for crop maintenance, but it is also a critical time to revisit the financial plan. By "controlling your controllables" and following these tips for effective financial management, we wish you the best as you prepare for the upcoming harvest season and the challenges and opportunities that come with it. If you’d like more detailed guidance on cash flow strategies, download our white paper from NutrienFinancial.ca.

Liz Schmidt

Liz Schmidt is a territory manager for Nutrien Financial. With a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Saskatchewan and a major in finance, she provides payment solutions to growers across Saskatchewan and Manitoba to increase their buying power and maximize every opportunity for success.


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