Ag Finance Students Analyze KFMA Data

Lee Schulz

From the AgLink e-newsletter, Spring 2011

Students in the fall Agricultural Finance class applied their newly acquired financial analysis skills with real data during a unique case study project.

Lee Schulz, Ph.D. student in agricultural economics, developed a course project for his students in AGEC 513 using data from the Kansas Farm Management Association (KFMA).

“Being able to work with real financial data is invaluable in that, it’s a fact of life that real-world data is very complex and it takes an incredible amount of time and effort to analyze it,” Schulz said.  “The process can be very difficult but it’s important that the students see the reality.”

Students were provided with a Profit-Link Business Analysis for a fictional case farm developed using real data from KFMA farms. Their project was to use financial analysis to determine the strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for improvement for the case farm. They summarized their recommendations in a paper.

Students also relied on data from http://www.AgManager.info for benchmark comparisons and trend analysis.

“After completing the project, students should feel confident in discussing financial analysis in the context of a firm’s business strategy and the broader market conditions,” Schulz said. “I think the project helped prepare students for jobs in agricultural finance because many of the skills utilized are expected for many entry-level positions. Learning by doing will allow students entering the agricultural finance sector to hit the ground running after they graduate.”

The project helped emphasize that students learn financial analysis most effectively by performing the analysis on actual firms, Schulz added.

“Students did a great job integrating concepts from finance, economics, business strategy, and accounting,” he said. “This was evident in the student’s ability to tie together the information from the several analytical tools to tell a complete story about a firm’s financial condition.”

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