Terry Betker, P.Ag., CAC, CMC
Backswath Management Inc.
Successful farm operators know the importance of continuously evaluating their business performance. But to truly complete a thorough examination of an operation’s effectiveness, farm owners and managers need to look at more than just numbers like sales, profits, and total assets. Leading farm managers must be able to read between the lines of financial statements and make the necessary correlations that shed light on seemingly inconsequential numbers and render them more accessible, comprehensible and ultimately more usable. This may seem to be an overwhelming task, but fortunately there are well-tested ratios that make the task less daunting. While ratios are very useful tools to analyze business performance, they do not make decisions. They simply create context for the decision-making process.
Farms today are increasingly complex. Capital investment requirements are large and often accompanied by debt. Associated risk increases. Key to profitability and longer-term sustainability is the adoption of best management practices. The application of best management practices is enabled through innovation in the industry in tools, techniques and resources, including software programs that analyze farm management performance, both financial and management.
Terry is President and CEO of Backswath Management Inc., originating in 1992 and a company that provides business management expertise and resources to farmers and farm families on strategic business planning, transition planning, financial analysis, benchmarking and human resource management. Terry was actively involved in a family grain farm for nearly 20 years. The farm is now entering its third generation. Terry has delivered presentations on farm business management to agriculture organizations throughout Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, Poland and the Netherlands. He teaches at the University of Manitoba and serves on national and provincial committees. Terry is a professional agrologist, a certified agricultural consultant and a certified management consultant. He has completed the executive program for agricultural producers at Texas A&M University. He is the 2015 recipient of Farm Management Canada’s Wilson Loree award, recognizing his contribution to developing and promoting new and positive change in agricultural business management practices and expertise in Canada. His credentials include certification in mediation theory and strategic planning, and a science degree in agriculture from the University of Manitoba.