Financial Benchmarking Scholarships Available to Organic Specialty Growers

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The University of Minnesota is extending their Organic Farm Financial Benchmarking in the Upper Midwest project to specialty growers. Scholarships are now available to organic fruit and vegetable growers.

Here is some background information on the project and how it may benefit organic growers.

Organic Farm Financial Benchmarking in the Upper Midwest is an integrated regional grant project, led by University of Minnesota Extension. The project focuses on a multi-year farm business management benchmark analysis of organic farms in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Benchmarking provides a summary of production and financial performance measures, allowing producers to evaluate their individual performance to a cohort with similar farm characteristics. Conventional farming operations have numerous resources to complete benchmark analysis, while there are limited resources available to organic producers. Benchmark analysis allows producers to examine how to remain competitive with market fluctuations.

Specifically, this project aims to:
• collect data on farm production and financial performance measures for certified organic row crop, forage, and dairy farms to investigate the financial performance of certified organic farms in the Upper Midwest;
• develop benchmark reports for certified organic row crops (corn, soybeans, and wheat), forage (hay and corn silage), and dairy farms; and
• develop and deliver Extension programming to address the educational needs of organic producers and the agricultural professionals that advise them.

This project has the long-term goal of enhancing the economic viability of organic row crop and dairy farms by providing comprehensive financial benchmark analysis to improve the efficiency of organic farm management.

Learn more about the organic benchmarking cost share program at or by contacting Associate Professor Joleen Hadrich ( or Research Fellow Gigi DiGiacomo ( at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Applied Economics.

A report from the first year of the organic benchmarking project, Upper Midwest Organic Farm Business Management 2020 Annual Report, is available online through the University of Minnesota. The report details whole farm and enterprise returns as well as traditional financial indicators for organic dairy and row crop producers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The report, including enterprise results for organic dairy, soybeans, corn, corn silage, alfalfa hay and haylage, is available at