Keep Ranch Books to Help in Tight Times

When cattle prices go down, it’s important to keep financial books on the ranch for more than just tax time. A pair of upcoming workshops by Nebraska Extension will show how to get started.

While it was easy during record high cattle prices to avoid recordkeeping for budgets, marketing, or enterprise analysis, the workshops will help producers freshen up their financial bookkeeping.

Two workshops will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 21. A morning session will be held at Gudmundsen’s Sandhills Lab near Whitman from 9:30 a.m. until noon MDT. An afternoon session will be held at the Halsey Community Building from 4- 7 p.m, CDT. Ten laptops will be available during the trainings.

Call the Nebraska Extension Office in Thedford to pre-register at 308.645.2267 or 1.800.657.2113, or email

Dr. Damona Doye, OSU Ag Economic specialist, will teach how to use Quicken, a popular commercial record-keeping package that is user friendly (much like writing in a checkbook register), inexpensive and easy to find. Quicken is flexible for ag and non-ag business enterprises and separates out family living expenses.

Doye, a nationally recognized expert who has created extensive online resources for ag use of Quicken, will show how a number of features in Quicken can be used to computerize record-keeping on a farm or ranch.

Quicken's checkbook register makes for a familiar environment to begin computerized record-keeping. Quicken comes with home and general business income and expense categories, but Doye will show how to easily import farm categories to match the tax Schedule F.

Quicken allows organization of finances by category and subclasses, but also a tag feature that is useful for splitting enterprises, by partnership share, or by ranch. Quicken also allows users to split transactions, so one check written at a local gas station can be divided among several expenses: fast food, oil for the tractor, and farm fuel for the feed pickup.

Reports such as transactions, cash flow, account balances, balance sheet, comparison, and tax summary, can easily generated, information filtered and layout modified. Quicken files can also be exported to QuickBooks®, used by many tax accountants.

The hands-on trainings will include computer time with Quicken. Doye will also show how to run reports helpful for financial decisions.

Call the Nebraska Extension Office in Thedford to pre-register at 308.645.2267 or 1.800.657.2113, or email