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Open Books

Are you concerned about the long-term viability of your farm business? Are you thinking about scaling up your operation or adding a new enterprise? Are you simply hoping to improve your bottom line? Open Books working groups are forming now

Open Books is a 3-year technical assistance project that supports farmers in mastering farm financial record keeping and analysis.

The goals of the program are threefold:

  • To assist farmers in achieving greater financial viability and a higher quality of life
  • To enable experienced farmers to become financial mentors to others in the farming community
  • To deepen our collective knowledge of non-commodity farm financial trends in our region

Application Criteria

Farmers who meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply:

  • Currently operate a farm business in northern Illinois or Wisconsin 
  • Have been producing and selling farm products for at least three years 
  • Had gross farm revenue of at least $15,000 in 2016

Open Books Benefits

  • Improve your financial recordkeeping skills
  • Learn how to use financial analysis tools to boost your bottom line
  • Share financial challenges with other farmers in a confidential setting
  • Receive referrals to business and financial professionals

Participant Commitments

Open Books participants agree to:

  • Share farm financial information with Open Books group members 
  • Be open to advice from group members 
  • Respect privacy of group members and agree not to disclose any financial information 
  • Actively participate in the program for 3 years 
  • After 1 (or 2) year of participation in this program, consider mentoring one or more beginning farmers during the second year 
  • Willingness to use our financial recordkeeping tool


Send our Farmer Training Department an email or call us at 815-389-8455.

Open Books logo

The Open Books program is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2016-70017-25373.