Beginning Farmer & Rancher
Farm Cost and Return Tool (CART)

Welcome to the FAPRI Beginning Farmer and Rancher online Farm Cost and Return Tool (CART) page. This tool, developed as part of the beginning farmer and rancher project, was created to assist beginning farmers and ranchers. It can be used by those who are either thinking about farming or are actively engaged in a farming operation.

The tool includes data from the FAPRI baseline and the USDA. It includes a specified set of commodities (see below), historical production and costs, and five years of projected production and costs estimates. The user can select the commodities on the farm, enter the number of acres farmed for each crop selected and number of head of livestock, and edit yields, prices and costs. Once the farm is constructed and the data entered, a five-year estimate of costs and returns are available to the user. This allows the user to estimate the profitability of different farming operations online. These are just ESTIMATES and there are many factors that would come into play if someone actually operated a farm that looked like the one simulated online.

The farm cost and return tool includes the following:

  • Commodities
    • Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, Sorghum, Barley, Oats, Hay, Rice, Upland Cotton, Peanuts, Sunflower Seed, Sugar Beets, Cow/Calf, Dairy
  • County-level yield estimates
  • Scale of Operation
    • Number of acres or head of livestock entered by the user
  • Historical and estimated future prices
    • Historical prices from USDA and FAPRI baseline estimates for the future
    • Users have the ability to change
  • Other Revenues
    • Crops: Includes crop insurance indemnities, government payments, sale of secondary products
    • Livestock
      • Sale of cull cattle and breeding stock
  • Variable Costs
    • FAPRI projections based on USDA data
  • Fixed Costs
    • FAPRI projections based on USDA data

After defining the structure of the farm, the user can look at estimated returns over the next five years for the whole farm or by commodity.

For questions or help concerning the FARM Tool, please email the FAPRI Web Administrator.

Updated August 2016 with August 2016 baseline