Products & Services

Financial Benchmarking

Customized management review guided by a business consultant.

Farm Credit East's benchmark programs are a unique way to evaluate and improve the operational and financial management of your business. The program delivers an objective view of your operation by comparing your financial and operational data both to industry standards and to data supplied by other successful producers within your industry.

The in-depth analysis of this data results in findings that are then personalized to your business.

One of the most important aspects of this process is the assistance you receive from a Farm Credit East consultant, who will visit your business, review the analysis and offer insights, constructive feedback and planning advice.

We offer the following benchmarking programs:



What is benchmarking

At Farm Credit East, benchmarking is a process that allows you to collaborate one-on-one with a Farm Credit East consultant. Working together, you will:

  • Identify areas of your business that are holding you back
  • Compare your business to industry peers
  • Develop an action plan based on your business’s data
  • Identify ways to increase your profitability

Comprehensive management review guided by a business consultant

How benchmarking works

Data collection. A Farm Credit East benchmark specialist will work with you to compile data that profiles many aspects of your business, including profitability, customer counts, employee compensation and benefits.

Data analysis. We will incorporate your results with data from other operations in your type of business to illustrate how your business compares to others of similar size, scope, profitability level and geographic area.

Comprehensive seminar. You’ll hear presentations on targeted management topics and get answers to your questions. You will also join forces with other business operators to gain a better understanding of your industry and explore practical solutions.

Benchmarks report. You will receive a customized, in-depth report that gives you a comparative snapshot of your business – a report card that details how your business differs from your competitors’ in profitability, sales per customer, net profit per days of operation, labor costs and more.

Follow-up meeting. Following the seminar, a Farm Credit East consultant will visit your business to review your personal benchmark results in detail with you. This is your opportunity to work on your objectives and develop a personalized action plan on how improvements will impact your bottom line.

Program extras. You can also enjoy networking opportunities, small group meetings on special interests, webinars and access to a members-only online community.

To learn more, contact your Farm Credit East representative or local branch.

  • Knowledge Exchange

    • The 2022 USDA Census of Agriculture – Be Counted!

      Since 1840, The USDA Census of Agriculture has been the only complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. If you own or operate a farm that normally sells $1,000 or more of produce annually, this is your opportunity to make sure your operation is counted in this year's census.

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  • Knowledge Exchange

    Strengthen your agricultural business with a little help from the experts at Farm Credit East. Here, you’ll have access to market outlooks, hot topic webinars and reports and information on the issues that impact your farm business.

    Learn More
  • Who participates in the benchmarking programs?
    Benchmarking programs are customized for successful and progressive owners of dairy, ag retail, winery and green industry businesses focused on achieving maximum results.
  • How do I report data?

    Upon completion of your year-end records, you will provide them to your Farm Credit East consultant along with a worksheet, which profiles many aspects of your business, from income to production. Your Farm Credit East consultant, loan officer or records specialist can meet with you at your office to collect the necessary information.

  • What reports will I receive?
    At the seminar, you will receive copies of your personal benchmarks that offers a wide range of useful reports – from a comparative earnings statement to operations analysis.
    • Balance Sheet
    • Cash Flow Summary
    • Comparative Detail Expense Analysis
    • Comparative Earnings Statement
    • Compensation and Benefits for Key Employees
    • Equipment Analysis
    • Financial Ratios Summary
    • Regional Benchmarks
    • Size and Efficiency Factors
    • Your Comparison to Other Businesses of Your Size
  • What kind of information can I expect to gain?
    Participants can learn ways to improve their operation, including:
    • How to decrease labor expenses.
    • How their business measures up against other top businesses.
    • How to know when – or if – to expand.
    • If your employee compensation package is competitive.
  • How would I use this program?
    Business owners enter the program with lots of questions about improving their operation, including:
    • How can I decrease labor expenses?
    • How does my business measure up against other top businesses?
    • How do I know when — or if — it is time to expand my operation?
    • Are my employees’ compensation packages competitive?
    • I had a large amount of shrink last year. Why?
    … and they leave with answers.
  • Do you need to be a Farm Credit East member?
    No. While many Farm Credit customers participate in our benchmarking programs, it is not necessary to have a FCE loan to participate in one.
View From The Field
"Farm Credit East brings our business to the next level."
How Can You Be Sure That Your Decisions Are Informed?

Stephen and Mary Lou McKnight own and manage River-Breeze Farm in Chase Mills, N.Y., along with their son, Travis, his wife, Natalie, and their son-in-law, Steven Billing. As a strategic manager, Stephen believes in using more than his gut when it comes to making decisions for his business. For example, when faced with the choice of purchasing custom-raised heifers or raising their own, he would rather let the numbers do the talking.

How We Helped

For several years, Stephen and his family have worked closely with Farm Credit East consultant Mark Mapstone as part of the Dairy Benchmarking program. Not only does benchmarking allow Stephen to chart his business’s strengths and weaknesses from year to year, it also shows him where he stands in relation to the competition. “We base many of our decisions on where we stand in the industry,” he explained. “For example, we recently started raising our own heifers, based on our benchmarks report. We compared our profitability with those in the industry and worked with Mark to make a decision that was right for us.”

We don’t hire Mark to be our cheerleader. We want him to dig in to find our weaknesses and point out where we can advance our business. The benchmarking program is invaluable in doing this analysis.
-Stephen McKnight
River-Breeze Farm
Chase Mills, New York