Financial risk and resiliency on US dairy farms: Measures, thresholds, and management implications

J Dairy Sci. 2023 May;106(5):3301-3311. doi: 10.3168/jds.2022-22711. Epub 2023 Mar 2.


Given the revenue and cost volatility with resulting tight profit margins in dairy farming, it is increasingly important to measure, monitor, and understand farm financial risk. Solvency, liquidity, debt repayment capacity, and financial efficiency measures can reveal potential problem areas and assist in financial risk management. Financial risk is defined as uncertainty about interest rates, willingness of lender to keep or put money into the business, ability to meet cash flow needs, and the market value of collateral. Financial resilience is defined as the ability to withstand events that impact firm net income. Solvency was measured by equity to asset ratio. Liquidity was measured by current ratio. Repayment capacity was measured by debt coverage ratio. Financial efficiency was measured by operational expense ratio and net farm income ratio. Critical thresholds for these farm financial measures include those determined by US agricultural lenders since maintaining access to outside capital is important for farm financial management. To demonstrate these concepts and measure financial risk and resilience, this research uses farm data from a balanced panel of 105 New York dairy farms from 2010 through 2019. Results reveal that there were 4 average, 2 good, and 4 poor financial years for these operations on average as measured by farm profitability. Solvency positions were relatively stable being based on long-term asset and liability values. During the poor years, the percent of farms below danger thresholds for liquidity and debt repayment capacity spiked.

Keywords: financial resiliency; financial risk; liquidity; repayment capacity; solvency.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Animals
  • Farms
  • Income*
  • New York
  • Risk Management