Farm Family Living Expenditures and Farm Business Plans

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In any complete farm business financial planning, provision must be made for the family living expenditures. It has been said that family living has the first claim on any farm income. Consequently, any plans that omit the living expenditures are not realistic. In order to include family living expenditures in the farm business plans, it is best to use the past experience as shown by records. If records are lacking, then estimates must be made. Relatively little published information is available on the actual living expenses of farm families. This means that one is often handicapped by not having guides based on the experience of others. This small study of 42 Central New York farms, which were in farm business management projects, is the beginning step toward meeting this felt need. This living expenses of this group of 42 farm families varied directly with the number of members in the household. Fifty-five percent of the largest single item and about half of the families spent between $200 and $300 per person in 1965. There seemed to be several factors that were closely associated with the level of family living expenditures these were examined in this study. A major item affecting living expenditures seemed to be the amount of income available. Another item related to the living expenditures was the amount of net worth of the family. In several tables, a rather intriguing departure from a logically expected pattern seemed to emerge. The “middle group” behavior in tables 7.9.and 10 would suggest that further studies might profitably be undertaken to ascertain whether this pattern would repeat itself. Should this prove to be the case, it might prove interesting to attempt to determine the cause or causes. Good records of the individual farm family’s living expenditures are the best source of data for use in farm business plans. Families should be encouraged to keep these records and use them in their farm business planning. The information presented in this study can be used as a general guide in making estimates when individual record are not available.
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Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
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