Organic Grain Enterprise Budgets for ND, SD, and MT

Photo Credit: Miguel Angel Arroyo Ortega

Enterprise crop budgets are an important tool for planning future crop production and understanding the economic impacts of agronomic choices.  For established and transitioning organic producers, having a detailed budget can help avoid costly mistakes while also providing a tangible resource to use for other goals such as securing financing.  Budgets come in many forms, yet the most common is a spreadsheet that helps estimate costs and revenue, plan cash flow, and allocate resources such as labor or capital.

Provided here are enterprise budget templates specifically designed for organic farmers in North and South Dakota and Montana.  The budgets are tailored to these states, yet provide flexibility to choose from a suite of cropping rotations, allow for fine-tuning of field operations and enable the user to adjust expected future crop prices.

Using the budget worksheets

The budgets are divided into four primary sections, which are detailed in the explanation file.  With minimal input from the user, these budgets can provide an initial estimate of net returns; when specific elements of the budget are refined, the initial estimates are updated.  Therefore, it is possible to explore a wide variety of crop rotation scenarios without needing to dive into the details.  Once a rotation has been selected, more effort can be invested into improving the accuracy of the budget forecasts.

Conventional, transition-to-organic, and organic scenarios are presented side-by-side throughout the budget to aid conventional producers in evaluating the financial merit of switching to organic.  The primary differences between these scenarios are field operations, applied inputs, and crop prices (transitioning producers are paid organic prices after the 3-year transition period).

Instructions for using the budget and tailoring it to your farm are provided in the explanation sheet as well as within the workbook itself.

North and South Dakota

The South and North Dakota Organic Enterprise Budget Excel workbook can be downloaded here >>

The South and North Dakota Enterprise Budget explanation sheet can be downloaded here >>


The Montana Organic Enterprise Budget Excel workbook and explanation sheet can be found on the Montana State University website here >>

This work was sponsored by the US Organic Grain Collaboration, a pre-competitive industry effort to build a more resilient organic grain production system in the US and expand the domestic supply of organic grain. The collaboration is a special project of the OTA Grains, Oilseeds, and Pulses Sector Council and is coordinated by the Sustainable Food Lab.