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Farm crisis hits Minnesota producers

FINPACK Development

In the 1980s, a devastating financial crisis forced thousands of Minnesota farmers into bankruptcy and foreclosure. Family ties also unraveled under deteriorating financial situations. In 1984, Extension agricultural economists developed farm financial software (FINPACK) to help farmers analyze their businesses, and educators trained more than 33,000 people to help families reduce stress and manage their resources. In 1986, Extension developed a state-requested farmer-lender mediation program to facilitate discussions about credit problems. By the early 1990s, Extension had worked with 85 of Minnesota's 87 counties. Since then, FINPACK has been used by tens of thousands of farmers nationwide.