A good resource for thinking like a CFO is the DuPont Financial Analysis Model, a software program that calculates a business' profitability based on operating profit margin, asset turnover ratio, return on assets and return on equity. Farmers need only a simple set of business numbers to do the calculations, Boehlje said.

For additional information on the CFO approach to farming, visit the Purdue Strategic Business Planning for Commercial Producers Web site at http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/extension/sbpcp/finmgmt.asp and click on the "Thinking Like a CFO" link. The DuPont model is available at the "Improving Performance" link.