About Hemp Compass


Hemp Compass is a decision support tool designed to help you evaluate the financial feasibility of hemp as a farm business enterprise. It is one of a suite of Compass Tools developed by the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems to help point the way to profitability. The Hemp Compass can be used in a predictive manner to project the impact on profitability of starting or adding a hemp enterprise or analyze the profitability of an existing hemp enterprise to aid in management decisions. Using this tool, analysis can be done by hemp type (CBD, seed/grain, and fiber) and by production method (greenhouse, field, etc.).

Download the Hemp Compass

Hemp Compass is an Excel spreadsheet. It has been created, formatted, and protected so that it does not require advanced computer skills to use. If you are new or unfamiliar to Excel spreadsheets, we recommend learning the very basics of Excel prior to using this tool. This amounts to the ability to navigate within an Excel spreadsheet workbook and enter data.

Follow the link below to download the tool. It is free to access and use. We do require that you answer a few questions to help us understand who is using the tool and to provide an email address so that when we update or improve the tool we can notify users.

We welcome feedback from users. If you have ideas to improve the Hemp Compass, please let us know.


Download Hemp Compass
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How the Hemp Compass can help you

The Hemp Compass offers the opportunity to not just measure profitability but to help a producer identify ways to improve profitability by closely examining the details of their operations in terms of input costs, labor costs, machinery costs, yield, pricing across different market channels, and overhead expenses. In this way, a person can make informed management decisions to improve profitability, based on data from their own operation. It is also the case that hemp operations could be expanded, down-sized, or eliminated based on this assessment. Depending on a multitude of factors (location, changing rules and regulations, supply and demand, etc.), some hemp enterprises may prove to be profitable while others may prove to be unprofitable or too variable or risky to warrant the owner’s time and investment.

Labor costs are often a key factor on many hemp farms

One key factor that affects the profitability of most specialty crops (such as hemp) is the cost of labor, including your own as the farm owner/manager. Although many farmers do not pay themselves in the same way that they pay employees, an enterprise that demands more of your time had best bring adequate if not ample returns.

This reality makes tracking labor a crucial aspect of measuring and managing your cost of production. Carefully tracking labor hours ensures an accurate accounting of all labor inputs as well as providing a means to identify where efficiencies might be achieved to reduce labor costs.

As a companion to our many Compass Tools, CIAS has developed a Labor Tracking App that can be customized for your needs, makes recording labor data easy, and puts the information into a spreadsheet form to aid in analysis. To learn more and/or request a copy of this Google Sheet App, contact John Hendrickson at jhendric@wisc.edu

Partners and Contact Information

The Hemp Compass was developed by John Hendrickson, Dr. Shaheer Burney, and Dr. Paul Mitchell, with support from Jeremy Beach, Shelby Ellison and Amber Remble in a three-institution collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the Renk Agribusiness Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Questions or comments can be addressed to John Hendrickson at: jhendric@wisc.edu

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