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FamilyFarms Charities Agriculture Business Scholarships 

Posted by Michelle Mellendorf on February 12, 2018

FamilyFarms Charities began providing scholarships in 2012 because we wanted to help youth pursuing a career in the agriculture industry. Since that time, FamilyFarms Charities has awarded over $25,000 to 11 deserving students. The scholarship program has expanded since the program began and in 2018, we are pleased to offer 4 different scholarships! 

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 Top 10 Reasons It's Time to Consider Ag Consulting

Posted by Dana Buck on February 8, 2018

tractors-in-field.pngHave you ever asked yourself if your family needs an agricultural consultant to help through some of your important farm decisions or transitions? How do you know when it’s the right time for a consultant and whether they can provide the type of assistance you need? Below are the top 10 reasons to seek out an agricultural consultant.

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Topics: Ag Consulting

2018 FamilyFarms Group Winter Conference Recap!

Posted by Ariel Weinman on January 22, 2018

The 2018 FamilyFarms Group Winter Conference, themed “Shark Tank: Implantation is Everything,” held in Wesley Chapel, Florida on January 8-12 was a huge success! The conference is a highly anticipated event which is only open to members of FamilyFarms Group. FamilyFarms Group members are some of North America's top farming operations representing over 700,000 acres of row crop production. 

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Are You Keeping Your Digital Farm Information Safe?

Posted by Chris Whipps on December 13, 2017

With threats like ransomware, viruses, malware, hardware failure, user error, vandalism, theft, natural disaster, and disgruntled employees, there is no shortage of ways to lose valuable business data. What is your plan to deal with data loss? Benjamin Franklin’s famous axiom, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies not only to fires and healthcare but also to protecting your business-critical data assets. Applying industry best practices to prevent data loss combined with proven strategies to recover when prevention fails will enable your business to endure during a data loss disaster. 

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Topics: Ag Business, Technology

Does On-Farm Grain Storage Genuinely Add Value?

Posted by Diane Hanekamp on November 21, 2017

After three years of unprofitable grain production margins, it’s difficult to consider a significant capital project. Yet, when I interview new clients, one of my first questions— after total acreage and crops produced—is, “How much grain storage do you have?” Yes, it is that important. You should consider five primary factors when evaluating whether expanding your grain storage will enhance revenues. For simplicity, I’ll look at corn, but similar economics apply to the other grains as well.

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Topics: Ag Business, Management, Crop Marketing

Autonomous Equipment will be a Major Factor Driving Row Crop Consolidation

Posted by Allen Lash, CEO on November 20, 2017

If you’d like to catch up in the series discussing the major factors in row crop consolidation, check our previous articles discussing farmer age and technology as the first two of the five major contributing factors. The third factor, which we’ll discuss today, is autonomous equipment.

Autonomous equipment has the potential to be a disruptive force in crop agriculture; it certainly will cause turmoil in the major farm equipment companies. For years they have focused their efforts and money on producing bigger and bigger equipment. A change-over to small equipment would require completely making over or rebuilding and retooling their factories. It would be a lot easier for them if farmers would just keep on using their ever-larger tractors, combines, etc.

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Topics: Ag Business, Ag Consulting, Technology

Why Are Some Family Farms Resisting Technology? And How Will That Fuel Consolidation in Row Crops?

Posted by Allen Lash, CEO on November 13, 2017

If you’re following along in the series about consolidation in the row crop industry, last week we posted about farmer age as the first factor contributing to consolidation. Moving on to the second factor, I believe consolidation taking place in the row crop industry today is being fueled, at least partially, by resistance to adopting technology. Missing out on efficiencies, knowledge and strategic decisions made possible through effective use of technology results in many producers falling farther and farther behind.

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Topics: Ag Consulting, Technology

“Where Have All the Young Men Gone?” Aging Farmers as a Factor in Row Crop Consolidation

Posted by Allen Lash, CEO on November 6, 2017

I hope you had the opportunity to read my introductory article on consolidation in the row crop industry. Entitled “Why Would We Focus on Keeping Families on the Farm?”, it set the stage for this series of articles on the major factors in consolidation. The five factors we will explore include: 1) farmer age, 2) rapid integration of technology, 3) capital access, 4) staff and organization structure and 5) inability to envision the future of crop ag.

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Topics: Ag Consulting

Why Would We Focus on Keeping Families on the Farm?

Posted by Allen Lash, CEO on November 1, 2017

After 51 years of dedicating my life to agriculture, I’ve developed a unique perspective and a wide network of information sources, and I have witnessed some interesting trends that have shaped my vision for the future of row crop agriculture. Because of my love for agriculture and ag producers, I want to share what I’ve learned and what I see coming. This is the first blog article I have ever written—the first, I hope, of many. This first series of articles will deal with consolidation in row crop agriculture, and the second series will tackle issues faced by dads, especially those challenged by the transition of their farm business—both ownership and management—to their children. I hope dads and the next generation will read and learn from those articles when they appear on our blog.

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Topics: Ag Business, Management, Ag Consulting

Will Benchmarking Improve Your Farm & Make You Money? You Betcha!

Posted by Jeff Haferkamp on October 9, 2017

FamilyFarms Group is a strong proponent of benchmarking, and we encourage our members to benchmark many aspects of their family farm business. Harold Birch, Executive Vice-President and a founder of FamilyFarms Group, explains the value of benchmarking this way: Information is knowledge that brings about the decisions for change.” 

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Topics: Management, Ag Consulting, Farm Business Planning

Adding Organic to Large-Scale Farms

Posted by Chris Whited on September 29, 2017

The Wallendal family shares practical advice that's helped their family farm transition into organic.

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Topics: Ag Consulting

Building Strong Family & Business Relationships on the Farm

Posted by Whitney Fisher on September 19, 2017

Working with your family all day every day is not an easy task. The key to running a successful business while maintaining family harmony is finding the right balance between business needs and family needs. The most important thing to remember is to keep business issues at the office and family issues at home.

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Topics: Management, Ag Consulting, Farm Business Planning

Marketing Your Family Farm—Not Just Your Crop

Posted by Ariel Weinman on September 2, 2017

Like every industry in the United States, farming is growing and changing. With those changes came small farms that decided to go in a new direction—like my family’s farm. When my dad was discharged from the Air Force, he took over farming the family farm while beginning a career in airplane electrical systems. Because doing both proved not to be feasible, he decided to take a step back from the row crop aspect of the farm and began leasing out the tillable ground.

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Topics: Ag Business, Management, Networking, Land

6 Key Benefits of Choosing the Right Entity Structure

Posted by Michelle Mellendorf on August 11, 2017

When setting up a business, whether it's a farm, a restaurant, or even a doctor’s office, the entity structure you choose is very important. While there are only a few types of entities (partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies, etc.), there are dozens of ways these entities can be utilized to set up a business. As a result, it’s important that you, as the business owner, define the goals of your entity structure and seek professional assistance from your attorney, accountant, and other advisors to ensure you select a structure meets your goals.

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Topics: Ag Business, Management

2017 FamilyFarms Group Summer Conference a Huge Success!

Posted by Jill Miller on July 24, 2017

The 2017 FamilyFarms Group Summer Conference, themed "The Farming Show Starring Jimmy O'Fallon," held in O'Fallon, Illinois on July 10-13 was a huge success! The conference is open to members of FamilyFarms Group. FamilyFarms Group members are some of North America's top farming operations representing over 700,000 acres of row crop production. 

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Topics: Ag Business, General

6 Tips for a Smooth Family Farm Transition to the Next Generation

Posted by Michelle Mellendorf on July 18, 2017

Building a successful family farm business that lasts multiple generations involves distinct challenges. Less than one third of family businesses survive the transition from the first generation to the second, and another 50% don’t survive the transition from the second generation to the third. This means less than 17% of all family businesses make it to the third generation. So, how do you overcome the odds and successfully transfer your family farm to the next generation?

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Topics: Ag Business, Management, Operations

Are You a Proactive or Reactive Crop Marketer?

Posted by Diane Hanekamp on June 26, 2017

During times of lackluster, sideways grain values, it is more important than ever to maximize sales revenues during the normally short time during which profitable opportunities arise. While there’s always a possibility that a summer weather rally will come along to save the day for the reactive producer, making small changes towards a more proactive crop sales mindset will significantly improve your results. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing; even if you begin by practicing one or two of the steps we recommend, you're likely to see improved results (and even a 5% to 10% improvement in sales revenues adds up, year over year).

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Topics: Management

How Do You Know When You Need Agricultural Consulting and Coaching?

Posted by Marty Turner on June 7, 2017

Today, family farms around the world are facing more challenges and complexities than ever before. Higher input costs, tight markets, an ever-struggling challenge to find and keep high quality employees, and of course tougher competition from growing farms—both corporate and large family farms.

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Topics: General, Management

Who is FamilyFarms Group?

Posted by Chris Whited on June 5, 2017

FamilyFarms Group equips members with the tools, training and skills to continually develop themselves, employees, farming operation and bottom line - without sacrificing family or working themselves to death.

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Topics: General

FamilyFarms Group Named Business of the Year

Posted by Jill Miller on May 17, 2017

FamilyFarms Group was awarded the Jersey County Business Association (JCBA) 2016 Business of the Year Award. The JCBA gives this award out to a member business that has had a positive impact on the community. The fifteen members of JCBA’s board of directors submitted nominations for Business of the Year, and the JCBA’s more than 75 member businesses voted to choose the winner.

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Topics: General

7 Things to Consider-Hiring H-2A Workers | FamilyFarms Group

Posted by Whitney Fisher on April 23, 2017

Agriculture businesses often need additional farm labor for harvest, planting, and sometimes even the entire season. Some farm owners use H-2A workers to staff up their operations for the busy seasons. The H-2A temporary agricultural program establishes a means for agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring non-immigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. However, there are many requirements for hiring and employing H-2A workers. Keep reading to learn the top things to consider when hiring H-2A workers.

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Topics: Ag Business, Management

Plan Landowner Meetings Like Vacations | FamilyFarms Group

Posted by Dave Bryden on April 7, 2017

Like many producers in North America, you may have recently come back from a vacation during the January–February slow time. If it was not a seed supplier trip arranged by the company, you and your family likely did a certain amount of planning of details, including where to go, where to stay, how to get there, where to eat, what to do while there, what to bring, who to tell, and a host of related topics. You had to find the answers to all these questions ahead of time. To put it mildly, there’s some preparation involved. If you don’t put forth that effort, it’s not much of a vacation, and the family won’t be happy. As they say, garbage in, garbage out.

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Topics: Ag Business

Estate & Succession Planning for the Farm | FamilyFarms Group

Posted by Chris Whited on March 13, 2017

Why you should begin estate and succession planning now—and not be paralyzed by fear of the process.

Estate and succession planning will have a huge impact on the future of your family farm. Yes, some perceive it as time-consuming, complicated, and emotional. But, this planning is crucial to securing your life’s work, passing on family values, and providing for your future generations and family farm.

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Better Communication | FamilyFarms Group

Posted by Chris Whited on March 1, 2017
Farming with the family has its challenges. Don’t let poor communication be one of them!

One of the indicators of success for any agriculture business is effective family communication. Effective internal communication among family members, farm managers, and staff is a vital part of decision-making and family unity. Enhancing communication within a family farm will positively impact the operation’s success.

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Best Practices for Improving Profitability | FamilyFarms Group

Posted by Chris Whited on February 13, 2017

Your farm faces many challenges today, including economic recession. 

Farms today are forced to manage many challenges, including an economic recession, growing pains, time restraints, and increases in prices of chemicals, fertilizers, and seed. However, there are still many steps farm owners can take to increase their profitability, regardless of economic conditions.

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