A huge part of my life has been devoted to ag-related business and consulting services because, like most people, I am passionate about food and where it comes from. Growing up as a 5th generation family farmer in the Midwest, I gained valuable experiences in farming, business, and family relationships.
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Farming is a unique business. Typically, farmers don’t get involved in farming to become human resource managers. One of our most frequent questions in HR is, “How do we attract and retain top talent in the ag industry?” The truth is that this is a challenging task.
Topics: Human Resources
This post is PART B of a post on Staff Structure and "Span of Control" in Farm Consolidation.
Just as the military had a structure for the army (squads, platoons, company etc.), as you grow your business, you need an organized, logical personnel structure for your business. Thepurpose for a structure is for the supervision of day-to-day activities, to ensure appropriate employee reporting, measuring and monitoring accountability and to manage an expanding business. Without appropriate staffing structure, you will hit a ceiling that will limit your organization’s ability to grow.
In this blog and the next, covering staff structure as the fourth factor in row crop consolidation, we’ve assumed you believe your business will grow larger. A larger business requires more staffing. The staff needs to be highly competent and well-organized, with roles defined and management who support adherence to the roles. However, if you don’t want to have a more advanced management structure, you should not plan on growing your business substantially. And that’s okay.
If you have been following along, I hope you had the chance to start with the my introductory article on consolidation in the row crop industry entitled “Why Would We Focus on Keeping Families on the Farm?". The article sets the stage for the five major factors in consolidation. If you're keeping track, so far we've covered the first three. 1) farmer age, 2) rapid integration of technology, which includes two parts; autonomous equipment and big data 3) capital access part one and part two. Today, we are moving on the fourth factor which covers staff and organization structure. Next blog will cover the the fifth factor, discussing the inability to envision the future of crop ag.
Jeff Bezos’s most recent annual report for Amazon has brought high standards to the forefront of public discussion. In agriculture, high standards have driven us for generations, and every farmer I know gives their all every day to build an operation to be proud of. High standards, Bezos notes, are domain-specific. While we know uniform emergence when we see it, and we know how to count yield estimates on our 300-bushel corn, precision ag is an area in which many farms don’t yet have world class data.
Family Farms LLC is pleased to announce it has appointed Shari Rogge-Fidler as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. A native of Nebraska, Rogge-Fidler is a fifth-generation farmer with extensive experience in national and international agribusiness.
You’ve heard the old adage, “Failing to plan is planning to fail."
At some point every year, volatility in the grain market will cause you to reach for the Zantac. Significant price reversals, whether sharply higher or lower, cause many farmers to lose sleep over their lack of a defined marketing plan or other risk management processes to protect their rent payments and production cost investments, not to mention potential profits.
Topics: Cost and Revenues
With multiple areas of responsibility and specific functions that are performed only once each agricultural season, it is imperative that a family farm have a formal organizational structure. Family dynamics come into play with any typical family; with a farming family, those dynamics are magnified as various roles stretch and blend from the home into the family farming business.
We’re excited to announce that we have partnered with Lewis and Clark Community College to offer college accredited courses through our training program, AgIQ University. Over 50 individual training classes are available through this program, including classes on safety, crop sales, marketing, human resources, finance, and business management. This partnership is the first of its kind for FamilyFarms Group.
Some farmers are perfectly content with their current number of acres. Others need to add acres so they can remain competitive or perhaps allow a family member to come back to the farm. Before adding acres, it’s important to make sure those additional acres are profitable and obtainable given the farm operation’s working capital and ability to borrow.
We’re very excited to announce the recent release of a movie based on the true life story of one of our FamilyFarms Group members. Rebecca Crownover from Lone Star Family Farms wrote an award-winning children’s book called My Daddy Is in Heaven with Jesus. It has comforted children around the world dealing with grief. Movie producers were inspired by the story and created a film that has resonated with children and adults alike. My Daddy Is in Heaven is a story of loss, grief, redemption, and hope.
If you’re starting a small farm or trying to find supplemental funding options for specific projects, grants can be a way to make up the shortfall. A grant is usually a one-time donation or award of money connected with a certain cause or purpose. Each grant has conditions and requirements, which are as diverse as the groups that offer them. Because of this, there’s a good chance that there are grants out there you could be eligible to receive, but applying for each grant can be labor- and time-intensive.
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 resisting technology as the first two of the five major contributing factors. Technology as a major factor in consolidation has two facets: autonomous equipment and Big Data. The last article in the series covered autonomous equipment as a factor in row crop consolidation. This article focuses on Big Data.
Peer groups are certainly not a new concept; in fact, there is research that shows the idea for peer groups took off in the 1930s with the publication of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This book is one of the first to introduce the concept of mastermind alliances. Since that time, roundtable discussions, forums, and peer groups have flourished.
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!
Have 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.
Topics: Ag Consulting
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.
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.
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.
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. Continuing with the second factor, technology , we will look at two facets: equipment utilizing technology and the Big Data resulting from technology. This article focuses on equipment and the next will focus on Big Data.
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.
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.
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.
Topics: Ag Consulting