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CEO to Family Farms: "Get Better Before You Get Bigger"

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One of my all-time favorite rules of thumb is, “Get better before you get bigger.” Once farms build a strong foundation, they can grow, diversify or differentiate, finding their own path to success.

Management and process improvement has been a focus for much of my career. My background is in the manufacturing sector, but basic principles of management are the same across all industries. Now, as the new CEO of Family Farms, LLC, I can help bring those management skills to family farmers. As farms become larger and more complex, it is important that farm owners and managers expand their management skills in areas ranging from planning and communication to evaluation and strategy for the farm business.  

Family Farms, LLC provides a one-stop shop for like-minded, progressive farmers who want to improve their business and ensure their family farming legacy. We will continue to expand our value network and help farm families enhance their core competencies, improve financial understanding, and gain continual improvement. We drive successful implementation in all areas of the business through personal coaching and financial consultants.

Family Farms, LLC may be one of the best-kept secrets in the ag industry. This peer-to-peer network of family farms, resources, expert consultants, lenders, vendors and others in the ag and business sectors is designed to help farm families succeed. Through education, training and individualized coaching, with a strong emphasis on implementation, we are all about keeping families on the farm, helping them be sustainable and create a valuable legacy for future generations. Today, we touch about 1.7 million row crop acres throughout North America, helping them compete successfully despite challenges created by the weather, the market and economy.

At Family Farms, LLC, we will continue to seek alliances and partnerships with like-minded providers in order to help our members and other farm families stay ahead of their current and future challenges with best in class resources and vendors as well as through peer interaction. In my new role as CEO of Family Farms, LLC, I will continue to emphasize management and process improvement as a key to success for family farms.

Mr. Haferkamp’s background has been good preparation for his new role at Family Farms, LLC.  During his more than 30 years at Olin Brass, a metals and ammunitions production company, his roles included President of Rolled Products from 2002 until 2005, and then President of Olin Brass from 2005 until 2010. In that role, Haferkamp managed a $1.2 billion manufacturing business, with both domestic and international facilities, and more than 1,800 employees. His training and education included a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1976 and an M.S. degree in Engineering Management from Missouri University of Science and Technology in 1978. To learn more about improving process performance by reducing waste, Jeff earned his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification at the University of Villanova.

Mr. Haferkamp joined Family Farms in 2010 as a part-time consultant / resource in the area of Executive development and then in 2011 agreed to work with Family Farms on a full-time basis as Chief Operating Officer. In his ongoing role as GM Coach and peer group leader, he provides guidance and expertise in helping farm owners select, train, and coach their General Manager, benchmark results and share best practices. Mr. Haferkamp visits each participant’s farm, observes, analyzes processes and procedures, then offers suggestions/ advice to guide successful implementation of change for improvement.

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