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Business Management…The On-Farm Version

Many aspects of managing a business today are totally independent of the industry the business is in. Prior to joining FamilyFarms Group, I would often say it doesn’t matter whether you are managing a business that produces simple widgets or super complex supercomputers, the fundamental concepts are the same. My observations and interactions with business managers in the row crop industry over the last year have only served to strengthen this belief.

From Sr VP of Team Services, Joe Zachman

Whether you are managing a multi-billion dollar manufacturing business with thousands of employees  or a ten million dollar farm with ten employees, fundamentally, the management principles are the same. Below are a few management principles I have employed over the years that I believe have particular applicability to the management of a modern and successful row crop farm:


  • Communication: Effective communication is at the core of every well-run business. Effective communication is always challenging but is even more challenging in the row crop industry. We’ll save that topic for another post.
  • Goal Setting: Goals are a critical component of any management practice. Everyone on the team needs to clearly understand the goals and their individual roles relative to the goals.
  • Information Gathering: In any business, when problems arise or decisions need to be made, it is important to gather as much information and understand as many variables as possible. This information can have a critical effect on the solution to a problem or the outcome of a decision.

These are just a few of the areas of interest that I have observed over the last year. I have been truly impressed with the operational knowledge and effectiveness of the row crop agricultural community. I have also been very pleased to see the applicability of the business knowledge and techniques proven effective in the manufacturing industry to the row crop industry. This prompted the development of a new training program that will help bridge the gap between the two industries and introduce or enhance essential business knowledge of our teams.

This new two-year program is called “Essential Business Training” or EBT for short.  EBT has been designed to address many topics essential to managing a successful business today. It will also provide the opportunity for best practice sharing, benchmarking, farm tours, and many peer group activities. The program will consist of three group sessions and three on-farm coach visits each year.

Learn more about FamilyFarms Group and how you can improve your business management skills today! But don’t wait; the new EBT program starts in March!

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