What are farmers supposed to do during these turbulent times? Keep reading the blog and watch the video below as Jeff Haferkamp, CEO of FamilyFarms Group, addresses how we can get through it together.
Every day as we watch TV news, we hear the phrase, “Together, we’ll get through this.” And I believe it. Today, more than ever, during times of difficulty, crisis and “social distancing,” we need trusted friends and family, colleagues and community members who not only share in our suffering but who also are there for mutual encouragement, help and sharing of helpful ideas for how we can weather the storm.
Agriculture is an essential business
I was not surprised when Agriculture was included among the list of “essential businesses” allowed to continue functioning during this pandemic. We all recognize the fundamental necessity of food production no matter what is going on around us. So, as farmers across our land head back out to the fields to begin spring planting (or “seeding,” as some call it), emotions are mixed.
Family farms have faced many challenges
Let’s face it. Most farmers have faced a few difficult years in a row. There are so many factors affecting their success that they cannot control – weather, trade issues, government regulations and programs, plant disease, input costs, equipment reliability, and more – that farmers face each growing season with hope, faith, determination and some fear. So many things can go wrong. We all know some family farms across the U.S. are closing down, selling out or becoming hobby farms with owners working off-farm to support the business. Each farm family strives daily to avoid becoming part of that statistic.
Now we are faced with a situation unlike anything farmers have dealt with in years past. There are so many questions and challenges and hurdles to leap. For example, will commodity prices stay in the basement? Who will do the work of H2A workers, now forced to stay in their home countries due to travel restrictions? How will trade be affected?
As farmers face these issues, where do they turn for discussion, ideas and best practices to help them through this time? Times like these put the spotlight on one of the most important benefits of being part of a group of producers who meet together regularly, share thoughts and ideas, learn together, benchmark, and support one another. FamilyFarms Group is just that kind of group. Through peer groups, training classes (on-line and in-person), regional and semi-annual conferences, member farm families have found the help and support they need. With the current world-wide crisis, FamilyFarms is offering members the latest information and resources to help them navigate the myriad of decisions facing farm owners. For starters, in regards to COVID-19, farmers use this checklist to help you create a balance and put your family and staff at ease. Whether the issue is financial, HR, communications, legal, medical, emotional, or something else, the Family Farms, LLC network has the personnel and resources to help. There’s good reason for our motto: “Stronger Together – Better Together.”
In addition, producers are facing some really tough financial decisions. Banks are requiring more data and financial history as they consider loan applications. Producers need to know which crops have been most profitable as they make cropping decisions for the coming year. So many crucial decisions hinge on good financial information in a form the farm owner can understand and use. AgriSolutions, a Family Farms subsidiary which has served farmers for more than 50 years, can help with financial accounting and consulting services.
We at FamilyFarms Group and AgriSolutions, along with all our subsidiaries are working remotely BUT we are continuing to provide our services without interruption. We are here to help. Please give us a call at the number below to learn more about the many services we have to offer and how FamilyFarms Group and AgriSolutions can help meet the needs of your farm.