Browse these helpful resources on improving your family farm.

Time Management for Farm Owners: Are You Spending Time on the Important?

Category: General, Management, Operations | No Comments

Attain goals like increased time with family, operational efficiency, profitability and reduced costs – all while maintaining your independence and legacy as a family operation. Don’t be too busy to make money! Take look at each of the categories below to ensure that you are placing the correct amount of focus on each area, or that you aren’t trying to do everything yourself!

Read More

5 Measures of Financial Efficiency

Category: Finance | No Comments

“There can be economy only where there is efficiency.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Efficiency is getting more output from the same resources or getting the same output from fewer resources. There are efficiency ratios used to measure production or financial efficiency, or a combination of both. Here we will focus on the five (5) financial efficiency ratios.

Read More

Three Errors to Watch For in Your Yield Data

Category: Operations | No Comments

This harvest, you know the yield data coming in from the combine isn’t perfect. There’s a lot of potential benefit, for sure—but the data has to be cleaned before you take it at face value.

Any sensor will record information with random error and with systematic error. Your yield monitor is made of a suite of sensors—a load cell that feels the weight of grain coming in, a moisture sensor so the weight of excess water can be subtracted from the calculation, and your speedometer so your traveling speed can be used with your header’s width to find the area you took that grain from. Of course, your GPS uses a sensor too, but decades of work have pared down GPS error to be pretty small for our agricultural needs. That said, there are three things you should watch for when looking at your data:

Read More

Understanding Bandwidth

Category: General | No Comments

“Bandwidth” is a term often used incorrectly. It is used by internet service providers to indicate the amount of data per second that has been purchased. Mobile connections use 3G, 4G, LTE, or other to describe how fast a connection is, but then choose to have “bandwidth caps.” The speed is easy to see through use of a speed test website, such as http://www.speedtest.net/ to check how fast their connection currently is. This value is expressed in Mbps which stands for megabits per second. The term “Megabyte” does not have the same value although these two terms are similar in appearance and pronunciation. Bandwidth is used to calculate how much data has been used in a month. All of these terms and values lead to confusion.

Read More

Employee Engagement

Category: Management | No Comments

With the uncertainty of today’s commodity prices, everyone wants to know and better understand how to keep employees engaged at work. Well, the answer to that question is quite complex because it varies by person. We all have different reasons why we love to do what we do. Some are motivated by money, promotions, recognition, perks, flexibility/work-life balance, time off, and the list goes on. So how in the world can farmers make every employee happy? Where does the buck stop? Maybe we have been thinking about it all wrong. Did you think for a moment that maybe employees want something more from us? What do they need in order to complete the employee engagement circle?

Read More

Moving Your Office Away from your Dining Room Table

Category: Management | No Comments

As farm families implement more formal business practices and processes, most recognize the need to move their farming operation’s office activities from their dining room table to an office location outside their home. Setting up an office for your farming operation is not one of those things you can or should jump into without proper planning. In working with farm families for more than 7 years, I’ve found that these questions seem to come up again and again as plans are made for establishing a farm office:

Read More

Unapproved Corn Traits in the US Export Channel

Category: Costs & Revenues | No Comments

You’ve read the headlines again and again over the past six months… China continues to reject all corn and DDGs containing Syngenta’s unlicensed trait MIR 162, contained in its popular line of traited corn hybrids, Viptera. Furthermore, it has not yet approved the Duracade corn lines. It was estimated (NGFA: April 2014) that Chinese rejections had already cost US producers and grain companies $3 billion in losses. The losses continue to mount, as each month goes on, currently estimated at the $4 billion mark.

Read More

Juggling 4 Balls: Optimizing Your Business Structure for Transition, Taxes, Liability and Government Programs

Category: Management | No Comments

Structuring your business can be complicated and confusing, especially when you have 3 or 4 people giving you conflicting advice. Just how do you effectively combine all that advice into one structure that meets all your needs?

Before you meet with any professional, try to define your goals, and I don’t mean try to develop an end result or define your structure. Really think about what you hope to achieve. What is most important to you? Maybe you have a son or daughter who wants to farm, putting transition at the top of your list. Maybe you are concerned about disability planning or tax planning. Perhaps you are concerned about complying with government programs, or maybe you are very risk adverse. Ranking your priorities will help the professionals you work with align their recommendations.

Read More

Financial Statements in Agriculture

Category: Finance | No Comments

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

When it comes to your financial statements, nothing will pay off more than educating yourself. Do the necessary research, study, and analysis before making any financial decisions. For many producers, financial statements are just forms that are part of the requirements they have to go through once a year to satisfy their lender and the IRS. They are viewed as end-of-the-year exercises, which are then underutilized as an important management tool. An objective of financial statements is to assist in improved decision making. By having adequate, accurate, and timely information, which is then reviewed by Management monthly (or at least quarterly), Management can:

Read More

Are You Asking The Right Questions About Your GIS Data?

Category: Operations | No Comments

It’s easy to look at the mountains of data you’ve brought in on flash drives since GPS enabled your combines to be outfitted with yield monitors—and ask, “What can this data do for me?” You’ve spent a lot of time collecting it and bringing it into the back office—so now what can you expect to gain from all your hard work?

Read More

Ag Consulting | Family Farm Efficiency

Category: Operations | No Comments

It starts with Monitoring and Evaluation

Effective monitoring and evaluation at a farm operation is challenging, but it’s vital for tracking and measuring results and understanding the impact of production. There is a lot of information on monitoring and evaluation as a tool in project work, and there is no shortage of guidelines on the subject. Applying that information to your farm operation can sometimes be challenging.

Read More

Social Responsibility in Ag

Category: General | No Comments

Short and simple—it is our obligation to benefit society at large. Social responsibility in Ag is a duty every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems.

As farmers, we understand our soil, water, wildlife and other natural resources are precious commodities to be preserved and enhanced for future generations. The commitment to erosion control and improvements to soil and water quality, as well as ensuring wildlife and conservation management practices, always need to be foremost in our minds and actions.

Read More

Manage the Difficult Farm Employee

Category: Management | No Comments

Have you ever had to deal with a farm employee who is just “difficult” to manage? As a manager, you are eventually going to encounter an employee who is difficult to work with. Either they do not perform well, they are great workers but have a poor attitude, they have a hard time getting along with the rest of the team, they never want to listen or follow directions, or they want to do well but they don’t ever seem to meet expectations.

Read More

Agvocacy – National Agriculture Day

Category: General | No Comments

March 25th was National Agriculture Day, a day set to set aside our differences and celebrate agriculture – the industry that literally puts food on our tables. It’s also a day to celebrate farmers and all those involved in growing, processing, and transporting the food we eat.

Farmers and ranchers are largely overlooked for the impact they have on our food supply. Unfortunately, today’s generation is so far removed from agriculture that they tend to forget that food isn’t grown at the grocery store.

Read More

Leasing Land

Category: Land | No Comments

You may likely have all of your leases in place for 2014, and if you do, congratulations! We wish you a tremendous crop this year. When summer hits and you start thinking about current and future leases, here are the 8 biggest mistakes to avoid when leasing farmland (in no particular order):

Read More

The 5 C’s of Farm Crisis Management

Category: General | No Comments

When a crisis happens, you can either be reactive or proactive. We can hear you now…of course we’ll be proactive! But the problem with being proactive is that you have to proactively be proactive……..meaning you have to plan for a crisis LONG before you have one. If you are proactive and have a plan, you can anticipate events and act in advance to deal with unexpected difficulties.

Read More

Pricing Your Crops

Category: Costs & Revenues | No Comments

As you begin to finalize your planting intentions for the 2014 crop year, there are some practical considerations on the subject of crop sales, over and above how you feel about price direction. Here are just six of them.

Read More

Unapproved Corn Traits in the US Export Channel

Category: Costs & Revenues | No Comments

You’ve read the headlines again and again over the past six months… China continues to reject all corn and DDGs containing Syngenta’s unlicensed trait MIR 162, contained in its popular line of traited corn hybrids, Viptera. Furthermore, it has not yet approved the Duracade corn lines. It was estimated (NGFA: April 2014) that Chinese rejections had already cost US producers and grain companies $3 billion in losses. The losses continue to mount, as each month goes on, currently estimated at the $4 billion mark.

Read More

Pricing Your Crops

Category: Costs & Revenues | No Comments

As you begin to finalize your planting intentions for the 2014 crop year, there are some practical considerations on the subject of crop sales, over and above how you feel about price direction. Here are just six of them.

Read More

Economies of Scale 2

Category: Costs & Revenues | No Comments

Last week we talked a lot about agriculture economies of scale and how the consolidation trend may impact the size of operations that we see in the future. But, FamilyFarms Group is always thinking about preparing for the future now. Our producers ask, how can we benefit of economies of scale today. The answer is working together with other producers, to the tune of 410,000 acres strong today.

Read More

Save Money! Get Grants For Your Family Farm Today!

Category: Costs & Revenues | No Comments

Saving money; we all strive to do that in our lives, especially in our present economy. We try to find innovative ways to cut back money in some areas without harming us in other areas of our lives. Perhaps we try to eat out less more so that we may have more money in the bank to repair part of our home. Or maybe we give up going to the movies (either temporarily or permanently) to help give us money to help take care of bills or save back in case of emergencies.

Read More

5 Measures of Financial Efficiency

Category: Finance | No Comments

“There can be economy only where there is efficiency.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Efficiency is getting more output from the same resources or getting the same output from fewer resources. There are efficiency ratios used to measure production or financial efficiency, or a combination of both. Here we will focus on the five (5) financial efficiency ratios.

Read More

Financial Statements in Agriculture

Category: Finance | No Comments

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

When it comes to your financial statements, nothing will pay off more than educating yourself. Do the necessary research, study, and analysis before making any financial decisions. For many producers, financial statements are just forms that are part of the requirements they have to go through once a year to satisfy their lender and the IRS. They are viewed as end-of-the-year exercises, which are then underutilized as an important management tool. An objective of financial statements is to assist in improved decision making. By having adequate, accurate, and timely information, which is then reviewed by Management monthly (or at least quarterly), Management can:

Read More

Farm Financial Management

Category: Finance | No Comments

Financial management is important to a business’s success and capital access and to ensure profitable farms. When you apply for commercial credit, expect to provide documented evidence of your financial position and performance. This is even more important if your operation is large, highly leveraged, or undergoing major growth. Besides debt-to-asset ratios, Cash Flow Coverage Ratio is also an indicator of creditworthiness and repayment capacity.

Read More

Farm Financial Measures

Category: Finance | No Comments

What are the key areas of farm financial performance and financial position that an operation should be focusing on and managing? Financial measures outlined by the Farm Financial Standards Council are grouped under five areas: liquidity, solvency, profitability, repayment capacity, and financial efficiency, all of which measure either financial position or financial performance. I wish to discuss the liquidity area.

Read More

Farm Financials

Category: Finance | No Comments

Managing money is hard for any business. But farmers typically have a hard time letting any money go! So, how can you keep a better handle on your farm financials with a few easy tips? Let’s talk about it.

Read More

Farm Estate Taxes

Category: Finance | No Comments

Since 2010, the future of the estate tax has been uncertain. The signing of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 brought about some more certainty with regard to the future of the estate taxes. The rules set out in the Act will remain in effect until Congress takes some action to change the new laws. So, what do these new tax laws say about farm estate taxes?

Read More

Funding The Farm Business of Your Dreams – Part 4

Category: Finance | No Comments

In our previous blog post, we talked about how you can wow your lender and how to properly persuade them to finance the farm of your dreams. In our fourth and final installment, we’ll address how to present an effective presentation to your lender and who the finance staff is and what they can do for you.

Read More

Funding The Farm Business of Your Dreams – Part 2

Category: Finance | No Comments

In our last blog, you learned about the starting points of beginning your farming business and how to tell your story to a lender. In this installment, we’ll show you how to go a bit further into the process of obtaining more money from a lender by anticipating and addressing your lender’s concerns and looking favorable to your lender.

Read More

Funding The Farm Business of Your Dreams – Part 1

Category: Finance | No Comments

You’ve dreamed of starting your own farming business for years. While you were too reluctant in the past to get going, you now finally have the courage and the resources (well, most of them) to get started! There’s just one piece of the puzzle missing… MONEY. To start a business, you need money, and you need a lot of it. So how on earth are you going to start your farming business without money?

Read More

Time Management for Farm Owners: Are You Spending Time on the Important?

Category: General, Management, Operations | No Comments

Attain goals like increased time with family, operational efficiency, profitability and reduced costs – all while maintaining your independence and legacy as a family operation. Don’t be too busy to make money! Take look at each of the categories below to ensure that you are placing the correct amount of focus on each area, or that you aren’t trying to do everything yourself!

Read More

Understanding Bandwidth

Category: General | No Comments

“Bandwidth” is a term often used incorrectly. It is used by internet service providers to indicate the amount of data per second that has been purchased. Mobile connections use 3G, 4G, LTE, or other to describe how fast a connection is, but then choose to have “bandwidth caps.” The speed is easy to see through use of a speed test website, such as http://www.speedtest.net/ to check how fast their connection currently is. This value is expressed in Mbps which stands for megabits per second. The term “Megabyte” does not have the same value although these two terms are similar in appearance and pronunciation. Bandwidth is used to calculate how much data has been used in a month. All of these terms and values lead to confusion.

Read More

Social Responsibility in Ag

Category: General | No Comments

Short and simple—it is our obligation to benefit society at large. Social responsibility in Ag is a duty every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems.

As farmers, we understand our soil, water, wildlife and other natural resources are precious commodities to be preserved and enhanced for future generations. The commitment to erosion control and improvements to soil and water quality, as well as ensuring wildlife and conservation management practices, always need to be foremost in our minds and actions.

Read More

Agvocacy – National Agriculture Day

Category: General | No Comments

March 25th was National Agriculture Day, a day set to set aside our differences and celebrate agriculture – the industry that literally puts food on our tables. It’s also a day to celebrate farmers and all those involved in growing, processing, and transporting the food we eat.

Farmers and ranchers are largely overlooked for the impact they have on our food supply. Unfortunately, today’s generation is so far removed from agriculture that they tend to forget that food isn’t grown at the grocery store.

Read More

The 5 C’s of Farm Crisis Management

Category: General | No Comments

When a crisis happens, you can either be reactive or proactive. We can hear you now…of course we’ll be proactive! But the problem with being proactive is that you have to proactively be proactive……..meaning you have to plan for a crisis LONG before you have one. If you are proactive and have a plan, you can anticipate events and act in advance to deal with unexpected difficulties.

Read More

Family Time

Category: General | No Comments

The holiday season, of course, is a time to spend with your family and friends. Hear from a member of our FamilyFarms Group family about how working with FamilyFarms Group helped them spend more time together as a family.

Read More

Agriculture Selfies

Category: General | No Comments

So you may, or may not, have heard that the word of the year released by the Oxford Dictionary for 2013 is “selfie.” If you don’t know what a selfie is, it’s a picture that you take of yourself, usually with your smartphone. Now, selfies can get teenagers into trouble and have a reputation for odd things lurking in the background. However, selfies are really all about promoting yourself and your personal brand.

Read More

Middle Class

Category: General | No Comments

Trends in agriculture include an on-going decline in the number of farms, an increase in average farm size, an increase in average age of farmers, and fewer and fewer people living on farms. Let’s look at the hard data:

Read More

Teaching Kids about Agriculture

Category: General | No Comments

FamilyFarms Charities is partnering with Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation’s Summer Camp and After-School Program for Urban Youth to provide opportunities for program participants to learn more about agriculture. The goal of the project is not just teaching kids about agriculture, but to make them more aware of where their food comes from.

Read More

2013 Drought

Category: General | No Comments

Although the moisture profile in many areas of the Eastern Corn Belt has certainly improved in the upper 18” of soil, there are still 509 counties in 13 states that remain categorized as disaster areas, as of February, 2013. Meteorologists are predicting those east of the Mississippi River will begin the year with adequate, short-term moisture reserves. However, despite the recent snows, widespread areas of the Western Corn Belt have not recovered from the record-setting drought that culminated in 2012.

Read More

“So God Made a Farmer”

Category: General | No Comments

Everyone in the agricultural community should agree that the Ram truck’s Super Bowl advertisement tugged at their heart strings. I don’t think anyone who knows a farmer would say that they aren’t willing to do the jobs that most of us would not. The late radio host Paul Havey said it best:

Read More

Focus on Continuous Improvement

Category: General | No Comments

According to the experts at Wikipedia, a continual improvement process is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. They key word here is ongoing. Most of us are willing to put time into improving a process, habit or whole business. But how many of us can actually focus on that improvement continually? I guess the answer is we must.

Read More

Women in Ag

Category: General | No Comments

FamilyFarms Group attended the Executive Women in Agriculture Conference last week. It was a great experience. We love getting to network with other great producers and agribusiness professionals whenever we can. This is the second year of the EWA conference which is really exciting for women in agriculture operation. The question is – why now? Why are more women involved in agriculture businesses than ever before?

Read More

Are You Being Fooled by the HSUS?

Category: General | No Comments

So, the Humane Society of the United States works with our local Humane Societies to help dogs and cats. Right? WRONG!!!

Most people have a warm and fuzzy feeling when it comes to the Humane Society, but there is a big difference between your local Humane Society where you can adopt a pet and the Humane Society of the United States. There is no connection between the two. The HSUS actually only spends .418% of their funds for animal welfare (even though 85% of their advertising features shelter animals). What then, you might ask, do they do?

Read More

Thank a Farmer

Category: General | No Comments

This time of year, we think about all of the things that we are thankful for and all of the things that have brought us through the past year. But how many of us think to thank the farmers that made the large meal in front of us possible.

Read More

Create an Image for Your Farm

Category: General | No Comments

Most people would agree that image matters. Your website, logo, and marketing materials say something about you and your organization. The impact of image is not going away anytime soon.

There are ways around it, but they require a lot more leg work to convince people. Your image can begin to do this work for you.

Read More

What Farms can Learn from Other Businesses

Category: General | No Comments

This spring, a book was released called The Apple Experience. The author, Carmine Gallo, talks about how the Apple Store reinvented retail from the ground up. He goes on to give 10 specific things any business can learn from their experiences. We will translate a few of those into specific things any farm operation can learn.

Read More

What About SuperFarms?!?

Category: General | No Comments

A popular marketing blog by Seth Godin made an interesting point the other day – What about supermodels? This is probably something we don’t give a lot of thought to in the agriculture industry, but maybe we should.

Models are just regular people who happen to be more attractive than most who do runway shows and the on-and-off photo shoots. This really isn’t glamorous or financially sustainable – especially considering that you rarely see a model over 30, much less 40.

Read More

Balancing Farm and Family

Category: General | No Comments

f you have ever attended a Dale Carnegie training session, you have seen the life wheel. For those of you who don’t know, the idea is to rate yourself based on all of the spokes of the wheel: family, career, finances, etc. If you are rating as a 9 in one area and a 3 in another area, your wheel will be lopsided and it will be difficult to roll. The purpose of the exercise is to figure out where you are so that you can work on the areas you need to beef up.

Read More

The FamilyFarms Group Model…What’s That all About?

Category: General | No Comments

So you might have heard some talk about the FamilyFarms model or Allen Lash’s business model, but we’d like to set the record straight about that. There is no set business model for FamilyFarms clients. It’s just that simple. Each FamilyFarms Group Member operates based on their own set of principles, their own goals and aspirations, and their own free will.

Read More

So What IS FamilyFarms Group?

Category: General | No Comments

This is seemingly an easy question to answer; however, there are so many possibilities. It is a consulting company offering training, expert advice and implementation assistance in eleven different areas on the farm, but it’s more than that. It is a peer group facilitating best practice sharing by progressive-minded producers across the United States and Canada, but it’s more than that too. What gives?

Read More

Agricultural Network Overview

Category: General | No Comments

A valuable aspect of being part of the FamilyFarms Group Ag network is benchmarking your farm with other producers across the country. As one of the top agriculture networks in North America, we set the standard for the family farming business.

Read More

Succession Plans and You – Start Your Succession Planning TODAY!

Category: General | No Comments

Everybody knows the famous movie series Austin Powers, and most have seen at least one of the hilarious movies. It would be difficult to forget that famous scene in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery in which Dr. Evil and his son, Scott, are in group therapy together. Scott explains to the therapist and the group about his situation, saying, “Well, I just met my dad really for the first time five days ago… He comes back and now he wants me to take over the family business.” Dr. Evil then exclaims, “But Scott, who’s gonna take over the world when I die?”

Read More

The Importance of Keeping Families on the Farm

Category: General | No Comments

Do you remember the old adage, “The family that prays together stays together”? The same sentiment of strength and togetherness can be expressed in farming, too, if we say, “The family that farms together stays together.” And while it may not rhyme or be as spiritually significant, it really DOES matter that families stay together to farm and are kept on the farm – together.

Read More

Leasing Land

Category: Land | No Comments

You may likely have all of your leases in place for 2014, and if you do, congratulations! We wish you a tremendous crop this year. When summer hits and you start thinking about current and future leases, here are the 8 biggest mistakes to avoid when leasing farmland (in no particular order):

Read More

Investor Farming

Category: Land | No Comments

There are a variety of types of landowners that a farm operation may encounter. One of the more intriguing segments is farming for investors. There are different types of investors, including the local guy who buys land, high net worth individuals who usually have hired someone to purchase and manage the land purchased, accredited investors, and institutional investors that typically have large funds (pension funds is one example) behind them providing the capital. Investors are obviously different from individual landowners that an operator may be accustomed to dealing with. Investors have different needs and goals from individual landowners; hence, the questions to ask them when determining if you are a good fit for each other must be different as well.

Read More

Time Management for Farm Owners: Are You Spending Time on the Important?

Category: General, Management, Operations | No Comments

Attain goals like increased time with family, operational efficiency, profitability and reduced costs – all while maintaining your independence and legacy as a family operation. Don’t be too busy to make money! Take look at each of the categories below to ensure that you are placing the correct amount of focus on each area, or that you aren’t trying to do everything yourself!

Read More

Employee Engagement

Category: Management | No Comments

With the uncertainty of today’s commodity prices, everyone wants to know and better understand how to keep employees engaged at work. Well, the answer to that question is quite complex because it varies by person. We all have different reasons why we love to do what we do. Some are motivated by money, promotions, recognition, perks, flexibility/work-life balance, time off, and the list goes on. So how in the world can farmers make every employee happy? Where does the buck stop? Maybe we have been thinking about it all wrong. Did you think for a moment that maybe employees want something more from us? What do they need in order to complete the employee engagement circle?

Read More

Moving Your Office Away from your Dining Room Table

Category: Management | No Comments

As farm families implement more formal business practices and processes, most recognize the need to move their farming operation’s office activities from their dining room table to an office location outside their home. Setting up an office for your farming operation is not one of those things you can or should jump into without proper planning. In working with farm families for more than 7 years, I’ve found that these questions seem to come up again and again as plans are made for establishing a farm office:

Read More

Juggling 4 Balls: Optimizing Your Business Structure for Transition, Taxes, Liability and Government Programs

Category: Management | No Comments

Structuring your business can be complicated and confusing, especially when you have 3 or 4 people giving you conflicting advice. Just how do you effectively combine all that advice into one structure that meets all your needs?

Before you meet with any professional, try to define your goals, and I don’t mean try to develop an end result or define your structure. Really think about what you hope to achieve. What is most important to you? Maybe you have a son or daughter who wants to farm, putting transition at the top of your list. Maybe you are concerned about disability planning or tax planning. Perhaps you are concerned about complying with government programs, or maybe you are very risk adverse. Ranking your priorities will help the professionals you work with align their recommendations.

Read More

Manage the Difficult Farm Employee

Category: Management | No Comments

Have you ever had to deal with a farm employee who is just “difficult” to manage? As a manager, you are eventually going to encounter an employee who is difficult to work with. Either they do not perform well, they are great workers but have a poor attitude, they have a hard time getting along with the rest of the team, they never want to listen or follow directions, or they want to do well but they don’t ever seem to meet expectations.

Read More

Farming Easy

Category: Management | No Comments

In an industry where hard work and dedication are revered, why would you want it to appear that you don’t have to “work at it” to be a good farmer? Well, that’s what people want. Investors, landowners, farm management companies and the like are looking for those who appear to not be striving just to pull it together and keep things going. The only way you can do this is by being prepared and working on your efficiency.

Read More

On-Farm Benchmarking

Category: Management | No Comments

Benchmarking is simply comparing the performance of your farm to the performance of other farms in key areas. Comparisons can be anything from fertilizer applied per acre to financial ratios of your farm. It is probably one of the most important tools you can use to identify the gaps in your farm’s performance.

Read More

Farm Employees

Category: Management | No Comments

One of the number one concerns that our members have is attracting and retaining quality employees. Both of those relate back to your ability to be clear with what you are looking for in your farm employees. And, when the time is right, you need to be able to tell your employees what isn’t working in their job performance.

Read More

Control Systems

Category: Management | No Comments

If you owned a bank, you would guard, protect, count, and reconcile the money in your vault. As a most profitable agriculture farm operation, you have to do the same for your grain bins.

Read More

Farm Business Plan

Category: Management | No Comments

Everyone always talks about getting your ducks in a row. But, once you have all your ducks in a row, where are they going? Have you created a business plan for your operation? Or are you still getting your ducks in a row even though you aren’t sure where they will be going?

Read More

Management Boot Camp

Category: Management | No Comments

What does it take to be a successful manager of a progressive well-run farming operation? At FamilyFarms Group, I run a program that can not only put you on the right track but will also help guide you on the path to future success. I’m here to give you some insider tips on improving your management skills.

Read More

Benchmarking your Farm Operation

Category: Management | No Comments

Most operations understand the concept of benchmarking financials against other similar operations. It’s done in other industries, and it’s becoming more and more prevalent in agriculture. Benchmarking financials can provide valuable information about where your operation is doing well AND where you can do better.

Read More

Farm Incentive Programs

Category: Management | No Comments

Every farm producer I work with is looking at the bottom line every day. At FamilyFarms Group I am always looking for ways we can pass on information that may help our producers save on their bottom line.

Read More

Writing a Mission Statement

Category: Management | No Comments

Mission statement – sounds very businessy, right? No need to have one for your farm operation. But isn’t your farm a business too? Even if you still think that mission statements are a little silly, they can provide important guidance to keep your operation on track and set the tone for the bigger picture.

Read More

Hiring

Category: Management | No Comments

Hiring Employeesoes this sound familiar? Your farm needs to fill a position today; you don’t have time to wait another week. If so, you may need to rethink your farm recruitment strategy. Hiring has become a huge challenge as agricultural producers need to hire outside their circle of friends and acquaintances. You have to start thinking out of the box to attract the “right” applicants for your positions.Think about the type of people you want to attract and consider what hobbies they might be interested in, how they communicate, and where they hang out. This will help you determine the best places to post the open position in order to target the “right” applicants.

Read More

Business Management

Category: Management | No Comments

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.

Read More

Competitive Advantage in Farming

Category: Networking | No Comments

How can you stay ahead of the pack when everyone has access to the same information?

So you attend advanced training at agriculture conferences…along with hundreds of other producers. And you have a great relationship with your vendors and suppliers…and so says every other producer out there. You stay up to date on new technology and industry practices…by following the same sources of news and advice that other producers access.

Read More

The Power of an Ag Network

Category: Networking | No Comments

So unless you haven’t been paying attention lately, the hottest thing to hit agriculture is peer groups, ag networks, or whatever you want to call them. The interesting thing is that peer groups have been around in the business world for years. In agriculture, we’re just picking it up now.

Read More

Advanced Peer Group

Category: Networking | No Comments

FamilyFarms Group is not just one producer; we are an organized group of many quality agriculture producers working together to become better, both collectively and individually. At FamilyFarms Group, we connect our members with like-minded family farming operations across North America, forming an invaluable ag peer group that you won’t find anywhere else.

Read More

Time Management for Farm Owners: Are You Spending Time on the Important?

Category: General, Management, Operations | No Comments

Attain goals like increased time with family, operational efficiency, profitability and reduced costs – all while maintaining your independence and legacy as a family operation. Don’t be too busy to make money! Take look at each of the categories below to ensure that you are placing the correct amount of focus on each area, or that you aren’t trying to do everything yourself!

Read More

Three Errors to Watch For in Your Yield Data

Category: Operations | No Comments

This harvest, you know the yield data coming in from the combine isn’t perfect. There’s a lot of potential benefit, for sure—but the data has to be cleaned before you take it at face value.

Any sensor will record information with random error and with systematic error. Your yield monitor is made of a suite of sensors—a load cell that feels the weight of grain coming in, a moisture sensor so the weight of excess water can be subtracted from the calculation, and your speedometer so your traveling speed can be used with your header’s width to find the area you took that grain from. Of course, your GPS uses a sensor too, but decades of work have pared down GPS error to be pretty small for our agricultural needs. That said, there are three things you should watch for when looking at your data:

Read More

Are You Asking The Right Questions About Your GIS Data?

Category: Operations | No Comments

It’s easy to look at the mountains of data you’ve brought in on flash drives since GPS enabled your combines to be outfitted with yield monitors—and ask, “What can this data do for me?” You’ve spent a lot of time collecting it and bringing it into the back office—so now what can you expect to gain from all your hard work?

Read More

Ag Consulting | Family Farm Efficiency

Category: Operations | No Comments

It starts with Monitoring and Evaluation

Effective monitoring and evaluation at a farm operation is challenging, but it’s vital for tracking and measuring results and understanding the impact of production. There is a lot of information on monitoring and evaluation as a tool in project work, and there is no shortage of guidelines on the subject. Applying that information to your farm operation can sometimes be challenging.

Read More

Do You Know Your Trucking Regulations?

Category: Operations | No Comments

For many farm operations, trucking regulations are misunderstood. With so many elements, it’s hard to know which regulations apply and which don’t. Even so, understanding how vulnerable your farm operation really is to potential lawsuits from trucking accidents is extremely important. You can protect your operation from potential lawsuits through proper structuring.

Read More

Farm Operations Best Practices

Category: Operations | No Comments

The landscape of agriculture continues to change. Modern row crop farmers are trying to create a Learning Farm to strengthen and gain any available competitive advantages. You may want to read the book The Fifth Discipline which defines the five disciplines needed by the learning organization to reach its potential: personal mastery, building shared vision, mental models, team learning, and system thinking. We focus on this at FamilyFarms Group by sharing farm operations best practices.

Read More

Farm Strategic Planning

Category: Operations | No Comments

If you have followed FamilyFarms Group at all, you know that strategic planning for the farm is a major focus area for us. But why is planning important for your operation? What type of thinking will help you develop a strategic farm plan? Here is a list of brainstorming topics that might help you with farm strategic planning.

Read More

Agriculture as a Business Part 2

Category: Operations | No Comments

If you read Part 1, you know that it’s okay to see agriculture as a business, but that’s not the end of the story. How can you improve your agriculture business?

Many producers focus exclusively on the production and operations side of their business. That is why most farmers do it, right? They love to farm! But, to have a successful business you need to focus on the other areas as well (or at least hire capable managers). At FamilyFarms Group, we offer structure recommendations to our new clients that encourage this focus.

Read More

Agriculture as a Business

Category: Operations | No Comments

In North America, our history is undeniably tied to agriculture. Our ancestors tilled the ground to feed their families. The economy depended heavily on agriculture to support it. Everyone knew a farmer and respected their hard work ethic. Agriculture was all about operations and being the best producer you could be.

Read More

Are Your Fears Holding Your Operation Back?

Category: Operations | No Comments

This time of year is all about spooky costumes and haunted houses. Around Halloween, people like to be scared. But do you have some fears that are holding your operation back?

One of the best things about having your own operation is that you get to decide on the direction of your business.There is no boss telling you what to do, which is great! Right? However, we tend to avoid doing things that are scary or uncomfortable…like walking through a graveyard on Halloween. Sure, you can achieve some decent success without facing those proverbial demons, but if you want to go to the next level, you will have to get past those fears.

Read More

Turning Ideas into Action

Category: Operations | No Comments

Is the reason that your operation isn’t improving as quickly as you would like a lack of ideas or is it a lack of action? In essence, are you the reason that your operation isn’t innovative?

If the business owner is constantly following the next great idea (and that idea changes from week to week and even day to day), your team gets lost somewhere. Eventually, they will begin ignoring your ideas all together.

Read More

Going For Gold

Category: Operations | No Comments

If you have turned on a TV in the past few weeks, I’m sure you’ve seen some of the Olympic coverage. Many people feel guilty watching anything else – as if they aren’t supporting their country if they aren’t watching the Olympics rather than their favorite sitcom. These athletes spend years in preparation and training. They endure setbacks, injuries, and consequent rehab in hopes of finally realizing their dreams. They are constantly in search of their personal bests and hoping that their best is better than everyone else’s.

Read More

Staying Cool When the Heat is on

Category: Operations | No Comments

Is the heat on for you? Even if you are one of the lucky few who are not faced with the worst drought we have seen in over 20 years, the heat is on for you. You may be dealing with family issues, employee/HR issues, marketing issues, growing pains, government changes, community pressure…are you sweating yet? So what should you do? Turn up the AC? Plug up the holes in the insulation? Those are only temporary fixes, and in the end the heat is still out there waiting to get in as soon as you let down your guard.

Read More
Start digging in now. Request a free needs assessment. START HERE >>
Wordpress SEO Plugin by SEOPressor