Where I come from
My name is Mark Andrew Junkin, but most Iowans know me by Andy. I am a 7th generation farm boy whose parents divorced due to farm succession/farm management issues. I am hell-bent on changing how things are done so what happened to me doesn't happen to you!
I grew up on a cattle farm in the small village of Bobcaygeon, Ontario. Some of my favorite times as a kid were riding my horse until I couldn't ride anymore, and being part of my local 4H and showing my sheep, calves, and pony in the county fair.
For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to farm my ancestors' land. It was my dream. I decided to go through University just for the reason of being able to come back home to the farm and make the land reach its full potential. But things changed when my mother showed me the farm's financials right before I left. She threatened to divorce my dad if I didn't fix the numbers. So ultimately I went to University to save the family farm. A lot was riding on my shoulders and I definitely felt the pressure to succeed. University years was nose-in-book time, but also a time to make friends and have fun. I certainly did it all.
When I did come back home and had tried out what I had learned on a piece of acreage, I was given a pat on the back by my uncle. I was proud of what I had accomplished, but my dad couldn't accept change. My dad even plowed my crops down out of envy. The situation within my family became worse and eventually my parents did divorce. Although succession planning didn't succeed with my family, it had given me the experience and passion needed to never let what happened to me happen to someone else.
I took it upon myself to help out my friends who were going through family and farm issues of their own; to offer them advice on the dos and don'ts of farming with family. I realized after pulling my friends out of some tough situations and giving them a firm ground, I had a God-given gift as a mediator. I decided to go full-time in helping farm families all across Ontario and then eventually brought my practice to the whole of North America. For the past decade I have mediated the most dire farm succession family disputes and solved many farm debt crises. But what I am adamant on is not focusing on putting fires out, but rather to prevent fires from starting - to save the family farm before the fire truck is called. My goal is to eliminate the need for mediators altogether by changing how farm families work together and make decisions together!
What I do
I have a unique niche expertise in the Business Culture of Agriculture. I am the leading expert in the field of farm decision science and motivation. I've written 4 books, including "Farming with Family." I speak all over the world on this topic and write for nine farming magazines.
Whether your farm has a succession or financial crisis, it all comes down to the root problem of how your family solves problems together! I get everyone from butting heads to pulling in the same direction by getting everyone to Focus On What Matters!
How I do it
I have developed a unique method over phone or internet to chair weekly/monthly family business meetings and work with farm families across North America and Australia.
According to the family's needs I do on-farm meetings every so often, but now I primarily work with farm families thru conference calls/SKYPE. I not only like waking up beside my wife, but really have seen 10X better results using this technology. Short/sweet meetings and continuous improvement is much better than doing too much change all at once! The follow-thru is amazing!
Part of our process includes an online course where farmers are able to discern for themselves where they are and where they want to be.
Behind the scenes
I married Bernadette, a fruit and vegetable farmer from Michigan, this past April 2017. Agriculture Strategy and FarmSUCCESSion is now a team effort between my wife and myself.
We moved to Iowa City, the heart of the heartland, to be the center of our customer base and better serve our clients.
I am the "face" of the business while she works diligently behind the scenes to make it all work! We are both driven to save family farms and I am so grateful to have her by my side. We welcomed our first child, Thomas Huckleberry, in February 2018.
We are here for you
Bernadette and I live to save family farms. Our philosophy is manifest through believing that we can take any farm and help it grow from GOOD to GREAT by improving HOW the family makes decisions together. We can't judge, that's not even part of our makeup. We are here to make a positive change in how your family works together; thus, increasing the profitably of your farm and your long-term happiness!
We are in the business of improving the odds of your family's name being on your farm's mailbox in 30 years time by getting everyone to "Focus on What Matters."