Agriculture Strategy and its Founder
Who is Andy "Caygeon" Junkin and what is Agriculture Strategy?
We are currently rebranding Agriculture Strategy to our new name and identity: Stubborn.Farm.
My Unedited Story
My name WAS Mark Junkin of Bobcaygeon. My friends all call me “Caygeon.” I almost hung myself in the barn on my 35th birthday because my center of identity was inheriting our 7th generation farm in Bobcaygeon and my narcissistic father wasn’t going to let that happen.
A decade prior, my dad had ploughed under my crops in spite, which led to my parents’ divorce (started with a fight over a manure spreader) and things went from bad to worse after that. I didn’t want to kill myself, but had set a reasonable ultimatum and was beyond frustrated. If I wasn’t farming in Bobcaygeon, who was I? My issue wasn't mental health, it was EMOTIONAL health, which is something society doesn't talk about enough! I walked away from that barn, adapted the middle name on my birth certificate formally, and over time fundamentally became a better man.
At the moment I left that barn, I felt God gave me a new life mission of PREVENTING other farmers from being faced with the same frustrations. I had inadvertently started helping farmers years prior, when friends started calling me for advice, and I found out I had a natural gift to mediate family situations and disputes. In 2010, I opened an office in Western Ontario and over the past decade have been able to help farmers in over 21 states and four Canadian provinces. I’ve written five books, have a course taught in several universities and have spoken across North America.
For many years, you could say I lived the lifestyle of a "missionary priest," driving 70,000 miles a year all across North America, helping family farms. In 2017, when I was 42, God blessed me with the opportunity to take a very sweet Michigan farm girl (who had always envisioned becoming a Nun) on her first real date. Four dates later, we were engaged. We bought a little farm together in Iowa and the good Lord blessed us with three happy boys (Huck, Colt & Scout) and an amazing marriage that has exceeded my expectations! Bernadette is a key driver of the business from behind the scenes and together we are determined to help as many farms as possible.
I’ll never know it all and work hard to learn daily as much as I can about my niche. I’m proud of my track record of turning around the direst situations, and the fact that those families are now farming happily today where otherwise they wouldn’t be. I’m ecstatic that many family farms who are getting along well now, are PROACTIVELY starting to use our process to go from good to great and take their farm management skills to the next level.
For me, the game changer was to stop driving out to farms (thank you Covid), but rather meet with farmers only through ZOOM (over the internet). It has allowed for shorter and better-quality meetings that can really drill down to the heart of a family's problems.
Over the years, we’ve learned three things that go against conventional wisdom:
1. We have found that rather than driving out to the farm to do in-person meetings, we have found that short/sweet meetings done over the phone/Zoom frequently get 10X better results than going out to the farm and trying to make too many changes all at once.
2. If you expect everyone to change, but yourself (a.k.a., blame game), your farm is going to get nowhere fast! Matthew 7:5 is the foundation of our business:
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Even if you are an atheist, these are wise words that can transform any farm. Like a kid in 4H, everyone must look at the farm as the environment to learn and become a better person through self-improvement.
3. We charge $200/hour and guarantee at least a 300% return on investment. If we don’t see a client improving their farm’s efficiency by 300% (or strategic equivalent), it shows that the client is not putting forth the effort (i.e., not doing their ) to improve. We simply don’t invoice for that time and will be forced to discontinue services. We need to see measurable improvement monthly. Why are we so stringent? We want to give you results and our time is limited, just like yours. We can only help those who want to help themselves.
Agriculture Strategy was incorporated in 2010 in Ontario, became an Iowa LLC in 2019 and was rebranded to Stubborn.Farm in January 2022 to better reflect what we are in the business of doing.
For over a decade, I’ve been obsessed with developing better ways to solve the root (not just superficial) issues that plague family farms and I believe it all comes down to “fixing the stubborn.” If you can WEEKLY get farm families to stop being stubborn with each other, and each individual to start becoming more stubborn at the habits they don’t want to do, but should do…you’ll get amazing results within a year!
Though Bobcaygeon will always be in my heart, I will probably never return to Bobcaygeon until my kids spread my ashes. But what's more important, I hope to help as many family farms across North America until that moment. You can call me Andy if you like, but “Caygeon” has always felt like my name and you can call me that, too. (Pronounced kay·jn like Cajun food.) The main thing is that you actually call me and we work together to improve the odds of your family’s name staying on your farm’s mailbox for generations to come!