Agriculture Strategy and its Founder
Who is Andy "Caygeon" Junkin and what is Agriculture Strategy?
My Unedited Story
My name WAS Mark Junkin of Bobcaygeon. My friends 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 my birth certificate's middle name (Andy) as my formal name, and changed my world view.
Why I’m telling you this is that no matter how bad things get, there is always another option. Tell a friend this sometime, it might change the course of their lives… it did for me.
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 two and a half children (stork coming Christmas 2021) with an amazing marriage. 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, 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.
For the past 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!