We’ve got to stop being tough on one another, set tougher
goals, and get tougher on ourselves until we hit these goals!
Facing the Reality
With low commodity prices, the new reality is that you have to produce for less than what you're paid (ex. <$3.25 corn) which is a ~10-25% drop in your costs! Many farms face bankruptcy in <24 months. Farm debt is growing!
But why is this happening? The markets? Tariffs? Covid-19? Bad credit? Weather? It doesn't freaking matter!
The truth is that commodity prices have dropped by 50% over five years, yet few farms have dropped their costs by 5%. The problem is that we are hoping for a miracle and not facing the reality that we might be in a new commodity price cycle. We aren't changing to face the reality of our times! Most farms are bleeding money and not trying to fix the wounds, running the risk of bleeding out. What future is there for a young farmer?
Transforming Reality into Strategy
Wouldn't it make sense to drop your cost of production below today's prices and if the markets skyrocket...you'll just be making more money? The real question isn't what are you going to do, but how? How can you pull off a miracle when you can't get your partners to even agree on switching seeding rate?
By changing how you and your family deals with change!
Your family might be one of the best farms in the county and to improve might seem impossible. The reality is: money slips between the cracks on EVERY farm- you just have to find it. How do you overcome the impossible? You have to become one of the best in the state, not just your county to survive! Failure isn't an option! Instead of pretending to have a six pack, we have to critically look in the mirror to see the keg around our belly and start doing sit-ups!
Farms are failing because we don’t set tough goals with partners. It's a safe bet that you and your partner(s) butt heads and pull the farm in different directions. There isn’t a common farm strategy that everyone buys into. If you and your partners wrote a business plan in different rooms for how you're going to get out of this crisis, would everyone write the same plan? Right now, each partner does what they think is best for the farm, but because everyone has a different agenda… your farm goes nowhere and money slips between the cracks and frustrations develop. This conundrum is what is going to sink your ship!
In the rare occasion that a farm business plan is written, it’s usually written for the purpose of getting a farm loan. Try remembering just one key point from the plan a month after, let alone your Uncle Harold! If no one can remember what is written in a fancy business plan that sits in a filing cabinet, then it might as well be sitting in the garbage. You may have a business plan, but you don't have a road-map and you're drifting aimlessly as a result. This is why family fights occur. Common goals and strategies set priorities and eliminate fights. A roadmap will take you to places you've not been!
Strategy into Reality
We believe that a farm’s strategy should start with writing the farm’s key goals (ex. Grow corn for <$3/bu.) on the side of your shed in spray paint. It should be so simple, that everyone remembers it and lives to get it done. Instead of shooting for the broad side of the barn, shoot for a nail and hit the target.
From this goal we help your family develop simplistic, cascading goals for key production/strategic numbers. We apply Six Sigma-based tools on your farm to help with problem-solving in a way that realistically works in the culture of a family farm. We encourage and motivate each partner to come to the table with their ideas on how to increase farm income or increase farm management efficiency. We transform negative habits/behaviors in how your family works together from weaknesses into strengths. We hold everyone accountable to “Say what you do and then do what you say," tweaking things until goals are achieved. Accountability is key to achievement! By simplifying goals and the process to drive change, it’s amazing what changes happen!
Beginning and Women Farmers Reaching Their Full Potential
As we work the farm's common goal strategy into the operation, we are also helping women and men find their full potential. A woman farmer or a beginning farmer can attend as many agriculture conferences as they want, but we firmly believe it’s not until you change the dynamics of how decisions are made on the farm (where you are included as an equal) that you will overcome the invisible glass ceiling of chauvinism most farm girls face and lack of trust most young and beginning farmers face.
Our strategies encompass a 360 degree look at life to balance work with personal goals. Often businesses define what would make a successful business and achieve it, but it causes a failed personal life. Why work to build an empire, if everything is lost to a farm divorce or you suffer farm depression? We help family members set personal goals and the dynamics where family members support each other. We have a track record of transforming depressed farmers lives and making farming fun again!
Our motto is Focus On What Matters. We double farm profit by helping stubborn farmers work better together!
Access to Farm Credit is Critical
Whether you have farm debt issues and bad credit, need a farm operating loan, a farm mortgage loan to buy the farm next door, or even a beginning farm loan, your farm’s access to credit is critical. Since Covid-19, banking is changing rapidly! Your local banker might think that your family are great farm managers, but suddenly their decisions are second guessed by their bosses. They just need to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that it's not a train! Bankers need to see that your farm has a plan on how you will be able to make payments and that you are sticking to that plan. Through our weekly meetings we can provide an objective scorecard to prove your rate of success in "saying what you’ll do and then doing what you said you’d do." This helps your banker bat for you to their bosses.
Note: Our client's information is strictly confidential. We will only disclose whatever level of info the farm wants shared.