Road Warrior

Young Farmer Advice, Part 2

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The last column focused on a young producer who provided advice to his peers at a young and beginning farmer and rancher conference in Omaha, Neb. I explained how this industry leader recommended having a team of advisors and doing succession planning. Let’s continue the discussion.

Goal Prioritization

Jeremy discussed the importance of prioritizing, which includes establishing goals and then placing an order of importance upon them. What was interesting is that he discussed planning beyond the business. That includes goals for the family and personal endeavors including physical, mental and spiritual aspects. In his particular situation, the priorities are God, family and the farm, respectively.

Jeremy stressed that young lifelong learners should document their goals by writing them down. This is critical in recording the history of your business and assessing the progress you have made in obtaining your goals. He stated that by setting goals, you can focus and channel your energy toward the elements and variables that will be most rewarding.

Recordkeeping

My ears perked up when Jeremy discussed the importance of keeping good records. Sound records allow one to establish benchmarks to test and compare production, management and financial outcomes to peers or leading managers across the industry.

He stated that your lender can be a valuable resource in providing guidance and organization that allow the records to “talk to you” and reinforce what you are doing well, as well as identify areas for improvement. He also said that producers should not fall in the trap of the older generation by failing to allow the younger generation to see the financial records. This has been the demise of many good businesses over the years.

 

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Be Involved

As a final point, he explained to the group the importance of getting involved in your industry and community. He said it is critical to know the directors of leading agriculture organizations. Go to meetings, and find organizations that will stretch your paradigms. The keys are to be selective, manage your time well, and avoid becoming overly committed.

This was a powerful message from a young leader to his peers, other young farmers.

Now you can see why agriculture will be in good hands in the future given the advice from one of these outstanding leaders.

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What's Road Warrior?

Dave Kohl is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He can be reached at sullylab@vt.edu.

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