Several weeks ago, my Road Warrior travels took me to Red Deer, Alberta, between Calgary and Edmonton. Agricultural producers in this province think entrepreneurially and outside the box.
After one of my speeches, a producer discussed with me his strategy for his youngster who wanted to farm with him. His operation was mid-sized, but not big enough to support both of them. His strategy was to fire himself and make his son the boss.
Interestingly, the son took the bull by the horns in management. He stated that the son now comes to him for advice – a son who would not listen to him before. The dad also has found that working off the farm part-time brought new perspective and methods in working with people, which has been valuable as input back to the youngster.
On a side note, the dad shared a story with me about when BSE broke out in Canada. His Holstein steers dropped in value from $700 to $100 at the market. His solution was to run an ad in the paper during hunting season that said for $500 hunters could have something tastier than a deer. The television station noticed his ad and the story went nationwide. The result was that he received $500 per steer and sold all available within 24 hours. Since that period, repeat buyers and referrals have purchased all the steers they produce.
His slogan on the sign at the farm is “BSE Free Steers without the BS” (and without the E). Now this guy does think outside the box!
Editor’s note: Dave Kohl, The Corn And Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.