B.H.A.G.s

Let’s go to the left coast to San Diego, CA, where Dr. Don Jonovic and I co-facilitated a Young Farmer and Rancher Executive Institute sponsored by Farm Credit Services of the Southwest and American AgCredit. These are Farm Credit associations from Arizona and California that believe in education to improve agricultural businesses. What’s unique about this institute is that 30 families representing the younger and older generations were in a three-day institute together without creating a tidal wave. At the end we asked the attendees to come up with some of their B.H.A.G.s, or Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals. The following are some of their comments.

  • First, learn more about the financials. Despite being fairly large businesses, it was surprising the lack of understanding of financial performance. Many of the spouses were keen to learn more because their retirement program was in the farm or ranch business.
  • Second, provide a mechanism to retain the younger generation. How do you do this? Dr. Jonovic recommended you need to provide them: Necessary training and background, real responsibility and growth opportunities in the business. Also, assess whether you have a need for their talents.
  • Another B.H.A.G was to have their first family meeting by Easter 2006. They wanted to put as much energy into planning and execution of the plan as they place in day-to-day operations.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis of the business’ enterprises and the industry to assess the strategic position and the business’ fit in the community and industry. This analysis focuses on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  • Become more proactive in political issues on a local, regional and national level and keep a little religion in all your actions with balance in business, personal and family goals.

Well, this is some interesting advice from our 90 participants from the western part of our nation.

The Road Warrior of Agriculture

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' 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.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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