Business Tips for Young Farmers

As a business owner, you are always thinking of how to grow your operation and efficiently manage it. Successful producers share some tips with younger farmers who want their business to thrive.

  • Develop strong relationships. Every business is built on relationships, no matter what industry. This means within your operation, as well as with those you do business with. Make sure you take the time to understand the other person’s needs, and keep the lines of communication open. Let them know you have a personal interest in them and value the contribution they bring to your organization.
  • Analyze farm technology investments. Younger producers are more comfortable with new technology than their predecessors, which works to your advantage. Utilize apps and software that help you figure out what processes can be automated, and the cost savings due to reducing overlap and skipping. Weigh these factors against cost of investment and maintenance and see where you can make changes.
  • Study industry news and familiarize yourself with legislation. Do you know what’s going on with other producers in your industry? How has the Farm Bill changed things in your area of production?
  • Maximize profits in lean years. Assess each farm and rank it in 3 categories: upper third (consistent, high productivity), middle third (breakeven, medium productivity), and lower third (inconsistent, low productivity). From there, ask yourself how much value there is in keeping a farm you know isn’t producing, and make the necessary adjustments.
  • Reduce conflict within your farm team. Try to address conflict head-on, as soon as it arise. The longer it simmers, the more it will spill over to the rest of the team. Embrace your leadership role by opening up communication, getting to the root of the problem, and taking immediate steps to resolve the issue.
  • Continue your education. This is valuable in any industry. One seasoned producer says when he was young, he made it a point to spend 3% of his income on continuing education.
  • Consult regularly with your CPA. You could be taking advantage of tax credits, employment credits, or other benefits you might be unaware of. Your CPA is someone you want in your corner as a business owner.

For more suggestions, see the full article from Farm Journal’s Legacy Project.