Top 10 Worries for Young Farmers

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson July 24, 2017 13:09


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Betsy Freese, writing for ,  recaps the most common concerns for young farmers and some ideas from Carl Horne (V.P. of Customer Solutions for Farm Credit Services of America/Frontier Farm Credit) on how to handle them.  Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. When land is not available.  Horne says bring what you can to the market such as those listed below.  Price eventually becomes a factor, but you’ll be bringing much more to the table:
    • Do you maintain clean and well cared-for equipment?
    • Do you have a well respected and professional presence in the community?
    • Are you fair and trustworthy?
  2. When access to capital is limited.  Establish a good business plan and combine that with careful financial forecasting.  This should open up options for financing.
  3. When speaking with landowners is difficult.  Be transparent and be direct by asking the landowner what he feels is important and how he envisions communications to work.  Be consistent in your agreed on practices.
  4. When you get no help from the USDA.  Look for expertise from other farmers, Extension, and private consultants.  Attend meetings and learn about direct marketing and use social media to reach out to the ag community with your questions.
  5. When finances are a struggle to manage.  This goes back to business planning and strategy development as you align your financial management with your farm action plan.
  6. When You’re not well connected.  Use your network to help offset your lack of experience.  Leverage that expertise.  Speak up and be aggressive when making connections and remember your voice matters in local regional and national issues.
  7. When you don’t have any time off.  Families should decide each year how much time off is to be allowed.  Keep personal lifestyles out of the farm operation and separate business from social life.
  8. When you’re taking over the farm but don’t have the same goals as your parents.  All parties involved must share the same vision.  Start transition plans at least 2-4 years prior and remember communication is key.  Set a specific time every month to discuss business affairs, goals and objectives.
  9. When dad won’t get out of the way.  Developing your management ability while protecting your parents’ interests is key.  One option is to make dad the general manager which keeps you involved in decisions but gives him final authority.  Another approach is to give each party an equal voice, settling disagreements by outside counsel.
  10. When you don’t have all the skills you need.  Determine your strengths (i.e., marketing, finance, production) and focus on them.  Hire outside if necessary for those things you need help with.

I’d be willing to bet that every seasoned farmer has had one or all of the above concerns as they began their farming career.  And even though some of these issues have changed with the times, the solutions always involve patience, communication, determination and fortitude.  Hang in there young farmers!

-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team




Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson July 24, 2017 13:09
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