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5 Smart Habits for Young Farmers

February 10, 2014
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor

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Don’t let another day pass without implementing these insightful tips and suggestions for your farming operation.

Young farmers are at an interesting crossroads. The last few years have been extremely profitable, but current forecasts show that trend reversing.

"There are definitely some challenges ahead of us," says Moe Russell, president of Russell Consulting and a Farm Journal columnist. "But I’m not as discouraged as a lot of people are. Young farmers have tremendous opportunities."

Russell says these challenges can be overcome, but farmers must have a plan. "With a good plan, farming is easier and more fun. Plus it reduces stress and you can worry less about competition."

Russell is one of many ag experts who spoke to 150 young farmers during the recent Tomorrow’s Top Producer conference in Chicago, Ill. Read the stories below to see how you can continue to improve your operation and handle any challenges ahead.

1. Develop Your Farm’s Brand

Creating your farm’s brand is an important business decision that can impact everything from your desirability as an employer to one factor in what you pay for inputs and whether you are top of the list of potential renters of farmland.

"Your brand is reputational capital," says Brett Oelke, agricultural business manager educator for the University of Minnesota and owner of Innovus Agra LLC. The question for producers, he says, is whether they are going to manage their farm brand or let it occur on its own. Read more.

2. Shift Your Thinking

Times are changing in agriculture. The past few years have shown record prices, but now corn and soybean prices are near break-even levels for many farmers.

As these factors change, Rod Osthus, president of the R.C. Thomas Company, a seed sales training firm, says producers need to adapt. "Do you know how many businesses and farmers are caught in the paradigm of the 20th century?" he asks. Read more.

3. Prosper During the Rocky Economic Road Ahead

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