It’s winter meeting season, and I just spent a week at our Top Producer conferences in Chicago. As I listened to some of the best minds in agriculture, I was wishing that everyone in ag could hear the words of wisdom being shared.
The reality that underpinned virtually all of the presentations: margins for row-crop farmers will squeeze tighter in 2014, as livestock producers breathe a sigh of relief. From my pages of notes, I selected a few nuggets to pass along.
These first five are from Moe Russell, Farm Journal columnist and long-time business consultant for farmers:
- "The future has a way of arriving unannounced."
- "Cycles will always occur in agriculture; you just have to manage them and bulletproof your balance sheet."
- "Refinance real estate and machinery debt to free up cash and take advantage of 50-year lows in interest rates—but do it now."
- "When you abuse interpersonal relationships, you don’t get what you want. You get what you deserve."
- "Concentrate on your strengths. ... If you work on your weaknesses your whole lifetime, you’ll die with stronger weaknesses."
From Terry Barr, economist, CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division:
- "The farm bill regulations will be very complex and important this time ... and you’ll have to live with your choices for five years."
From Michael Boehlje, Purdue University economist:
- "We can’t accurately predict the future, so position for the uncertainty."
- "Uncertainly creates risk, but it also creates opportunities. Be ready for it."