As a young producer, it’s natural to keep an eye on land you’d like to snag when neighboring farmers retire. Don’t get so caught up in waiting for a farmer to retire, though, that you miss an opportunity to team up today.
"Look for partnership opportunities with senior farmers in your community," encourages Chris Barron, Iowa farmer and author of the "Ask a Margins Expert" blog on AgWeb.com.
This can involve the obvious of sharing land and/or equipment, but it can also include combining marketing, management, input purchases, labor, all of the above or just one segment.
The opportunities to cooperate, rather than compete, will come out of the woodwork if you define your guiding principles and what growth means to you, Barron says. Guiding principles can include integrity, character, honesty, fairness, respect, open mindedness, etc.
"Growth should be thought of in terms of profit margins, not acre accumulation," Barron adds. "Think outside the box and grow by developing relationships, continuing education, investing in technology and enhancing efficiency."
For years, Barron has lived by this quote by Zig Ziglar: "You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." Yes, partnering with a senior farmer can benefit you as a young producer and the future of your operation—but it’s likely that the benefits are mutual.
See all of the news, photos, videos and more from the 2012 Tomorrow’s Top Producer event in Chicago, Ill.