Read the full story on FamilyFarms Group from our Summer 2012 issue.
In the early years, farmers could join FamilyFarms Group only if they bought in on a per-acre basis and received Class A shares. Today, farms can join as a "client" with the opportunity to become an "investor." Client teams pay a fee and have access to staff and services. Investor teams pay a fee plus a premium in exchange for returns from the company; these teams also are required to standardize in certain areas, such as environmental certification.
General manager training: "FamilyFarms believes if farms grow to a certain size and they don’t have these general manager systems in place, they should not grow anymore," notes CEO and founder Allen Lash.
Grain inventory: A new Harvest and Distribution System manages grain inventory down to individual bins.
Input purchasing, receiving and distribution: A new input tracking system for seed and fertilizer.
Landlord development division: A resource to help members with landlord relations and negotiations.
Cropland and environmental certification: A program through on-farm assessment company Validus.
In-house attorney: FamilyFarms helps with entity structure, tax concerns, landlord partnerships and other legal issues. Estate planning is not done in-house, but that service is being considered for the future, Lash says.
Charities: A separate 501(c)(3) that uses finances to fund charities that are already established, are recommended by members and approved by the charity board. FamilyFarms pays all the administration costs, and 100% of all dollars that come in are applied.