Many young producers returned to family farm operations during the high commodity prices of the early 2010s. Now, the price outlook is more challenging—and that means enterprising producers must lay the groundwork to assess risk, evaluate opportunities and monitor progress.
“Start with financial management,” recommends Mark Welch, ag economist at Texas A&M University and program director The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP), in an interview with “Top Producer Podcast” host Pam Fretwell.
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Welch will speak at the 2017 Tomorrow’s Top Producer conference. “Get those records and financial practices in place,” he continues. “Do you know how you are doing? What is your trajectory? Are you covering your costs? Are you making a profit? Are things moving in the right direction? Or are we in a situation where what we’re doing is not working, and it’s not sustainable over time?”
Next, consider the value of surrounding yourself with smart people. For example, you might employ a CPA to provide consultation on your finances.
“Recognize that there are challenges, and there is expertise available to help us expand some capabilities where we don’t have to do it all ourselves,” Welch says.
If you want to scale your business in the months or years ahead, remember to bring those hiring skills on-farm as you recruit new talent.
“There are some professional ways to manage how we interview, how we compensate, how we retain those valued employees,” Welch points out. “We don’t have to do it all alone, especially if we’re trying to do things in the most efficient and the most profitable way that we can.”
As you assume more responsibility, align your decisions with three core values, Welch says.
It takes time to monitor and manage the complexities of a farm or ranch today so it’s critical to appoint the right people for daily operations, he says. You need discipline to follow through with what you and your team have committed to do, and you need communication to keep your team on the same page. That’s the “foundation of success and sustainability in agriculture today,” Welch says.
Register now to hear Mark Welch at the 2017 Tomorrow's Top Producer conference happening July 20-21 in Nashville.
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