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The New FamilyFarms Group

01:28AM Aug 09, 2012

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.