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Matthew Gould’s Farm Story

When Matthew Gould was young he always knew he wanted to be a farmer. In fact, he made this known to his family from an early age saying that when he was older he would be farming with his Dad. He comes from afarm family, through and through, and all of his siblings have been involved with the farm from a young age.

His familiar, but unique farm story is well worth a watch, if not two! So please, feel free to hit play on the video below and learn about the young farmer, Matthew Gould.


Matthew Gould’s Farm Story

Jen Jenkins’ Story

We’re happy to introduce you to Jen Jenkins.  She’s the new online facilitator.  But more importantly, she has an incredible farm story.

 

Incorporated Farms and the Benefits of an Unanimous Shareholder Agreement

We hope D-Day will never come, but divorce, death and default can ruin any business if you’re not prepared with a solid unanimous shareholder agreement.

As with any business, there needs to be a plan for when certain events happen on your farm operation. If your farm is incorporated, it is prudent to also have a unanimous shareholder agreement in place. A unanimous shareholder agreement is intended to be the back-stop for the relationship between shareholders. In 99% of cases the agreement is never referred to but it sure is important to have when a problem arises.

Watch Tracy Hanson, Calgary lawyer, explain the benefits of having a unanimous shareholder agreement for incorporated farm operations.

This workshop was funded in part by the Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta

 

 

Re-Thinking the Future of Agriculture

Vik Maraj, of Unstoppable Conversations, discusses how to improve the future of agriculture by letting go of the past.

Farmers can’t get out of their view about what limits them in fulfilling their future ambitions. Often they think that they are “on their own.” This view has been passed down by previous farm generations, however the limitations of generations past, no longer reflects the reality of today. In the past, farmers truly where on their own, left to battle it out each year for the hope a good yield, come harvest time. But today, farmers need to realize they are not on their own and to be able to re-imagine a new future of agriculture they must start reaching out to other farmers, organizations and networks.

The future of agriculture cannot improve by referencing the past; it requires us to bring forth a future that is entirely new.

 

 

Managing Your Human Resource Risk

When you’re in a farm operation there are a number of different risks and in order to be successful as a farmer you need to understand:

1. What the risks are;

2. The potential for problems with the risks;

3. How to alleviate the risks to an acceptable leve

To understand the whole picture you need to educate yourself and then consult professionals to help you out.

‘Human Resources Risk’ is one of the ‘5 Pillars of Risk Management’, as explained by expert Reg Shandro.  In farm families the complexities of managing human resources can be risky business!

For further resources, please read the information below or in the “download” section on the right of your screen:

Conflict Resolution Skills
This workshop was funded in part by the Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta

 

How Young Farmers Can Master Success in Their 30’s

You’re 30 and you’re the worker bee at your farm. You’re tired, you have a family, you need to run your farm business and you want to have some fun.

So, as a 30 year old farmer, what are some things you need to think about to make it all work?

1. Accountability – talk to your family about what accountability means to you.

2. Conflict resolution – those that master success in their 30s are ones that understand conflict resolution.

3. Passion and commitment

4. Are you paying attention to results?

5. Trust

You’ve made it through your 20’s on the family farm.  Now what?  Well, your 30’s could be the most exciting time of your life, building on what you’ve already learned, and truly becoming a master at what you love.

Elaine Froese discusses how to ensure successful farming in your thirties on the family farm.

 

Fixing Your Time Stress on the Family Farm

One really common thing among farm families is that they want more fun in their lives, and less work to do.

So, ask yourself, in the next 3 months what is the most important thing you need to do?

Elaine Froese shows a process you can take to answer this question. It’s simple, it makes sense and it will help you and your family fix the stress you have on the farm.

How Farm Families Can Reduce Stress on the Farm

 

How Young Farmers Can Make Great Choices in Their 20’s

When you’re in your 20s your challenge is to become independent from your parents. Part of what a young farmer really wants is to have a voice and make decisions, and to be respected for his or her opinion.

So, if you’re a young farmer and you identify with the above, this video is for you!

Also, remember to check out Elaine Froese‘s webinar “How to Make Better Family Farm Decisions“.

And if you want some farm management tools and templates check outWittman Consulting.

The 4 Stages of Changes for Farm Families

Farmers often believe that by working hard, things will be OK. But life is not a straight line, and working harder and harder doesn’t mean things will always work out. So, what should you do?

Elaine Froese has taken the Hudson Institute‘s cycle of renewal modeland applied it to the lives of farm families.  Take a look at where you’re at in these 4 Stages of Change, in both your personal and farm business life.
The 4 Stages of Change Applied to Farm Families

 

A ‘FUN’ Way to Farm

Almost a year ago I moved to the middle of the Corn Belt aka Northeastern Iowa. I grew up in agriculture, but my family had cattle and we bought all of our feed. Which meant I knew very little about farming other than what I had picked up on in my college classes and from inquisitively asking questions.

 

Surrounded by corn I began asking my then fiancé lots of questions about corn. Farming intrigues me. I find that it more business-minded compared to raising cattle. We make a lot of emotional decisions with our cattle, where as farmers use facts and research to make theirs.

 

I also learned that the way my family was farming was unique. They call their farming group the Farmers United Network – the FUN group.  We stay away from the word cooperative but there are 12 farming entities in the group all work ing together to achieve three goals 1. Be able to spend more time with their families, 2. Be more profitable, and 3. Have fun.

 

The people in the group span an age range of 24-72, with the average age being 42 years old. We are some of the younger people in the group. And currently with new John Deere combines costing xx there is no way we would be able to farm without the group.

 

Basics of how it is set up:

  • Two families own all the equipment. The others pay rental on that equipment when it is in their fields. On a side note I have never seen equipment so well taken care of. They actually put white carpets in the tractors and combines as a reminder to keep them clean.
  • The group has a wide range of expertise from a crop insurance guy, an agronomist, a loan officer, a seed salesman, a mechanic, a legal adviser and the list goes on. With wide range of expertise we can pull knowledge from within the group.
  • The group works together to plant and harvest each other’s fields. Decisions are made as a group of when planting, harvest, tillage, etc. will take place. When we were on our honeymoon someone else was helping plant our family’s fields. However, when we got back my husband spent time in another person’s field so they could attend a son’s basketball game.
  • We each sell our crops individually. However, when we have a contract hits or go through a mass text message is sent out to the group so they can try and take advantage of that same price.
  • Transparency is very important to the group. We are continually sharing insight on our own businesses, crop history and what did and didn’t in our fields. The value of our network is invaluable.

 

Why the group works:

  • It allows small guys like us to get into farming, and also learn from others with years of experience. We have top of the line equipment in our fields which allows us to be more profitable in the long run.
  • With the variation in age in the group it allows the more seasoned farmers to have a transition from farming to retirement. It also allows the younger people in the group to have better access to future rental opportunities when group members are ready to retire.
  • The group allows us to be more profitable. Currently, between the 12 farms we are farming about 8,000 acres. For us it is not about trying to have as many acres as possible, but rather making the acres we do have as profitable as possible. We can be more profitable because of the transparency I mentioned and the amount of knowledge being shared, something that many other farmers don’t have access to.
  • We are like to have fun. We all love farming, but we love our families more. The ability of the group to give us more time with our families makes the time spent in the tractor that much more enjoyable.

 

It’s been a fun journey learning more about this side of agriculture. I think this group of mostly men sometimes thinks that I am a bit of a nerd, but at the same time I am pretty sure they love being able to sit down and share their passion and knowledge with me. And it is even more exciting to know that we are ensuring generations of farmers to come will be able to continue doing what they love.