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  • Darren Frye

    This Spring, Keep Overall Plan in Focus

    Finance First

     by Darren Frye
     on April 21, 2014

    It's a hopeful time of year for us in agriculture. Each year when the calendar rolls into the spring season, farmers are waiting expectantly for the first signs that it's time to get back in the field. As you prepare for the long hours and important work of planting season, here's another 'hope' to consider. What are your hopes for the future of your farm? Here's one way to dig into this: How are you thinking differently now versus 10 years ago? Maybe your life is…

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  • Darren Frye

    Is the Next Generation Ready to Run the Farm?

    Finance First

     by Darren Frye
     on April 14, 2014

    As the farm grows and with all the changes that have happened in ag, there's more at stake in every decision. The numbers are bigger. Decisions often have to be made quickly. Understanding the finances of the farm and making decisions accordingly will be a key skill for future farm leaders. We've talked with some families who don't yet have a succession plan for the farm. Many families know they need to take action but are unsure of the best way to start getting the next generation…

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  • Darren Frye

    Draw Your Road Map to Farm Success

    Finance First

     by Darren Frye
     on April 7, 2014

    Have you ever tried to go on a long road trip without some sort of map or directions – whether it's in your cell phone, GPS or even an old paper atlas? Having clear directions is essential, especially when you're navigating to somewhere new, through unfamiliar territory. I think that trying to get somewhere without clear directions is very frustrating. Without a map, you're essentially guessing the way you should go. You have no idea if the route you are taking is the most…

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  • Darren Frye

    Build Farm Transition Plan for Future Needs

    Finance First

     by Darren Frye
     on March 31, 2014

    Last week, I wrote about how it's important to consider the needs of your farm when bringing in the next generation. The other piece of that is taking a close look at the skills that the next generation brings – as well as recognizing what they're not interested in or passionate about. Sometimes the next generation's passion lies in just one or a couple parts of the operation. The skills farm operators will need as we move into the future are getting more complex and…

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  • Darren Frye

    Farm's Future Depends on Next Generation's 'Fit'

    Finance First

     by Darren Frye
     on March 24, 2014

    Is a member of the next generation coming back to farm with you? It can be great to bring in a family member who is passionate and excited about the future of Ag and your family farm. They can bring a lot of energy and new ideas to the operation. In working with farm families, our legacy advisors get a unique perspective on the expectations that are set up (or neglected) when a family member comes back to work on the farm. When bringing in a family member, it's important to think about…

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  • Darren Frye

    Recharge Your Batteries Now

    Finance First

     by Darren Frye
     on March 17, 2014

    Planting time is getting closer and closer. Maybe it's already here for some operations. You've been getting ready for the long days and all of the hard, important work that will happen during that short window. Before you get into the busy season, when you'll be running almost constantly, take a moment to 'recharge your batteries.' That could mean setting aside a day to take some time to reflect. When you do that, you refresh and reset your mind. Then you're ready…

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  • Darren Frye

    Are You a 'Business-First' Farm Family?

    Finance First

     by Darren Frye
     on March 10, 2014

    Do you work with your family members? The majority of us in agriculture work with at least some family on the farm. There are a lot of advantages and benefits that come from working with family – but there's a lot of risk too. And you open yourself up to a lot of unnecessary risk if you fail to operate the farm as a business. The person who I think best sums this up is family business speaker and consultant Jolene Brown. I got to know her this winter at our Ag Edge farm business…

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  • Darren Frye

    Prepare for Planting, Prepare Your Business

    Finance First

     by Darren Frye
     on March 3, 2014

    No doubt you are almost ready for planting season. Maybe you're getting check-ups done on your planter and other equipment. In addition to the regular equipment maintenance you do, these pre-season check-ups are key to a planting season free from breakdowns or other equipment issues. That will be so important, come springtime. Taking the time to have things checked over now, when you're not yet in the field, prepares you for a successful planting season. The check-up brings confidence…

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  • Darren Frye

    Keep Landlord Relationships Strong

    Finance First

     by Darren Frye
     on February 25, 2014

    What's changed in your relationships with your landlords in the past few years? A lot is evolving in that arena as land and commodity prices fluctuate. We recently dove into this topic during a panel discussion at our Ag Edge Farm Business Seminars this winter. A major concern shared by the panel was: how can I manage my landlord relationships proactively? With arrangements moving from primarily share crop agreements a generation ago to the cash rent leases that prevail today, there's…

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  • Darren Frye

    Your Farm's Financial Health Affects Your Legacy

    Finance First

     by Darren Frye
     on February 19, 2014

    Given the current state of the ag economy, the first priority for many farmers is to get a close handle on their financials. It will be very important to keep watch on a farm's break-evens, as margins may narrow in the coming years. Right now, it's best to view this through a short-term lens by gaining a strong grasp of the farm's current financial situation – as well as projecting out what that scenario may look like in the near future. Many farmers may want to have someone…

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