The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers has been described as “a farmer MBA.” Born over 20 years ago at Texas A&M University and the brain child of Danny Klinefelter, TEPAP has helped numerous farm managers and operators improve their businesses in ways they never considered before.
In Session 1, there is Canadian representation from New Brunswick to BC, with the heaviest concentration from the prairies. The US is widely represented from all 4 corners (Washington, California, Florida, and Vermont.) There are 2 participants from Australia.
Everyone has a unique reason to want to better themselves and their business, yet the theme around the room during introductions was similar. Even the Aussies remarked at how the only difference in what they are hearing this week compared to back home is the accent.
Prosperity is at the root of everyone’s reason for seeking improvement. Consider these 3 facets of your life and business when determining where and how you want to be better.
Communication in Business (or with Family)
As Elaine Froese likes to say, “It’s never a problem until it’s a problem.” Why not sit down with business partners, family members, etc, to clarify the issue, and set a path for resolution? We know that the answer is “because it isn’t that easy.” But just because it isn’t easy is not permission to avoid the situation. Consider this: if expectations aren’t being met, and no one is talking about it, you’re setting up for a train wreck! I captured a quote from Dick Wittman this week: “The biggest mistake we make in family negotiation is assuming what’s going on in everyone else’s head.”
Are you ready to seek out the resources you need to help you have the talk?
Financial Knowledge and Management
Every day, I learn more about improved methods to gather, analyze, and manage information, all so that better decisions can be made at the farm. The resources available to farmers today are greater in number and scope than ever before. I have gleaned new process to help determine the age old questions of “rent versus buy farmland,” and “what is the actual ROI on that piece of equipment?” I am eager to use these new tools with clients as soon as possible.
What gaps do you have in your current financial knowledge and management that need to be addressed?
No longer are we calling it “work-life balance” because you don’t have two lives, you have one…and it needs balance. If you are out of balance, have you considered why? The TEPAP faculty recognizes that the participants in the room are overachievers, who, statistically, find it easier to work than to play. This is a challenge for anyone who has the level of passion for their business and industry that most farmers do. What we must acknowledge is that this can often be a challenge for the families of said passionate farmers too.
How have your priorities changed over the last 3 years? Are you adjusting with the changes life brings, or staunchly entrenched in old habits?
To Plan for Prosperity
It’s been said that lifelong learning is one of the key tenets to achieving the life we want to live. And our businesses must keep growing to sustain themselves. It need not be learned, achieved, or practiced all at once. Improvement is a process. You can’t eat a whale with one bite, so start small with some important goals, and then do the hardest part: take the first step.