Over the decades, one of my most enjoyable speaking engagements is The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) held at Texas A&M University in Austin, Texas. This educational venue was the vision of Dr. Danny Klinefelter, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M. Unfortunately, the past two years have been virtual as a result of the pandemic. I cannot wait for the sessions to be face-to-face again so the exchange with some of the most supercharged lifelong learners can continue.
Dr. Danny Klinefelter wrote a paper on the characteristics of individuals completing the TEPAP program. One of his famous points was that they are generally five percent better in many areas of their business compared to their peers. Recently, I asked a group of young and experienced farmers how they have become five percent better in recent years. The following is a list of their responses, in no particular order.
In a recent leadership institute, some producers noted that they prioritized scaling down operations. The recent bout of inflation has accelerated this action. Some producers have dropped marginal rented farm ground or landlords that are a hassle. Others have considered logistics from the farm and ranch base. The old principle of “better is better before bigger is better” referring to getting efficient before you grow is very appropriate.
Many of the producers indicated that they spent more time with their family as a result of the pandemic. Exercising and eating healthier along with being selective on what they watch in terms of media were strategies for improving both physical and mental health. Increased use of virtual platforms to be informed and engaged was more prevalent amongst the younger producers.
Paying down debt and building working capital
Many producers are coming off strong years economically, especially with the infusion of government payments. Producers mentioned they have accelerated debt paydown, built working capital, and prioritized developing a rainy-day emergency financial fund.
I have even concluded that I cannot do everything myself! Individuals in a growth mode found that they learn to delegate and trust others even though the process or outcome might be slightly different. Sometimes giving up control is good and there is more than one way to achieve results.
Other tidbits and suggestions
- Stretch every morning
- Cook more
- Read two books per month: one fiction and one nonfiction
- Reduce technology use to increase family engagement
- Reduce online shopping to control impulse purchasing
One outcome of these exercises is that it is not all about business. The principle of balancing business, family, and personal life is alive and well in 2022.
Source: David Kohl, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.