Farming with Family Ain’t Always Easy

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Farming with Family Ain’t Always Easy

Date: 
Mon, 05/19/2014

“You can be the smartest farmer in the world; however, if you can’t get everyone pulling in the same direction, then you get nowhere fast!”

by Ali Enerson, Hoard’s Dairyman Special Publications Editor

Farming with Family Ain’t Always EasyRunning any family business is challenging. The complexities of farming only add to that challenge. As with every business there are different personalities to work with, emotions that run high when so much of your life is invested into your work and especially when working with family, manners tend to float right out the window.

Farming with Family Ain’t Always Easy by Mark Andrew Junkin is a 75-page book that includes an 80-minute audio book. The author touches on a variety of challenges in a farm business including the third-generation curse, family dynamics, dealing with change and continuous improvement. The quote from the book sums it up well, “You can be the smartest farmer in the world; however, if you can’t get everyone pulling in the same direction, then you get nowhere fast!”

The author gives a simple but effective action plan for first steps to improvement. He calls it Rock, Paper, Scissors:

  1. Rock – Take the stone out of your shoe.
    1. Meet monthly with a facilitator before small, daily problems snowball into big problems.
  2. Paper – A one page strategic plan.
    1. Get your family management team to agree on a one-page strategy and post it EVERYWHERE.
  3. Scissors – Set goals together and cut the fat.
    1. Create a list of your top 10 weaknesses and work on them, one by one, together as a team.

Junkin’s book is applicable to every farm family. The book gives real-world examples of family challenges everyone can relate to, even if you’re decades away from transitioning the business. It’s never too early to take the first step in improving how your family works together.

Copies of this book and others are available through the Hoard’s Dairyman online bookstore.

Ali blog footer

The author is the special publications editor, responsible for books, plans, distribution of the e-newsletter and various internal communication pieces. She grew up on a 60-cow dairy in northwest Wisconsin, and is a graduate of University of Wisconsin–Madison with a degree in life sciences communications.

Click to subscribe to the HD Notebook RSS.