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Advice on starting ag business

PRODUCER-OWNED agricultural businesses have great advantages and can be worth it — if you can get past all the hurdles, says Keith DeHaan, a consultant with Food and Livestock Planning, Inc.

“You have to understand and be prepared for a roller coaster of positive and negative experiences,” he said.

Producers must be part of the organizational development. Always keep a core group of producers involved and informed, he said. Solicit all the help you can get and be prepared for overt cynicism.

DeHaan said studies show that an interested farmer needs to be presented business informaiton three times in order to feel comfortable in investing into a group forming a producer-owned business venture.

On average, one in 10 investors contacted will eventually invest. Potential investors often back away, saying that their lenders would not approve of such investing. Often lenders are never really asked, he said.

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