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What do your farm partners excel at?

Finance First: Know and invest in strengths of fellow leaders to improve farm operation.

Darren Frye

January 29, 2024

3 Min Read
Three farmers shaking hands
Getty Images/iStockPhoto

Many farm operations today are led by a team of leaders – whether that’s made up of spouses working together, a team of family members, or business partners with shared decision making.

When your operation is complex or has a lot of moving pieces, it can be a major advantage to work as a leadership team – whether that’s two people or ten, depending on your operation’s needs. There are multiple people around to discuss new plans and ideas, or work through how to solve any challenges the operation is having. Different leaders will bring different perspectives, experiences, and knowledge to the table as well.

Another big advantage is that various leaders will bring different strengths to the farm. The key lies in playing to the strengths of each leader – because that will bring greater strength to the farm operation as a whole.

Finding strengths

If you farm together with other leaders or partners, do you already know exactly what their strengths are when it comes to leading and running the farm? Can you name the top five strengths of each leader off the top of your head?

If that doesn’t come readily, it’s time to sit down and write out a list of strengths for each leader and partner. Where do they bring the greatest contribution to the farm in terms of their natural talents and skills, past experience, and what they’re passionate about?

The place where those three things intersect is probably where they are also most likely to thrive and make the greatest contribution to their role on the farm. Work to align each leader’s roles and responsibilities for farm decision making around those areas.

Build in greater opportunity for independent decision making in the areas where leaders are already quite confident or building their confidence. This will likely lead to faster growth in terms of taking ownership of that part of the operation.

Have a conversation

If you aren’t quite sure what your spouse, fellow leaders, or farming partners view as their areas of strength, first ask them what they think those areas are currently. Then together you can discuss if there’s a certain facet that they feel confident about taking a bigger leadership role in during 2024.

As the farm’s CEO, deeply knowing the skills, talents, and leadership abilities of your team will strengthen your ability to lead through your team’s talents and improve your operation overall. Doing this more and more will also increase your own time, ability, and capacity to focus on leading and managing the farm’s business side.

Knowing and investing in the skills of other leaders – and everyone working in the operation, for that matter – will likely pay off in a big way for farm CEOs who want to take their operation to the next level in 2024.

Farmers have found that getting some third-party perspective from our market advisors has helped ease their minds. The advisors help farmer clients with planning and execution around marketing decisions and help keep them up to speed on the current rapidly-changing grain market situation – and how it impacts their operation.

Get a free two-week trial of our marketing information service (MarketView Basic). Your free trial includes regular audio and video updates, technical analysis, recommendations and more. Learn more about our market advisor programs and offerings at www.waterstreetag.com.

About the Author(s)

Darren Frye

CEO, Water Street Solutions

Darren Frye grew up on an innovative, integrated Illinois farm. He began trading commodities in 1982 and started his first business in 1987, specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. In 1994 he started a consulting business, Water Street Solutions to help Midwest farmers become more successful through financial analysis, crop insurance, marketing consulting and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spreadsheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

Visit Water Street Solutions

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