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What key partners does your farm need?

Finance First: Getting the right advisors and partners can make a huge difference.

Darren Frye

December 11, 2023

3 Min Read
Two people shaking hands in a farm field
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Especially when your farm operation is growing in size or complexity, a leader can find that there’s a seemingly endless number of decisions to make. And when you want to lead your farm operation to the greatest success possible, it can be helpful to have others to bounce ideas off of.

If you lead your operation along with a couple other leaders or a full team, you may already use them as sounding boards for ideas you have or major decisions that need to be made. Their input can really help when it comes to some of the biggest decisions you’re making for your operation.

Looking outside

Another type of input that many farmers say they find helpful is getting perspective from a third-party advisor for their operation. This can be valuable input to have in addition to the ideas of others inside your operation.

The reason is the “outside” perspective of a third-party advisor can often bring different ideas or solutions to the mix. They should be well-versed in agriculture and also have a strong understanding of your operation and your goals. The combination of their knowledge of ag plus understanding what you want to do in your business can help bring up new solutions and ideas for your consideration.

Being able to tap into third-party advisors for your operation often helps bring your farm an advantage. You can also consider the relationships that you currently have with people such as your farm’s lenders, vendors, suppliers, and others – and determine if it may be advantageous to work with them with more of a partnership in mind.

What I mean by that is viewing the relationship in such a way that you focus on gleaning what you can learn from them in their particular area of expertise. Since you’re already working with them and you both (hopefully) have the ultimate goal of your operation’s success, you can tap into their ideas and also ask them to educate you further and put it to good use for your operation.

Think through three

Here are a couple steps to take when thinking about how you can further use key outside partners for your operation.

  1. Think about the areas that are most key to your farm’s success. Who do you already have on your farm’s broad team (including other internal leaders, outside people or paid advisors) that you feel confident in turning to with major questions or to request advice on major decisions? Are there any areas where there are gaps, or where you would like to hear more (or different) perspectives?

  2. Consider where getting an outside partner would be most helpful. Are any of the most key areas of your operation also a place where you feel there’s a current gap in terms of what you need? Are there any areas where you currently have the feeling of “going it alone” or tend to second-guess your decisions?

  3. Strategically bring in advisors as partners. For the new year, you might pick one or two areas to either start working with a third-party advisor or choose to work on your relationship with your lender, a supplier, or vendor to make it more of a partnership and educational process where the goal is to help improve your operation.

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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