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Wittman to offer proven strategies to solve farm management problems

Dick Wittman
Summit keynote speaker offers ways farm families can boost business practices, keep transitions on track.

Are you making the best decisions you can when it comes to your farm operation?

Commercial farms are growing rapidly but many have run into a problem: they’re adding acres without beefing up their management and governance processes. According to Farm Futures surveys, larger farms can be three times more vulnerable to financial risk.

That’s why we’re pleased to announce Dick Wittman as the keynote speaker for the upcoming Farm Futures Business Summit. Wittman, an Idaho rancher and farm management consultant, will offer his take on the best ways to professionalize the family farm, a hot topic these days as farms look to pass the business to younger generations.

The summit takes place June 16-17 at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center just outside Iowa City.

Related: Around Farm Progress shares insight on the Farm Futures Summit

Why farms fail

“Good family business governance practices can help solve relationship problems, which are often the reason family operations dissolve or transition processes fail,” says Wittman, who has written “Building An Effective Farm Management System,” a guidebook on best practices.

“These tragic conclusions stem from operators failing to run the farm in a professional manner,” he notes. “Farms with good production and financial footings often fail because they either don't know the basic rules of conducting a professionally managed business, or they know the rules but don't document them and apply them consistently in daily farm operations.”

Summit attendees will be led through assessment tools to score themselves on proficiency in personnel, governance, financial and marketing management. Attendees will take home a clear path for documenting and implementing best management practices for managing a family farm business.

Stay sharp

Grain prices are booming but it’s never a good time to get sloppy with your management, says Wittman.

“When times are good, we start to reverse our thinking about financial management and the best practices we followed in tough times,” he says. “We get lax about doing accrual vs. cash tax treatment; we start buying capital depreciable assets we don’t need to avoid paying taxes.”

Good times may cause you to stop relying on some of your best advisers, including your lender. “We stop getting updates and get less pressure from bankers to prepare good, quality, forward-thinking budgets,” says Wittman, who bases his comments on years of counseling with thousands of farm families.

“People start to think, prices are good, next year will be fine, we don’t need to worry. So the importance of quality financial planning really goes down.”

Can you avoid that? Of course. It just takes discipline.

“You have an opportunity, right now, to work ON your business instead of in your business,” says Wittman, who will inspire you to think in new ways about your farm operation.

Wittman leads a talented speaker lineup including Gregg Doud, former chief ag negotiator in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Doud will share what it was like to hammer out the China-U.S. Phase One Trade Deal. This Week in Agribusiness meteorologist Greg Soulje will provide a growing season weather outlook followed by a market outlook discussion with leading grain marketing experts. Economists and former ag bankers will walk you through ways to make better expansion decisions and outline potential tax changes that could threaten to blow up your estate plan.

For many the summit will be the first chance this year to meet face to face with other farm families from across the country. To see the agenda and get your registrations sorted, go to www.farmfuturessummit.com. See you in Iowa!

Want to save 20% on the 2021 Farm Futures Summit? When you register at farmfuturessummit.com use the promo code FFLIVE.

Learn more about Farm Futures Summit

In-person learning is backIt’s time to reconnect with each other and re-ignite your passion for agriculture.

Former ag trade negotiator to share China insights at summitPull up a chair and listen in as Gregg Doud, former U.S. Trade Ambassador and one of the primary architects of the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal, shares his view of China and future ag exports at the upcoming Farm Futures Business Summit.

How the Boot Camp can make you a better business manager - Cash flow statements, analyzing farm growth opportunities and how to use working capital are some of the topics we’ll be touching on live at the 2021 Ag Finance Boot Camp, to be held June 15 at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center just outside Iowa City.

Farm Futures Summit returns with in-person meetings - Is it time to meet old friends, learn a few new things, and sharpen up your farm management skillset? You bet it is, and we’re here to help. After long months of isolation the 2021 Farm Futures Business Summit is set to go live June 16-17 at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center just outside Iowa City. 

Wittman to offer proven strategies to solve farm management problems - Dick Wittman is the keynote speaker for the upcoming Farm Futures Business Summit. Wittman, an Idaho rancher and farm management consultant, will offer his take on the best ways to professionalize the family farm, a hot topic these days as farms look to pass the business to younger generations.

 

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