The Indiana Farm Management Tour visited Dennis Whitsitt and family near Huntingburg recently. Sitting on a trailer bed in a hooped building, with Corrine Alexander from the Purdue University ag economics department asking questions and farmers in the audience listening, he made it clear that he relies heavily on other people who have more expertise than he does in certain areas.
"I use a lot of experts, so I guess I don't have much expertise on my own," he quipped. The truth is he's shrewd enough to realize there are times where he can benefit from the input of others, even if he could do a reasonably good job without their help.
One of the areas where he seeks help is marketing. He works with a grain specialist with an independent business. In this case the specialist not only provides advice, but he also makes actual sales for Whitsitt.
"That takes that burden off of me," Dennis says. "It has worked well."
That doesn't mean that the marketing adviser doesn't talk to Whitsitt. In fact, the opposite is true. He wants to know all he can about the operation he is selling grain for so that he can understand the needs of things like cash flow and what will be available to sell.
Whitsitt also has a cow herd, but it's not his area of strength. So he partnered with a person who used to help him with the cattle, and put him in charge of the herd.
The partnership means that Whitsitt has cows still utilizing rough ground, and he has someone else who is knowledgeable taking care of the herd and making decisions which will keep it profitable in the future. He sees it as a win-win situation. In fact, all of his situations where he works with outside people are win-wins in his mind, or he would make changes and go a different direction.