Veteran Advisor
Posts: 1,514
Registered: ‎08-04-2010

Re: Try to be 5% better farmer to survive.

This will be my first year in a decade that I wont be farming or selling seed. I got out of farming because I'm 35 years old and don't have much room to grow, and selling seed took a lot of the most precious commodity in life TIME. I learned some valuable lessons over the years though.  What I learned from (crop) farming is that its a funny business, I've never seen a business where those involved were so eager to work for so little. Land rents are probably the biggest killer, they don't make anymore land so farmers fight tooth and nail to get every scrap they can. Selling seed opened my eye's to the world of "volume in." I used to sell seed to larger operators for much less than I could buy it, even with my dealer discounts, because the large operator got a bunch knocked off for volume. So those guys that are willing to pay full price for a few bags of Pioneer or Dekalb to have those fancy seed signs on the side of their fields are the first ones to lose money by default. Another lesson I learned is to have a semi. A semi at least helped me make some "volume out" money over farmers that hooked onto a wagon and went to the nearest elevator. The big guys might even make a little more by calling and negotiating a better sale price on grain. So to me, a 5% increase in yield is just a bonus. Crop farming is a "volume in", "volume out" business. So what does the little guy do to stay competitive? Get diversified, get better transportation, be a negotiator with seed COMPANIES, and learn to manage inputs a little better. I hate the cop out term from ex-farmers "get big or get out." A smaller, more diversified operator could easily be 5-10% more competitive than his neighbors that are seeking the same rented ground if he or she manages things correctly. The best model I've seen to help farmers get more competitive is the Maximum Farming model. BA, if you haven't been to one of their meetings already, please go! I wish I had went to one of their meetings about 9 years ago... Well I gotta get, I start trucking hogs here pretty soon so I'm still actively involved in production ag, I sure will miss turning over some dirt this spring. Best of luck!