December 02, 2023

Broaden your farm’s team for greatest benefit

When you think about your farm’s team, you might first think of your employees and the other people who work directly within the operation, such as other family members who are involved. These people are key to your farm’s mission and success, in the trenches with you every day.

Next, think a little more broadly about who is on your farm’s team. Aside from direct employees and involved family members, who else is part of making the farm successful?

Branching Out

You might start to think about all the other key players who may not be involved on a day-to-day basis, but certainly play a role on your farm and its success. Think of people with a specific role or stake in your operation.

Your landlords play a unique role in relation to your farm. The ground you rent from them contributes to your farm’s success, and you steward and take care of their owned ground.

Considering them part of your farm’s team helps bring win-win thinking and a partnership mentality to the way you work together.

The same goes in a slightly different way for your farm’s lenders. Your relationship with them and the access to capital and loans it provides can play a critical role in the success of your farm.

Then, the success of your operation helps your lenders and the institution they work for to be successful.

On The Team

Who else plays a role in the success of your operation? Consider the equipment dealerships you work with to purchase and service equipment.

Think about the various suppliers and vendors you work with to ensure your farm has the right seed, fertilizer and chemicals to grow the best crop possible. You can extend this to the broader community or area your farm is located nearby.

Building a great relationship between your operation and the people in the wider community can even be part of a landlord relations outreach strategy, as your farm becomes more well-known in a positive way. You might volunteer as part of a nonprofit organization or board.

Your advisers are also a valuable source of help and third-party insight for your business. You can create your own advisory board for your farm or join a peer group of like-minded farm leaders to gain ideas.

You can bring on advisers for your operation in specific areas where you believe your operation would benefit.

These advisers should work in close partnership with you, while providing leadership, teaching and coaching along the way. They become part of your farm’s team because their goal is to help your farm reach its goals.

Evaluating Opportunities

Here are three questions you can use to help evaluate new opportunities or decisions for your farm.

1. Does it fit with our farm’s core values? Your farm’s core values are the compass and touchstone for all decisions within your operation. As the leader, you can model using the core values to consider whether the “new” thing is right for your farm.

2. Does it fit with our farm’s future direction? For this one, you and your farm’s leadership team need to have already worked through conversations about where the farm is headed in both the longer term, 20 to 30 years, and the shorter term, five to 10 years.

3. Does it fit with our farm’s needs? Knowing what your farm needs right now might sound simple, but it can be complicated. Your advisers, lenders, suppliers and vendors may be able to provide input on this, depending on the question at hand and their own area of expertise.

How Are You Navigating This Market?

One area that many farmers have found benefit from bringing on a third-party adviser is around marketing. Farmers have found that getting some third-party perspective from our market advisers has helped ease their minds.

The advisers 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 adviser programs and offerings at

Darren Frye

Darren Frye

Darren Frye is president and CEO of Water Street Solutions.