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MANAGEMENT

Manage dairy employees, establish farm protocols, take on milk marketing, and become more confident in your farm financials.

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Let’s begin by comparing owners/managers of two businesses. Our first business is a fast-food franchise that sells products specified by the parent firm to a largely unchanging clientele.

Our second business is an upscale independent restaurant in an ever-changing retail location. The businesses are similar in volume of sales and net income.

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Several readers emailed me with a question I have repeatedly heard from customers and audiences for many years: Are there traits or characteristics which are common to successful dairy farms?

If you were to ask 100 different industry professionals and dairy producers, you would undoubtedly see 100 different lists of attributes most closely linked to success.

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For anyone who grew up in a small town, I’m sure you will probably agree that “everyone knowing you” is both a blessing and a curse. Unfortunately, our parents somehow already knew about the shenanigans we pulled before we even got home.

But on the flip side, there was usually someone nearby who’d help us get out of a jam before anyone else found out. And for many of us who moved “back home” after school, we’re still hoping nobody remembers who we were during our rebellious high school days!

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The cost of financial statements and tax returns is often seen as an annoying expense to meet an outside party’s requirements. However, the information contained in these documents can easily be used to calculate key ratios that can be valuable management tools when understood and used to make operating decisions.

Ratios allow a dairy owner to quickly understand whether the dairy is making money and where it stands compared to prior years and industry benchmarks.

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“I wasn’t able to talk for over two years about what happened with my grandfather,” a young farmer confides as he describes a bitter battle over the transition of land titles from his father’s father to him.

I am concerned about the many threads of conversations across farm audiences this winter that weave a sad tale of loss, grief and exasperation with those farmers who are over 80 and are not finishing their farming careers well.

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For the last few years, agriculture has been discussing the terms animal welfare, animal rights, animal husbandry, animal handling and stockmanship.

They all have unique meanings and nuances to different audiences. Stockmanship is a term more common in the beef cattle industry and can be defined as the art and science of handling cattle, or any other farm animal, properly.

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