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


“There’s a huge talent pool that agriculture needs to pay attention to” quips BDO’s Jim Synder as we visit on the plane. Jim leads the agriculture component of a Canada-wide accounting firm and has experience with chartered banks as well.

He spent a lot of time on the road last year at seminars with Leona Dargis, an Albertan ag producer and Canada’s youngest Nuffield scholar, who is under 30 and running a large operation with her sisters and their spouses.

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A few weeks ago I read a summary of the 2011 Census of Agriculture from Statistics Canada, a report that gets released every five years.

It included some interesting findings. For example, the number of farms in Canada is actually declining but the size of the average farm is increasing – a fact that suggests consolidation continues to be a significant force in Canadian agriculture.

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It’s baseball season again! I love the game and look forward to the start of the season each spring. Sure, it’s just a game, but there are some lessons from baseball we can apply to dairy whether you are a fan or not.

1. Play the percentages
In baseball, managers play the percentages – they usually go with what has a higher likelihood of success.

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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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