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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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Dairy producers are always asking me to describe what I do. I am often contacted after a peer or trusted adviser has referred them.

More times than not, one of the first topics they want to discuss is: “Tell me what you do.” And also more times than not, my first reply will be: “I help people answer the question: ‘What next?’”

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Many of my clients have heard me say how fascinated I am with families who can work and operate a business together. It’s hard enough to just be family, let alone with the added stress of working side by side for another 40 to 80 hours each week.

Families who operate businesses also often have a particular challenge in planning for managerial succession. How and when do parents, aunts, uncles and other senior-generation members stop being directors and become coaches to children and other junior-generation members?

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The family has grown its roots deep into the soil at their Abbotsford, British Columbia, area dairy farm.

Allan Mulder was just a boy in 1969 when his father purchased the farm where Allan and his wife, Dianne, raised their three daughters.

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Farmers love carrots, don’t you know? They dangle one for years in front of the next generation, so to keep the young folks guessing when they will become part-owners and have their dreams turn into reality.

“The proverbial carrot that Dad is holding out is really getting me down,” says the young dairy farmer.

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Many farm families are feeling a deep sense of guilt knowing they should be having business meetings, but they just don’t seem to get around to it. The key factor is understanding why you need to meet.

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Farming operations require the use of a number of tools. Some tools are used continually while others, though no less valuable, are held in reserve to be used on an as-needed basis. Over the years, there has been great progress made in the design and functionality of many valuable tools.

One area that has seen considerable progress is the use of electronics. Modern tractors utilize integrated computer systems with GPS technology which can allow the tractors to literally drive themselves. In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift towards smartphones and other handheld devices.

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