Corn+Soybean Digest

Management & Marketing

Worldwide, expect the trend of big growers getting bigger to continue, says Douglas Jose, extension farm management specialist at the University of Nebraska.

"Producers will simply require more acres to generate the income they want and need," he says.

As growers around the world expand their acreages, production management information becomes more acute, Jose says. Add on today's available electronic capabilities, and it's easy for producers to become overwhelmed with management information. "It's a matter of managing so you're able to get information that's useful in decision-making," he says.

"With rapidly changing global markets, it also becomes critical to use that information wisely within a management information system. So, you'll need someone in your operation with good data analysis and manipulation skills," Jose says.

The most often asked question Colin Reesor gets from farmers is how to sift through the piles of information.

"We promote hiring a secretary, not someone else to work in the fields," says the farm management specialist from the Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs. "Once farmers do, they tell us they can't figure out how they got along without one."

As farms get bigger, Reesor believes growers will begin to circumvent their local elevators and make contractual agreements with partners around the world. They may even buy the local elevator to provide the services they need, exclusive to their operation.

"It's a big bridge to cross, but farmers need to switch the balance from being a price taker to a price maker," Reesor says. "Contracts help make that move and shift the power to the farmer preparing them. So be sure you have a lawyer."

Progressive farmers operating more globally will need to know the fundamentals of foreign languages, too. "At least know basic social courtesy things, like counting to 10 and saying thank you. Get a passport and start traveling. Eventually, you'll be doing business directly with worldwide customers and they'll want to see you face-to-face," he says.

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