STUBBORN (in a good way)

by Andy "Caygeon" Junkin

When you’re a successful farmer, you shape your world. It’s your job to level mountains and create new ones by sheer determination. You have many employees who work for you – and when you say “jump,” they say “How high?”

The way we see things or react to things, although almost never recognized, plays a huge role in why farming partnerships fail or slowly come apart at the seams.

Lack of transparent understanding regarding succession planning can increase anxiety and stress while causing division within the family. There are a lot of farmers in their 30s and 40s who don’t know what their future looks like. The truth be told: 77% of farms don't have a succession plan. And this obviously has a lot to do […]

NOTE: This article was originally published in Progessive Dairy magazine. It was voted as the Top 3 article of the year! The day I left for college, my mother showed me our farm’s financials and told me if I didn’t come back and improve the farm’s profitability, she was leaving my father. While my friends […]

I believe that every farm should have their business plan framed and hung above the toilet. Fifty years ago, farms didn’t need business plans. That is because the farm didn’t grow at that fast a rate and the biggest move you might have made in your lifetime is buying the farm next door.

Growing up, the only way she could get time with dad was by being in the barn. The only way she could gain his attention was by working hard on the farm and “being of use.” She dreamed of being on the basketball team, but she sacrificed her teenage years saying she was helping out […]

Did Christmas suck this year? Everyone talks about Christmas being the most joyous time of year, but for many family farms, it isn’t. Why? There’s a different reason for everyone, but being the guy behind the scenes, I can see many farmers share common pains that can make Christmastime miserable. 1. For many farmers, the days […]

As a farm succession mediator, I have seen some extreme situations. In fact, the memory of my first client is ingrained in my mind after having to take a shotgun out of his hands. That farmer had lived to set up his son for farming success. He explained to me that he had the best […]

Months after their dad’s funeral, Jeb and Mark were awkwardly trying to figure out how to work together without their dad’s dominating presence. Mark’s wife (the farm’s bookkeeper) suddenly told them the farm’s cost of production was 13% higher due to increasing input prices. The boys were faced with the stark realization: Their first year […]

They say in the software industry that it’s better to own a slice of the watermelon than the whole raisin. Yet these city people don’t think the same principles can apply to a farmer. These hippies talk about the family farm as if it is a thing of the past. Sure, the family members might […]

Just two days ago, I got off the phone with a 25-year-old corn farmer named Billy who recently became a father. He explained to me that only a few days after the baby was born, he was given the chance to see the farm’s financials for the first time. He was shocked to find out […]

It got to the point that every time Parker saw Beau’s phone number on his cell’s call display, his gut turned over because he knew his brother was going to yell at him about something else again. They hadn’t had a pleasant conversation in months, and Beau treated his younger brother Parker like a “rented […]

What is going on in the mind of your partner when they are about to hit that alarm clock? Are they thinking about what has to get done today with excitement or just hitting snooze and getting another 20 minutes sleep? What they tell themselves in that first five seconds of the day will dictate where your farm is going to be in five years.

About 12 years ago, a guy named Jack called me up and, although no one in his family knew it, he had terminal cancer. Succession planning had suddenly become a priority, and he didn’t know what to do. His youngest son, Ken, was 29 and had been working on the farm for eight years and […]

If you are constantly bickering with family members to some extent, how can you have strong family support necessary for strong mental health?

To survive this upcoming crisis, the first thing you have to assume is that you are the underdog and you must do everything you can to survive a worst-case scenario. You need to rethink everything!

If you are constantly bickering with family members to some extent, how can you have strong family support necessary for strong mental health?

It’s wonderful that so many farm kids are renewing their interest in agriculture. Yet, it’s creating many unanticipated problems and could create an exponential number of succession problems down the road.

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