For the past 2 days, a group of beginning farmers has been learning the basics of farm financial management. The Know to Grow conference is designed to help these new producers get their operations set up and running on a sound, business platform. Created by Farm Credit Mid-America, the annual conference brought together 80 operators this week. Those in the group represented a diverse set of producers, but all were in the early or beginning stages of farming.
Jake Bohlander, of Montgomery County, is no stranger to growing corn, having run his own Pioneer seed dealership and crop consulting service. In 2016, he purchased his first farm, but realized he needed help with financial management, “I am here to hone in on the financial side of my business.” He told HAT that mastering the financial side of the business is one of the biggest challenges beginning producers face, “Most of us who grew up on farms really enjoy driving the tractors and not so much looking at balance sheets.” He added that learning these skills early in their career will make these producers better businessmen down the road.
Bohlander sees the next years as challenging, but remains optimistic, “Looking forward, I still think there is an opportunity, if you are a good manager, for success.” That is what FCMA officials are hoping. They started these conferences 4 years ago on the recommendation of their young farmer advisory committee. They are hoping these beginning farmers will not only become customers of FCMA, but also have successful and profitable farming operations.