Sunday, July 14, 2024
Chris Judd

The seven bank accounts of a farmer: #4 the team

About 25 years ago, while sitting on a bench at a local coffee hangout, a friend of mine was teasing me about being “a rich farmer.” I then decided to write a series of articles for a farm paper that was distributed province-wide to explain “the seven bank accounts of a farmer.” I have since realized that everyone has those seven bank accounts and maybe I should explain what they are. I will take one of the seven bank accounts (soil, seed, continuous education, the “team”, neighbors, politics, and money) and explain one each week for the next seven weeks, if I don’t get fired.
The term “team” is well known to anyone who watches or plays sports because everyone knows that even the best player in the league cannot win alone. No matter what business or team we are in, a team that works together will be successful. A dairy farmer’s team includes family members, several employees, a feed nutritionist, a very educated banker, an accountant, a foot specialist for the cows, at least one veterinarian, several feed suppliers, probably several “custom operators” to spread manure, harvest, help with cropping, truckers, mechanics for various repairs, refrigeration specialists (because there is often $10,000 worth of perishable milk in that bulk tank) a notary, a financial adviser, several doctors, weed specialists, an electrician, a plumber, several buyers for animals, one or more genetic advisors, crop advisers, a computer specialist, a fuel supplier, an environmental adviser, several carpenters, engineers and contractors, many dairy specialists, a ventilation specialist, a well driller and water pump specialist, several hydraulic shops that repair and sell, parts suppliers for every piece of equipment on the farm, one or more tire suppliers, welders, machinists, seed suppliers, chemical suppliers, milking machine repair men, suppliers of cleaning supplies for the dairy, several “test labs” for water, feed, manure, and soil, hardware stores, both heavy equipment transporters and parcel delivery service, one or more abattoirs, media contacts, a spiritual advisor, a mental fatigue hotline that works 24/7, several weather apps on your smart phone, local agronomist, building inspector and local restaurants for emergency food during planting and harvest. When a farmer enters the barn each morning and is greeted by dozens of animals can be a big plus to mental well-being.
Keeping an up-to-date network of specialists from other communities, provinces, countries or continents can become a priceless asset. Many of the team members mentioned above are also in many consumer’s contact lists, but we often take that extensive list for granted. Keeping that team bank account “in your corner” can be much more valuable in life than that money you have in the bank. Take time to talk to those team members as often as you can. Time is money, but this is money well spent.

Chris Judd is a farmer in Clarendon on land that has been in his family for generations.

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