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'Farming with money is much easier than farming for money'

'Never buy a crop'

'Farmers have resilience in spades. You will find out if you do too'

'Try to diversify your income if you get a chance'

'Buy a solid good quality used machine then baby the **** out of it'

'Learn about the utility of money or equipment'

'Try to be a smaller owner rather than a larger renter. Your equity, save you it can'
 

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This applies to everything but fits here because as a farmer you are running a business: have valid reasons for whatever you do

You can take the advice of an expert or disregard it, run new or well-used equipment, be full on tillage or zero till. It doesnt matter what you do, just make sure you have valid reasons and can defend them when things go for crap. Because we all make mistakes and even the best plan can fail due to something unknown. But the guys that will get into the most problems time and again are those with no valid reason when you ask them "why did you do that". Sure, someone telling you to do something can be 100% right and you will suceed by doing so but if you dont understand the reasoning for it then you will never advance your business.

Everyone screws up and also excels at various times while farming. Understanding why it happened and having valid reasons to defend your reasons is how you keep learning and improve things for next time. Throwing darts at a board is not good for a successful business.
Very well put.
 

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And the important one, that i stress to EVERYONE I work around, There's no such thing as a stupid questions, don't be afraid to ask if you don't know the answer.
I will not agree with this anymore. I used to say it never hurts to ask. There can be an exception to every rule. Example, a guy asks around for advice and takes none of th advice given. Why was he asking? To frustrate those he asked? Will they give advice next time he asks or be as willing help him out if he asks? Another example, you fairly well know the answer will be NO about leasing land but you figure it will never hurt to ask. You just helped cement that decision in their mind, NO!
Always be kind and never speak poorly of your neighbor. There are always worse neighbors. **** happens and may have just happened next you. It may be your chance to screw up next. We are not perfect.

Always, always be certain you can pay your debts. Crop insurance is wonderful tool for this. Contracts also help guarantee this. Never contract more than you can grow on a very bad year. Or be certain of an act of God clause. You never want to buy back a contract.
 

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Find something that you like doing that makes money and do more of it. Find something you do not like doing or doesn't make money, do less of it
 

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My comments are that farming is such a different game than it was 25 years ago. Back then you would buy a half off the neighbor or your dad, farm with him for a few years and expand from there. These days a half section wont buy you a half ton truck, you need such a large land base or off farm work. Once you start working off farm to support your drug habit, you start wondering why would anyone keep a full time job to support your part time income. Its a daunting starting point.
 

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Interesting thread. FWIW a couple of thoughts from 43 years of experience on my own and 20 or so before that as a kid that loved the farm life.

I really like the quote that meritmat has on his posts: "Funny, the harder I work, the better my luck is" So true!

A very successful farmer that I have always looked up to told me 43 years ago to always do the best job you can of whatever you do. He was talking about grain farming and expanding as you get opportunities. He said if you are one of the best farmers in your area, people will notice and when they want to sell or rent land they will come to you and ask you if you would rent their land. Farmers are a proud bunch and seeing their land that is so important to them farmed well, the money from rent or sale is often secondary to them. If you have nice looking fields (nice even straight seed rows, rocks picked, marginal land improved and looking good, weeds gone, etc) that is one of the greatest sources of pride and satisfaction to them. It has worked exactly that way for me over my whole farming history. It has been a very rewarding life, in many other ways besides financially.
 

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He said if you are one of the best farmers in your area, people will notice and when they want to sell or rent land they will come to you and ask you if you would rent their land.
Thats not my experience at all. Where I farm, all the big farmers spend the winter whispering in widows ears trying to get their fingers on a quarter here or there. The people who own that land could care less how its farmed, just as long as the cheque arrives.

And the guy with the fanciest equipment gets to rent it usually. If you are driving 20 year old stuff forget about it. You dont look successful enough.
 

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I will not agree with this anymore. I used to say it never hurts to ask. There can be an exception to every rule. Example, a guy asks around for advice and takes none of th advice given. Why was he asking? To frustrate those he asked? Will they give advice next time he asks or be as willing help him out if he asks? Another example, you fairly well know the answer will be NO about leasing land but you figure it will never hurt to ask. You just helped cement that decision in their mind, NO!
Always be kind and never speak poorly of your neighbor. There are always worse neighbors. **** happens and may have just happened next you. It may be your chance to screw up next. We are not perfect.

Always, always be certain you can pay your debts. Crop insurance is wonderful tool for this. Contracts also help guarantee this. Never contract more than you can grow on a very bad year. Or be certain of an act of God clause. You never want to buy back a contract.
I see it differently. I don't mind if someone asks for my advice and I don't mind if they disregard it. I don't have all the answers and what works well for me may not be what works for someone else, There's always more than one way to skin a cat. An example, if asked whether a guy should go front or rear boom, I will say that I like rear boom and tell them why. If they then go out and buy a front boom, that's fine with me. It doesn't change my opinion of him (or rear vs front booms) and I would still give my honest opinion should he ask again. I actually had a customer several years ago ask me what kind of sprayer he should look at as he was thinking of getting his own. I suggested he look a good 'gator 854 or a 4720-30 JD but whatever you do DON'T get an Apache. Everyone that had run an Apache in this area had them literally come apart and followed it around with a welder. He went out and bought an Apache because he bought new and it was $40,000 cheaper than a deere. That's cool by me. It's none of my business and I still help him out when he has issues/questions. I don;t think people should be offended if someone asks for there opinion/advice and then they don't follow it. The key is that when that advice/opinion is given, it's backed up with WHY that advice/opinion is held so the guy asking can make an informed decision, not just expected to follow blindly.
 

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One of the BIGGEST challenges in ANY business, especially ones that require a multitude of hard assets like farming is being able to HONESTY distinguish between a need and a want and postpone the wants until they can be purchased for cash. .
 

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I haven't read this whole thing but what an appealing thread!

My words of wisdom....

You must be able to dream

Don't make plans, nothing goes as planned

It's like getting married, for better or for worse, and trust me it's likely easier to get a divorce

Make hay when the sun shines, this applies to everything farming, time is of the essence, use it to the best of your ability

Times will be tuff, don't sweat it because it could likely be worse

It's always better to go older and bigger as a combo whenever possible

Most important, be friendly with your neighbors but don't let them step on your toes, it's a fine line to walk

And best of luck!
 

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I probably fall under the class of "young gun", but I've always liked the advice, "Don't rush to get things done, it causes mistakes and can make it worse. Just work at it and it'll get done."

I know too many people who get all worked up when something doesn't go as quick or well as they planned(I know I'm guilty once in a while of this as well) and they blow their top. People that do this all the time are not fun to work with. Don't be one of these people. You'll save yourself a lot of grief.
 

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I know too many people who get all worked up when something doesn't go as quick or well as they planned(I know I'm guilty once in a while of this as well) and they blow their top. People that do this all the time are not fun to work with. Don't be one of these people. You'll save yourself a lot of grief.
We have an older neighbour here who has more patients that I could ever imagine. He always says, "It's work, get done what you can, but it will still be there tomorrow if you don't get it done." He has been very successful in his farming career and never broke a sweat.
 

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Example, a guy asks around for advice and takes none of the advice given. Why was he asking? To frustrate those he asked?
Here`s my opinion on this: Take it for what it`s worth!:wink:
If a person does not heed the advice you gave, it does not mean they did not use your advice to make their decision.
I like to get as much advice as I can gather, from as many different sources as possible, before making an important decision. Then I apply that advice to my own particular set of circumstances and come up with a decision that fits that.
It may not necessarily be the same conclusion that any of the advisers decided upon, but all of that advice was used and appreciated... if that makes sense.
 

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Another thing for ANY business be careful of is growth. It's been my observation over the years that businesses are like plants. The faster they grow, the sooner they die. You may not want your business to grow fast like an annual and only last a year, but you may also not want it to grow as slow as a redwood and last 800 years. Often when a business crashes and burns it's because it grew too fast. Slow and steady often wins the race when the race is a marathon rather than a sprint.
 

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Thats not my experience at all. Where I farm, all the big farmers spend the winter whispering in widows ears trying to get their fingers on a quarter here or there. The people who own that land could care less how its farmed, just as long as the cheque arrives.

And the guy with the fanciest equipment gets to rent it usually. If you are driving 20 year old stuff forget about it. You dont look successful enough.
Same here, the bigger they are the MORE successful in land lords eyes. Impossible to get noticed for small careful guy doing well. Envy alive and well.
 

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Same here, the bigger they are the MORE successful in land lords eyes. Impossible to get noticed for small careful guy doing well. Envy alive and well.
I have mixed opinions on this one, but the large operators are/were the ones viewed as more successful here. Many landowners are now living elsewhere and tend to solely hear of the new "high" rent payment and many seem to care little of stewardship. There are a few that do, but seem to be massively outnumbered. I've approached owners in the past about renting their land. I was asked if I can even take on more land with the old equipment I run.
 

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Although i'm in no position for words of wisdom, the thing that benefits me the most is being on friendly terms with the older farmers who have less than 10 years of farming till retirement. I've been referred by them even without asking or putting in a sales pitch.
 
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