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Recent Posts

Look Back to Look Ahead, An Evaluation Process


Look Back to Look Ahead

This is the time of year when we look back and assess….yields, machinery needs, soil fertility, livestock status, marketing results, profit and loss.  We are so good at evaluating business production that we often forget to evaluate the people who do all of the work!

Many on the farm dread the word “evaluation,” believing it will be nothing but an “everything I’ve done wrong” session. Instead, a really good evaluation process can leave those involved feeling energized, respected and motivated. With a clear purpose to appreciate and improve, it’s good for the individuals and for the business.

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It's Your Job...


Parents: It’s Your Job!

I often hear from the senior generation, “You know Jolene, when I die, I just want two things: I want all of our children to get along and I want everyone to be happy.” Then they give a gentle sigh and smile with complete expectation their goals will be met by the work of others. I understand they want to joyfully give to the important people in their lives. In short, they want to please others. 

But, there comes a time when the pleasing, the giving, the suggesting, the sacrificing, the silence, the compromising or perhaps the “giving in” are harmful to oneself, the “community of recipients” and the family business. It’s time to step back and look at the players, the purpose, the process and the outcome. 

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Boundaries and In-Laws

Boundaries for the In-Laws


A daughter-in-law recently shared, “I have wonderful in-laws and my husband and I also work in the family business.  We are around his family five, sometimes six, long days a week. Then we attend the same church service on Sunday morning and my mother-in-law gets upset if the whole family doesn’t go to her house for Sunday family dinner. I’m wondering when enough is enough?” 

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Don't be like the Donner Party

donner-lake-1928175_1920.jpgGood Times and Bad Times: Don’t Be Like the Donner Party

Do you remember the story of the Donner Party?  They were the Pioneer Family that partied a little too hard on their way to California and got caught in a snowstorm in the mountains where many members died. This same trap can exist in a Family Farm Businesses.  This can be another one of the common mistakes Farm Business owners make; failing to build communication and meeting skills during the good times. 

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With Family, More not Less Must Be In Writing


When working with family, more, not less, needs to be in writing!  

Perhaps you’ve heard this expression: “The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory.” That’s especially true when working in a family business. In fact, I’d add one more sentence:  “If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist!” 

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I Love 'em, But Why So Much Trouble When We Work Together.

Family Farm Business: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

158H.jpgYour Daughter Claire and her Husband Tim have been married for a little less than a year. Tim is a really great guy, he treats Claire like a Queen, and you’ve never seen her happier.  Tim has just graduated UC Davis with a business degree in Agricultural Management.  You get along great with Tim and you have a position on the Family Farm Business that you feel would be the perfect fit for him.  You hire him, and he begins to manage operations on the Family Farm.  Things are going well, and six months down the road a disagreement erupts about his decision making process and how it will affect the yield in next Spring’s crop.  You try to discuss it with him, but tensions escalate into a heated argument and accusations fly from both sides.  Both parties leave upset and angry. The following week you have a family ski vacation planned in the mountains with Tim and Claire.  You’re a little nervous after the eruption last week, but you have a great time skiing together and enjoying the quality family time.  On the drive back to the valley you talk to your wife about how much you love Tim, and what a great time you had on the ski vacation.  You are left wondering what the real issue is back in the Farm Business.  You and Tim have never run into conflict before, so why now?

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Thanksgiving Means: Giving Thanks!


Thanksgiving Means Giving Thanks!

…"Heck no! Why should I support the work of the farm when no one appreciates me?"

…. "Respect? No! Expect! I'm just expected to go along with everything the farm wants or needs. What about what I need? What our family needs? What about filling me in on what's going on?   What about my opinion and ideas? What about appreciating me?"  

…"I work off the farm, providing health insurance and income for our family. Then I come home, take care of the family and work on the farm, for free! Not once have I heard a 'Thank you,' or 'What can we do to help you?'"

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Don't have a plan yet? What are you waiting for!

Farm Business Planning: It Doesn’t Have To Be Scary!

147H.jpgHaving a Farm Business Plan is the key to long-term Farmer success.  Farm Business Planning may appear to be a pretty big undertaking, but the good news is there are plenty of resources out there to help your plans go from dreams to reality. Here at Barrett Financial Services, we specialize in working with a team of carefully curated professionals to help our clients put together Farm Business Plans so that they don’t have to figure it all out on their own.  


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