December 12, 2007

Contact: Anita Deming, CCE Essex County, 518-962-4810

10 Critical Decisions for Your Farm
Managing for Success Series Starts at 4 Sites in Early January

Northern New York � Which of these 10 critical decisions do you need to make for your farm?

1. What is your vision of the future in terms of continuing as a family farm business?
2. What actions are important to minimize risk by anticipating possible worst cases?
3. How will you groom young family members as part of your family farm?
4. What talents and experiences does the farm need for future success?
5. What employment opportunities will you offer to family members and what expectations will you have?
6. What will be the role of non-family employees, and what will they need to do their jobs?
7. Who will own the farm and farm business next, and how will ownership transfer?
8. Where might a strategy for selling come into play?
9. How will senior farmers move to sharing key decisions?
10. What will strengthen the family glue and keep you headed toward the family together?

North Country farmers will be helped to answer these 10 questions, developed by Dr. Patricia Frishkoff, who grew up on a dairy farm in Western New York and later founded Leadership in Family Enterprise, LLC,. as part of a three-part Managing for Success: Time for Change series in January. The series developed by the PRO-Dairy Program of Cornell University and offered by the Cornell Cooperative Extension offices of Northern New York will provide decision-making and financial records assessment skill training in four locations.

First Pioneer Farm Credit in Burrville will host programs on January 4, 15 and 22. The Cornell Cooperative Extension Learning Farm in Canton will host programs on January 9, 16, and 23. North Country Community College in Malone will host programs January 10, 17 and 24. Cornell Cooperative Extension in Plattsburgh will host programs January 11, 18 and 25.

The 10 am to 3 pm program series is a practical hands-on workshop that will provide participants with a workbook of resources, worksheets and presentation materials, and qualifies for Farm Service Agency Borrower Training credits.

Dairy and Livestock Educator Ronald Kuck with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County will teach the Problem Solving and Decision Making section of the series. He says, �You may know what you need to do, but not know the best process for getting it done. This series is all about adapting techniques and processes for you to achieve your goals and projects through a logical sequence of actions.�

Farm Business Management Educator Molly Ames of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County will teach on valuable communications tools. She says, �You and your farm need a plan for the future. This is your opportunity to put one in place while learning valuable management skills for today at the same time. The PRO-Dairy Managing for Success series has a proven track record of helping farmers achieve their personal and business goals.�

Kuck adds that many of the farmers who completed the program twenty years ago are still successfully farming today and have their mission statements posted in the milking parlor. He says, �This edition of the Managing for Success series is for the next generation of sons and daughters who are coming of age and are interested in getting back on the farm.�

Dairyman and Northern New York Agricultural Development Program Committeeman Doug Shelmidine of Sheland Farms, Belleville, NY, was one of those farmers completing past the Managing for Success program. He says, �This PRO-Dairy process of evaluating your farm and your skills is a good way to step back and look at how you are doing with the business and personally. It gives you the opportunity to see the trees in the forest, to identify the issues that are important to you and the path you need to get where you want to go.�

The first day of the series will provide training on problem solving, dealing with the challenges and opportunities of family-owned businesses, and building a compelling vision for your farm. Please register with your local Extension office by December 28 for this first session.

The second session of the series will include programs on short and long-term goal setting; on change, conflict and communication; and decision-making. Please register by January 8 for this session.

The third week�s programs will cover creating time for implementing plans, tactics and control measures; and leadership skills. Please register by January 15 for this session.

The instructors for the programs include educators with the Cornell PRO-DAIRY Program and NY FarmNet and NY FarmLink and Cornell Cooperative Extension farm business management and dairy nutrition specialists.

Pre-registration for the series is required. The fee is $50 for the first person per farm for the series, $30 for additional farm representatives; some sites are also offering a $20 per session rate. Call your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office for more information. This series is made possible by the New York Farm Viability Institute, the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, the PRO-Dairy Program at Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program. # # #