Feed Lot

NOV 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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few basic questions: What is it that you aspire to do? When and how will you accomplish that? What are the skillsets you have or need to acquire? Who are the partners that can help? He says look to your mentors, education and past work experi- ence for answers. "Look at what you like to do and what you are good at. Where those two intersect is where you should spend most of your time and ener- gy. That's where the magic hap- pens," says Horne. "Then look at what is not on that list. You have two choices – if you can afford it, find a partner or employee, other- wise it's time to learn a new skill." One of the most valuable part- ners for the producer is a good fi- nancial advisor. "Very few people get into the beef business because they enjoy accounting or finance," says Horne. "Working with a finan- cial expert can help demystify the planning process." He encourages producers to use their first visit to a lender to pro- vide information rather than asking for money. "Review your plans and walk through your ideas. Get to know each other." He also recommends using the meeting as an opportunity to inter- view the lender. "Do they under- stand the business? Do they have ag expertise? Are they unbiased and willing to offer advice? Do they understand your geographical re- gion, economy, weather and mar- kets?" If the lender doesn't meet those criteria, Horne says, he might not be the right one for you. 22 FEED•LOT  November 2017 MANAGEMENT By Terri Queck-MaTzie GETTING OFF TO THE RIGHT START vice present of customer solutions for Farm Credit Services of Amer- ica (FCSAmerica) and Frontier Farm Credit, where he oversees the Young & Beginning Farmers and Ranchers program. More than 20 percent of Farm Credit's new loans made nationwide in 2016, almost $13 billion, were made to beginning farmers and ranchers. "Think through what you need and cre- ate a basic busi- ness plan that will cover all your bases." Horne says planning and preparation are key to survivability in the beef, or any other, busi- ness. "What separates most successful busi- ness leaders from the rest of the pack is their ability to make effec- tive decisions, consistently, over time. Many point to experience as their guide for decisions; for begin- ning farmers, the best replacement for experience is planning. A good business plan will serve as the guideline for decision-making for years to come. Decision-making can be tough in a crisis when emotions come into play. You need to be pre- pared for all options." A critical part of that plan is ensuring adequate cash on hand for emergencies or op- portunities. A business plan needs to outline cash flow projections and anticipate how various scenarios will play out financially. Horne suggests starting with a T he beef business is an ex- pensive enterprise. In all seg- ments of the industry, financial management acumen is at a premi- um. Staying profitable, year after year, is fraught with challenges. For the young or beginning rancher or feeder, accessing start- up cash can be the greatest hurdle. But there is help. Government, lending institution and extension programs add pieces to the puzzle and provide expertise to help the producer navigate financial waters, whether the situation involves start- ing from scratch or transitioning from one generation to another. "Success starts with simple, yet careful planning," says Carl Horne,

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