Danny Klinefelter is the director of The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP). In addition, he serves as executive secretary for
the Association of Agricultural Production Executives (AAPEX). He is also a Professor and Extension Economist with Texas
AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M University. In addition to his academic career, he spent ten years in commercial banking and the Farm Credit System.
Tools for Managing Your Farm Business
The following is a list of articles written by Danny Klinefelter of The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers. We are providing them to you as a valuable resource for managing your family business. Click on the title to read the entire article.
- Alternative Farm Business Arrangements
Those who want to see their farms continue as full-time businesses beyond the current generation must continue to explore new ways of doing business. The possibilities are limited only by imagination.
- Autopsies & Management Improvements
We all make mistakes and they are necessary in order to grow and improve. The problem is when we don’t learn from them. We need to frequently remind ourselves that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.
- Being Prepared to Borrow
These twelve questions lay out a framework
for developing the documentation needed in a loan package or business plan.
The first six should really be no brainers; but, it is amazing
how superficially they are often addressed.
- Benchmark your Performance
It is hard to get better if you don’t know what your
strengths and weaknesses are. The function of a competitive market is to drive the economic
return to the average producer to breakeven through supply and demand
responses. Your job is to stay out of
the back of the pack.
- Budget Monitoring & Analysis
The most successful managers spend a great deal of time on monitoring
and analyzing performance. By staying on top of things, they are much more
likely to spot problems and opportunities before it’s too late.
- Causes of Farm & Ranch Failure
There have been a number of studies that examine the characteristics of farmers
who have failed or experienced financial trouble. This overview deals
with the characteristics observed most frequently.
- Contingency Planning
The real difference between the best and the rest of the herd doesn’t lie
just in planning, but in contingency planning. Top managers spend more time
thinking about “what if” scenarios and developing contingency plans.
- Evaluating Producers' Value Added Business Plans
This article looks at just a few of the
questions that need to be considered in analyzing producers’ value added
- Paying Family Members
A major source of friction in the family farm businesses focuses on
compensation. There are a number of complex and often conflicting issues involved,
ranging from tax considerations to parental concerns.
- Peer Advisory Groups
Peer advisory groups can be a cost effective way to help farm managers address the need for continual exposure to different perspectives and
new ideas, as well as providing a way to continue the never ending process of
finding ways to become better managers.
- Staying in Front of the Pack
As a business grows and becomes more complex, a primary competitive
differentiator will be the commitment, involvement, and contributions from
employees throughout the organization.
- Successful Development & Transition on Family Farms
Successor development and
management transition are parts of a larger whole. Neglecting any one of them
can undermine everything you are trying to accomplish.
- Ten Best Management Practices
This isn’t a top 10 list; but, they are things that any producer can do
but that 95 percent of producers don’t. If you’re looking for an edge or ways to
get better, these would be a good place to start.
- The 5 Percent Difference
Some may question the ability to generate higher yields and at the same
time have lower costs. However, it occurs frequently. The possibilities and the examples are endless;
but, there are always ways to do better and it comes down to management and
being willing to change..
- Thoughts & Observations on Succeeding in Agriculture
This article includes some of the authors own observations as well as some of his favorite
quotes from Peta Alexander, Jim Collins, Peter Drucker, Wayne Gretsky, Tom Peters,
Mark Twain, and Jack Welch. You will find them insightful as well as thought provoking.
- Twenty Five Attributes of the 21st Century Farm Executive
It’s clear that being a top producer, focusing on controlling costs, keeping good
records and having a sound marketing program are all essential to being a
good manager; but, these characteristics alone aren’t sufficient to describe
those who are setting the standard for those who want to remain competitive
and successful in the future. This article discusses twenty five
attributes which set the top managers apart.
- Victimism Can Be a Crippling Disease
The future of agriculture lies with those producers who
overcome bad weather, bad prices and bad luck largely by being better
- Where is Farming Headed?
Over the next 20 years, the Food and Drug Administration, the
Environmental Protection Agency and the Homeland Security Agency will have
more impact on how we farm than will the USDA.
- Working Together
Good communication and interpersonal relationships are imperative to
overall business performance and sustainability. Most managers understand
the need to improve various facets of their business management practices.