Who's Asking the Questions: You or Your Farm's Financial Adviser?

Who's Asking the Questions: You or Your Farm's Financial Adviser?

How to get the most out of your farm's financial adviser

This summer, have you been working with an agronomist on your field decisions or with a herd health specialist on livestock nutrition decisions? As you work with an adviser, the goal is for them to help you make the best decisions possible – that will have the best results for your farm.

Maybe they ask a series of questions to help get to the root of the problem. As you work through a spraying decision or feed choice with them, their questions might bring up different aspects of the issue that you hadn't thought of before, or in a particular way.

Questions bring new ideas: How to get the most out of your farm's financial adviser

Then those questions and ideas can help generate more knowledge within your operation. The new thoughts can bring "break-through" moments that give insight on what you're facing right now in your operation.

With the challenges farmers are encountering in the current ag economic climate, are your financial advisers and accountant bringing you new ideas? Are they asking questions that will ultimately help you improve your operation and get the best results?

Or do they just do what they are supposed to do, at a minimum, but never really help you grow or improve? Do you have to ask them all the questions? Or do they bring up questions and ideas with the intent of helping your operation develop?

Questions bring new ideas

When your adviser has your operation's best interest in mind, they bring ideas and concepts that make a difference in your operation. That's what happens when their primary goal is to help you take your farm to the next level.

Sometimes they ask you a question in a certain way that makes you stop and think differently about your financial strategy, or the way you're doing tax planning. If they aren't asking you questions like that, they aren't really doing their job. They aren't bringing you the most that they could be from the area you've hired them to help with.

Then you might feel like you need to be sure you're asking them all the right questions. That can be frustrating as you might feel that your main expertise lies in producing a great crop or livestock herd – not necessarily in the financial management of your farm or in tax planning.

Ask yourself:

• Do my financial adviser and accountant ask me questions about my current financial practices, to help my farm improve?

• Do they bring new ideas and knowledge to my farm – and help me apply the concepts?

• Do I feel like my farm's best interest is their first priority, and that they are truly working on my farm's team?

The opinions of Darren Frye are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

Find more information and resources on farm financial advising at www.waterstreet.org.

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