The tricky problem for today's economic scale farms is that they are large investments of dozens of millions of dollars, but small companies from a management standpoint.
Therefore, it's up to farmer-CEOs to assemble the talent team needed for success in an increasingly complex and risky environment, says Gregory Duerksen, President of Kincannon & Reed, a food, agribusiness and life sciences recruiting firm.
Duerksen explained the talent challenge at the 2014 Farm Futures Business Summit on Tuesday, delivering a presentation titled, "The War for Talent and What It Means for 21st Century Agriculture."
"The problem we are trying to solve is the mismatch between the old management and labor needs of crop farming versus current and future leadership and talent needs," Duerksen said. "The very nature of commodity crop farming is changing dramatically, so the talent we seek today has characteristics quite different than a generation or even a decade ago."
Duerksen said today's farmer must think and act like a modern CEO: nurture a superior and focused work ethic; have both a strategic and tactical perspective; understand and embrace the grey; develop a keen self-awareness; become both clever and wise; and be a strategic doer while simultaneously leading others.
Today's farmer must also think of new ways to make agriculture attractive to top talent. They are out there, Duerksen says, but they have alternatives, so farmers must be creative and competitive.
In addition to the details of what successful farm leadership entails, Duerksen addressed the pressing issues of succession planning, how to attract and retain top farming talent, and the future shape of crop farming.
Read more about his tips and suggestions here: Farmer CEOs Must Confront Challenge of Big Investment, Small Company