Vice President’s Message
By Bruce Shultz
One thing that unites us all is the fickleness of the weather. It seems that spring always brings either too much moisture when we need it in the field or not enough once the crops are in the ground.
During May and June, I had the pleasure of calling National Farmers members across the country to tell them about our AgProfit Strategies seminars and mentoring program. AgProfit Strategies is targeted toward conventional producers who have filed 10 or fewer Schedule F tax returns. It’s made possible by a grant from the USDA and NIFA.
The purpose of my calls were to drum up support and enroll members to serve as mentors for AgProfit Strategies.
There are several components to these seminars:
1. 36 seminars in 15 states during the three-year grant period.
2. An online training program developed during the pandemic for those producers preferring to complete the seminar on the AgProfit Strategies website.
3. A mentoring program to help less experienced producers.
Producers can earn $250 for attending an in-person seminar or by completing the online course focused on either grain, dairy, or cattle producers.
Our goal is to increase profitability and improve the success and sustainability of beginning conventional cattle, dairy, and grain producers and attract new beginning producers to conventional farming.
We have speakers from the University of Minnesota Center for Farm Financial Management, our own marketing and risk management presenters, lenders, crop and dairy insurance speakers, veterinarians and nutritionists, and more.
As we all know, a farmer wears many hats and the goal is to expose as many elements of being successful as we can to participants. This is where the mentoring program can truly help.
Less experienced producers come from a variety of backgrounds; some are working with an older generation in their family and some are brand new with no previous ties to farming.
The mentoring program matches a mentor with a less-seasoned producer with similar operations. The mentor invites that producer for a tour of their farm, showing how they do things and why. They keep in touch as more questions arise. Mentees receive $350, while mentors earn $400 for the program.
I believe this is a way to pass on one’s experiences and knowledge to the next generation of farmers. There is no better teacher than real-world experiences. If you are interested in being a mentor please contact me at 406-750-1776. You can also learn more on nationalfarmers.com. Click on the AgProfit Strategies link.
National Farmers is expanding into areas we have not done business in for a while. This past month, the livestock department has added a new employee in Illinois— Carissa McCulley. If you have cattle in Illinois or know someone who does, please contact her and see what Carissa can do to help market those cattle.
We are also moving grain in Montana after a long hiatus. We have just completed a couple of contracts on organic wheat. The biggest deal, which I just signed this morning, will facilitate a group of producers to deliver their grain to a seed plant where the wheat will be clean toted and shipped to a mill outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
This is a three-year contract with grain moving to the seed plant monthly and trucks going east weekly. This is a great example of how National Farmers can move grain collectively bargained to the end user and not a multinational corporation.
National Farmers continues to grow and we are moving more milk, head of livestock, and bushels of grain than we have in a long time. The commitment of our staff and members is what makes us strong. Remember, pooling our production gives us a greater say in the marketplace.