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Saving The Family Farm - Schozophrenic Farming

Sometimes when you’re in a heated conversation with another person, you feel like you’re talking to a brick wall. They aren’t listening to what you’re saying because in their mind, they’re always right.

Andy Junkin is a farmer, mediator, and coach for farm families. He says farms fail when a family doesn’t have a method to listen to each other, deal with problems, and get things back on track. He calls this “schizophrenic farming.”

"One person talks and while the other person is talking, the first person is not listening to the second person and what he has to say or she has to say. Instead they’re listening to the voice in their brain coming back with a rebuttal," says Junkin. "And the problem we have in farming these days, is that we’re listening to our own thoughts instead of listening to our business partners, and that’s leading to a lot of dysfunctional decisions being made."

As a result, the farm operation is pulled in different directions, and you get nowhere fast. Junkin says for the farm to move in one direction, communication is the key. It’s important to have regular meetings where everyone involved thinks outside the box.

"I like to call it 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. So, I think 1% of the time, you’ve got to sit down, brainstorm, and kick around everything outside the box. But the rest of the time outside of those meetings, you’ve got to keep things as consistent as possible. If you want to change things, you bring it up in the next meeting and say, hey I want to do it this way, it’s just a little bit different, what do you guys think, and ask for permission before you do it," he says. "By doing that, you can have a discussion instead of having an argument a week later."

Hear more of how Andy helps farm families work together by listening to my podcast with him

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