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6 Things to Consider When Farm Succession Planning

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According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the family farm is going strong. Some 98% of the nation’s farms are family farms, and these operations are responsible for 88% of the production.

farm succession planning

However, things may be far less rosy if you’re a farmer who is hoping to pass your farming operation on to the next generation. As Open Advisors notes, the statistics are sobering. Only 30% of family farms are still operating by the second generation. A mere 12% survive into the third generation. 

While nearly 70% of family farm operators expect their operation to continue as a family business after they’re gone, only 23% have created a formal succession plan. That’s especially worrisome when the average age of the American farmer is now 57.5 years. It increased yet again with the USDA’s 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Although establishing a succession plan may be an uncomfortable task, having an effective plan is one of the best things you can do to pave the way for your farm’s future success. 

What Is Farm Succession Planning?

Succession planning is about figuring out how to pass the baton to the next generation. As Investopedia explains, it involves creating a plan for the smooth transfer of the leadership, and in many cases, the ownership, of a company or business so that when the current owners leave, retire, or pass away, the company can continue to thrive. 

Effective succession plans generally involve training opportunities for rising managers so that they can hone their skills and develop a thorough understanding of the company. They also tend to contain financial plans that address the current and future financial needs of all involved parties. 

Farm Succession Planning Versus Estate Planning


What about estate planning? Succession planning is vital for business owners. Estate planning is essential for everyone. As NerdWallet explains, estate planning is the process of deciding who will handle or inherit your various assets if you’re incapacitated or you pass away. It generally involves things like wills, medical care directives, and retirement plans.

Business ownership, land, and other assets that are critical to your agricultural operation’s success are likely to be part of your estate. That means that elements of estate planning should be a part of your farm succession plan. But traditional estate planning won’t be enough for farm owners.

Succession planning requires thinking about a bigger picture, so there are more things that you’ll need to consider. 

Things to Consider When Creating Your Farm Succession Plan

Farming isn’t an easy business. There’s much more to it than most people realize. The same is true of farm succession planning. With the huge variations in operation size and circumstance, trying to put any type of cookie-cutter solution in place would be foolish.

The differences in state laws and the potential for changes in both the federal and state laws that impact businesses, financial instruments, and inheritance matters mean that it’s best to find a team of professionals who you can trust to work with you to help you shape and maintain your customized succession plan. What types of things do you need to consider?

Your Retirement

When you pass the farm to the next generation, you’re giving up a source of income. In some cases, you may also choose to hand over the homestead. You’ll need to have a plan to replace those things. Investing in stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles is one way to create a retirement portfolio.

Your plan may also call for you to retain the income from assets like:

  • cell towers
  • billboards
  • natural gas
  • rental properties
  • and more

    So that you can support yourself during your retirement.

You may also want to be sure that you have proper coverage for long-term care. If you don’t, you run the risk that nursing homes or other care facilities could end up with key chunks of the agricultural business that you worked hard to build and intended to pass to your heirs.

Your Heirs

Do you have a successor who’s capable of taking on the task of running the farm? Do they want the job? Don’t assume. Communicate.

Talk with your planned successor and make sure that they’re on the same page. If they aren’t yet actively involved in the farm’s operations, be sure to check periodically that they’re still interested in taking over at some point in the future. After all, circumstances, and plans, can change. 

What if you have more than one potential successor who wants to take an active role in the operation? That can create an even trickier situation.

Can they share responsibilities and work together? If not, can you separate the operation in a way that allows them to operate independently and still provide the opportunity for a viable agribusiness? 

What about any nonfarming heirs?

How can you acknowledge them while still ensuring that the business that you’re leaving to your farming heirs still has the resources that it needs to function successfully?

Are there nonfarming assets like life insurance that you could use for them? 

Be prepared for hard feelings. It’s not uncommon for nonfarming heirs to feel like they’re being treated unfairly or receiving less. After all, the land, equipment, livestock, and other assets needed for even a small agricultural operation typically have a high cash value, and many business-savvy farmers also try to leave their farming heirs enough cash to help with inheritance taxes. Again, clear communication may help. 

The Management Transition

No one is born knowing how to run a business. Even those who grow up working in a family business that they love and plan to eventually helm can have dangerous blind spots if they don’t actively train for the position that they will eventually hold. 

Once you’ve identified your successor or successors, it’s time to talk with them and begin creating a plan for how management of the business will eventually transition to them. As Iowa State University indicates, you’ll need to consider elements of both power distribution and training:

  • Decision-making should be collaborative. While there may be limits, always deferring to senior members for all decisions should be avoided.
  • Developing management skills in the incoming generation should be a priority.
  • Encourage cross-training to hone skills and gain experience.
  • Normalize routine communications that keep everyone in the loop.
  • Schedule regular, non-threatening evaluations to provide team members with useful feedback.

As your successors provide management input and labor while they learn the business, you’ll also need to address the issue of compensation. Cash is one way to compensate someone for their time and efforts. In this situation, compensation could also come in the form of equity in the business. 

Minimizing Tax Burdens

Farmers are more than twice as likely to receive a bill for federal estate taxes than nonfarmers, according to MyFarmLife.com. It can be a devastating blow at a delicate time. Using gifting, trusts, and other tools to help minimize the tax burdens on your business can help facilitate a successful transfer.

Did you know a farmer is twice as likely to commit suicide than a war veteran? Get help now. Here’s 8 free farmer suicide hotlines & resources.

Working with a team of financial professionals who understand your goals and concerns can help you establish an effective plan. Once established, even the best plans will need to be reviewed and updated periodically.

Life’s Uncertainties

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” John Lennon is just one of many people who gets credit for that statement. No matter how carefully you plan, you cannot plan for everything. Families grow through marriages and births. Unexpected illnesses and deaths occur. Divorces happen. 

Make it a point to review your succession plan periodically. If something that demands action occurs between reviews, make an appointment with the appropriate professional to go in and make the necessary adjustments.

Having a plan that’s up to date protects you, your heirs, and your business.

Putting Together Your Plan

Farm succession planning is an intimidating task. It’s complex and emotional. However, it’s also something that you can do to help set the stage for your business’s future success. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, the High Plains Journal reports that there are three areas where professional guidance can be critical to the creation of an effective farm succession plan:

  • Identifying the financial needs of current and future generations.
  • Ensuring a smooth financial transition.
  • Balancing the needs and expectations of both farming and nonfarming heirs.

When you reach out to an experienced farm succession planner in your state for advice, that professional could be an attorney, insurance agent, financial planner, certified personal accountant, or some other experienced business professional. However, you may find that you need a team of professionals to get the best results. How do you decide who to work with? As your filling each slot on your team, look for a reliable expert with a solid reputation. Choose someone you like and respect that you’re comfortable working with. Be sure that they’re familiar with the challenges of estate and succession planning for agriculture.

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8 Free Farmer Suicide Hotline & Resources

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Scroll to the bottom for farmer suicide hotline and mental health resources

Farmers are the pillar of American society; however, the pillar is faltering. Without the support, we will not get the most basic necessity in life – the food on our table.

farmer suicide hotline and resources

American farming has become dependent on technology and this technology isn’t compensating for the increasing cost of land and labor. Even if America were to outsource all of its farming to a country that has cheap labor, experts agree that the idea is bound to doom.

The loss is already evident because the economic benefit from farming doesn’t go to farmers and consumers. Instead, it is the large companies who’re benefiting from the improvement in technology.

As a result, farmers continue to suffer and some try to adapt to a different lifestyle. Every year, 50,000 jobs are available in agriculture but there aren’t enough graduates to fill such vacancies.

The hectic lifestyle leads to mental health problems and stress. Farmers and ranchers continue to burden themselves and the trend may likely continue in the near future.

Farmer Suicide Rates

According to the research by the University of Iowa, farmers are almost five times likely to kill themselves than people working in other occupations. The average occupational suicide rate of all classified occupations is only 0.16 per 100,000 individuals compared to the farmer suicide rate of 0.59 per 100,000 individuals. In fact, a farmer is twice as likely to commit suicide than a war veteran.

Experts suggest that the changing climate, high agricultural tariffs, increasing debts, and isolation are the root cause of the problem. When you speak to a farmer, they will tell you that they’re losing income, piling debts, and no one listens to them.

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us farm solvency rates

Luckily, it’s not the end of the road. In recent years, experts have found much more about how to support farming communities. The government and private sector have come forward to devise special therapy programs for the agricultural sector. There are renewed efforts to provide subsidies and grants to farmers who’re in debt.

Help Is On the Way

If you’re a farmer living under stress and mental health issues, there are more resources to help you than you may have imagined.

Before listing some of the important resources where you can get help, let’s briefly look at the aid that US farmers are getting from their fellow citizens.

In 2019, the farming industry received an unprecedented aid of $22 Billion from the government and private sector. While the amount was the largest in history, it’s also heartening to know that the aid has generally increased every year since the last two decades.

To put it into perspective, the 2019 aid is more than the combined aid to the US auto industry during the 2008 crisis. While the aid to the auto industry was intensely debated in Congress, no one really asked about the farming aid. It’s because Americans have begun to realize that farmers are the mainstay of the US economy.

A good chunk of this aid is allocated to addressing farmer mental health issues. The aid distribution makes sense because farmers usually live in areas with a shortage of mental health professionals and healthcare facilities. It’s also important because a huge majority of farmers believe mental health is the biggest danger facing the industry.

Besides getting moral support, farmers also get financial aid and technical assistance from government agencies such as NRCS. The Cover Crops is another highly successful program that provides incentives and subsidies to farmers. You can also get training, education, and grants from the USDA Extention Service for farmers.

Farmer Suicide Hotline & Resources

To protect yourself from harm and lead a healthy lifestyle, contact the following agencies:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. You can call them at 1-800-950-6264 (NAMI). You may also visit one of the nearby NAMI centers at your convenience.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The network has approximately 160 crisis centers around the nation. You can call 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) anytime 24/7 to receive immediate help at a nearby facility free of cost.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” for help by sending a message to 741741. In under five minutes, a trained counselor will get back to you and craft a plan to deal with the situation. You can cell them for any type of anxiety and mental health condition.
  • Bring Change to Mind: It’s an educational foundation, which offers help by encouraging everyone to talk to others about their problem. The group-focused approach has proven immensely useful. Pick up the phone and text BC2M to 741741 to get started.
  • Local Health Hotline: Your State-specific helplines are also a useful source to get help. For instance, Iowa Concern Hotline 1-800-447-1985 offers round-the-clock services related to health issues.
  • SAMHSA: Call 1-800-662-4357 (HELP) to talk to a representative at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The national helpline can help you get free treatment at one of its adult mental health treatment centers.
  • American Psychological Association: Visit www.apa.org to find a suitable psychologist in your area. You can browse the help page to talk to an expert.
  • Local Therapists: You can also locate a local therapist by browsing the online directory of a useful website such as PsychologyToday.com and InclusiveTherapist.com.

Here is a short but extremely inspirational video of an Ohio farmer, Nathan Brown, which will certainly help you take action.

You should understand that people and the government is ready to help. Don’t give up hope yet because it doesn’t hurt to tell your problems to someone who cares. Pick up the phone and take a step towards a better future

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2021 Crop Report

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The 2021 crop is going to be very interesting as inventory stocks on many turf, forage, and cover crop seed species are at all time lows.  There will certainly be a lot of jockeying for position on cleaners by a lot of companies for a lot of different species. 

The Oregon seed industry will be working diligently to try to get as much seed out as quickly as possible but there will be issues. 

Distributors can help by trying to give suppliers accurate demand schedules.  When palletized seed loads are slow to ship, the warehouse will clog up quickly which in turn slows down seed that can be moved in from the farm.  Once the cleaning warehouses see slow movement they will move on to a different species, so it is important to give your supplier an accurate time frame of when you need product and then receive the product on the agreed upon schedule.

Production fields looked rough going into the winter and many fields didn’t look a whole lot better coming out of it.  The damage last summer/fall from voles was real and devastating, in some areas, leaving fields lacking in plant population.  Below is the current status of the drought situation in Oregon.  Not a bright outlook when we are at the period moisture is critical for seed development. 

However to really understand how the crop is looking we need to examine the rainfall over the growing year.  Below is a table that shows the precipitation in Salem Oregon over the last five crop years.

When looking at precipitation there are two critical periods for seed production, fall and spring.  The rainfall that is received between November- February is largely irrelevant as the grass plants are generally in winter dormancy and not actively growing. 

The Fall critical period is more important for tall fescue than other grasses as the precipitation is needed to develop new tillers prior to vernalization. 

Seed yield from tall fescue can be estimated by the number of new tillers heading into the middle of January.  The Spring critical period is important as that is the precipitation that ultimately allows the seed crop to develop.

So when you look at the 2020-21 averages compared to the five-year average you will see that during the Fall critical period we only received 45% of the average rainfall.  That spells potential bad news for the tall fescue crop. Then when we look at the Spring critical period we are only at 48% of the five-year average with 6 days left in May.  These two deficits are likely to lead to a smaller crop than average on the dryland acres which constitutes the bulk of the Willamette Valley production. 

There is however a glimmer of hope as much of the rainfall in May has been concentrated during the third week.  This should provide enough moisture in the soil for the tall fescue crop to get thru pollination and keeps the perennial ryegrass from getting too stressed at the current head emergence stage.  Average to above average precipitation in the first half of June is needed for the perennial ryegrass crop to develop and to maximize the tall fescue crop.

The good news is that the seed that we will harvest should be cleaner than normal as growers have had a plethora of dry days for spot spraying out contaminants.  I cannot recall when the last year was that I saw so many spot spraying crews out in March and April removing annual ryegrass and other troublesome weeds from the field.  The Oregon farmer has really stepped up and is spending money to make the best out of a potentially bad situation.

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February 2021 Winter Storm

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Here at GO Seed, we just had our power and water restored due to the winter storm (11:12 am on Friday, 2/19/21), but we can’t stop thinking about all the people, cattle, and crops being devastated by this cold weather throughout the country.

Repairs are happening in neighborhoods throughout Salem, Oregon. Here’s a shot one of our Team Members, Risa DeMasi, captured.

Credit: Risa DeMasi, GO Seed

It’s too early to tell the losses farmers will face from this weather for a few weeks, but we did some research online using various sources and weather archives to see when the last time Texas experienced something similar and what the effects were on crops.

Previous Texas Winter Storms

Texas has experienced severe winter storms and below freezing temperatures before, most recently in:

Another cold front was in 1989, which saw the end of the cold war and the beginning of the cold wave, when temperatures hit 1°F just before the Christmas holiday in Texas.

Table 1. Recorded Temperatures in Dallas, Texas

TemperaturesDecember 23, 1989February 17, 2021
Minimum Temp1.0 °F3.0 °F
Mean Temp9.4 °F10.3 °F
Maximum Temp23.2 °F19.0 °F
Mean Dew Point-7.7 °F-0.9 °F
See the DataSee the Data

Here’s how Chief Meterologist Mike Clay remembers that day.

My TV station was on I-35 south of Waco. I remember our lobby was full of people stranded from cars that had broken down, and they walked to the station because they saw the tower and lights. There were whole families with kids just sitting in our lobby, just two days before Christmas.

Read more

The winter storm of 1989 devastated the Florida citrus industry and extended up and down the southeast coast of the United States, but the coldest temperatures relative to normal were farther west in Texas.

Credit: National Weather Service Wilmington, North Carolina

This storm broke all-time snowfall records in several parts of Texas and brought with it unprecedented cold temperatures. 

Credit: National Weather Service Wilmington, North Carolina

What Happened To Crops & Trees?

The citrus industry took a majority of the losses due to the winter freeze of 1989. Some estimate it was in excess of $60 million dollars ($127 million in 2021). The low temperatures destroyed about 24,000 of the existing 35,700 acres of citrus in 1989.

Due to the severe freeze experienced, Texas did not contribute to the U.S. citrus export in 1990. It wasn’t until 1993-1994 when trees began to produce.

Table 2. Annual production, utilization and value of U.S grapefruit by area for 1988-1992.

SeasonProduction*Fresh Utilization*Processed Utilization*Percent FreshValue ($1,000)
1988-89192,000155,60036,40081.0425,107
1989-9080,00064,20015,80080.2514,162
1990-9100000
1991-922,6002,6000100.00983
*in tons

Sources: 1993 Texas Citrus Tree Inventory Survey, Texas Department of Agriculture, USDA. 1989 Texas Citrus Tree Inventory Survey, Texas Department of Agriculture, USDA Citrus Estimates, Final Estimates for 1981-82 Crop through 1986-87 Crop, NASS, USDA. Texas Citrus Handbook, Texas Cooperative Extension, The Texas A&M University System. Texas Citrus, June1, 1994, TASS, USDA.

Table 3. Annual production, utilization and value of U.S oranges by area for 1988-1992.

SeasonProduction*Fresh Utilization*Processed Utilization*Percent FreshValue ($1,000)
1988-8978,62566,13012,49584.1113,932
1989-9051,21328,17823,03555.028,256
1990-9100000
1991-921,2751,2750100.00431
*in tons

Sources: 1993 Texas Citrus Tree Inventory Survey, Texas Department of Agriculture, USDA. 1989 Texas Citrus Tree Inventory Survey, Texas Department of Agriculture, USDA. Citrus Estimates, Final Estimates for 1981-82 Crop through 1986-87 Crop, NASS, USDA. Texas Citrus Handbook, Texas Cooperative Extension, The Texas A&M University System. Texas Citrus, June1, 1994, TASS, USDA.

What Happens Next?

Monty Dozier, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension program director for disaster assessment and recovery, said he anticipates the county emergency boards getting together across the state early next week to assess the damage. Estimates are in the high millions to possibly billions in damages due to frozen water pipes, equipment repairs, and supple chain disruptions.

Row crop injury is expected.

What Can You Do?

If you’re one of the fortunate people experiencing a mild winter and can afford to help. Here’s several organizations on the ground helping our friends in Texas.

Here’s insane pictures of how some people are living in Texas.

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Overcoming Tragedy Update- The Rebuild

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So it has now been a little over a year since our office fire, and you are probably wondering how things are coming along.

To put it bluntly the whole thing has been a giant pain in the ass that I wouldn’t wish on anybody. Well maybe a few people, but they aren’t going to read this…

We hired an architectural firm back in 2018 but it took until late March for them to draw up the plans. We then submitted them to the county for approval and had to do the back and forth of re-drawing and re-submitting the plans until they finally were approved by the county in August. We had already hired a construction firm so they were able to get started with the build in early September. They told us it would be 90 days, we shall see.

The biggest challenge has been all the extra costs that we have had to incur to bring the building up to code for earthquake standards, and ADA accessibility. Our policy allowed for $10,000 to bring up to code, but that probably won’t even cover the wheelchair ramp that we are required to install. The ramp needs to be a hard, permanent surface but the placement requires changes to drainage, etc. These are costs that we didn’t properly budget for when we purchased our insurance policy and are probably something that you should consider when renewing your policy.

My biggest nemesis is the dreaded change order. Simple things can add up, especially if it involves several nested subcontractors. For example, the sink that we were putting in the utility room was too far from the septic system to get proper drain flow so it had to be moved to the other side of the room. To move it required a plumbing change, a new cabinet, and a new countertop.

The countertop guy was a sub-contractor for the cabinet guy. So the cabinet guy took the countertop cost and added 20% for his “profit & overhead”. Our building contractor took the cabinet contractor’s bid and add 20% for their “profit & overhead”. So a simple 3 foot cabinet with a quartz countertop comes in at slightly over $1600. Too many change orders and costs get away from you very quickly. So if you have to go thru this process, think it through very carefully and eliminate as many surprises as possible.

Overcoming Tragedy

Seeing the building come together is exciting but also very terrifying as we will soon be moving back. I hate moving! We also need to think about furnishings as we are pretty much starting from scratch. We will soon have a new “home” but we need to bring back the touches that make it feel homey without breaking the bank. Once it is finally over I am sure we will look back and appreciate once again the workplace that we will have built.

To read the original blog article, Overcoming Tragedy, The Fire at Grassland Oregon, click HERE.

Watch a video of our completed office.

For a printable, PDF version of this blog, click below.

Rebuild Update.PDF

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Clover variety with uber nitrogen fixation turns some heads

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Legumes have long been known to fix nitrogen. But whether that nitrogen is transferred to the field and made available to future crops is a question that begs an answer. That answer may come soon.
New varieties bred to enhance nitrogen production, and innovative management practices aimed at keeping the plants on the field late into the spring, could reduce the need for other nitrogen sources.

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7 Tips for Making the Most of Prevent Plant Cover Crops

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As the planting deadlines for corn and soybeans pass, an unprecedented planting season has many producers in the Midwest looking into prevent plant options. USDA’s recent announcement on 2019’s final haying and grazing dates being adjusted from Nov. 1 to Sept. 1, and eligibility being extended to include silage, haylage and baleage, has opened the door to better utilization of prevent plant cover crops.

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Time is your enemy – It’s time to GO

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In the last 30 years, agricultural producers have made substantial efficiency improvements. According to the recent Food Dialogues Sustainability Report, US soybean producers have decreased water use by 33 percent, greenhouse gas emissions by 44 percent and soil loss by 47 percent – all while improving yields by 46 percent. They weren’t alone, with corn producers improving yields by 64 percent, while decreasing greenhouse emission by 36 percent, soil loss by 68% and energy to produce a bushel of corn by 44 percent.

From beef and dairy sectors to pigs and poultry, agriculture is moving in the right direction.

But there’s room for improvement

Continuous research into improved management practices, modern technology and innovative plant breeding has given the industry the tools it needs to become more efficient while protecting the environment for a sustainable future. However, there’s still room for improvement.

According to a separate study by the Economic Research Service (ERS), conservation practices and adoption rates still vary widely by crop and region. Practices like no-till, strip-till, using multiple nutrient management practices and incorporating cover crops help reduce nitrogen leaching, while improving soil structure and fertility.

However, researchers found that only close to 40 percent of corn, soybean, wheat and cotton were managed with conservational cultivation. An additional 40 percent weren’t being managed with spilt nitrogen fertilizer application to reduce runoff, and another 20 percent of those analysed were found to be using fall application. While data from 2011 used for the study revealed only 2 percent of total cropland (6.8 million acres) was utilizing cover crops, the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture reported only 3 percent (10.3 million acres) was utilizing cover crops. It should be noted improvements have been made since then that will be better understood when data from the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture is released, however, conservation practices are still being underutilized.

The need to improve doesn’t just sit on the shoulders of production agriculture. In 2005, researchers published a report in the journal of Environmental Management, estimating more than 40 million acres of land in the US to be cultivated with turfgrass. As urban and suburban areas continue to edge outwards into rural areas, the acreage of turfgrass expansion will continue to rapidly increase – further driving the need for water and nutrient conservation.

Time is your enemy

As we navigate the waters of a point in time where consumer pressure for responsible and transparent agricultural practice is at an all time high, there is an abundance of opportunities for industry stakeholders embracing a sustainable future.

However, time is of the essence.

Producers and companies at the forefront of the sustainable movement have the opportunity to capitalize on cost of production savings and premiums for being able to prove they are making responsible management decisions.

Those waiting or resisting to make change are putting the future of their land and natural resources at risk by not looking at the long-term production picture. They are also risking customer relationships and market shares as the industry continues to move forward.

It’s time to GO

No matter where you are on your sustainability journey, it is important to remember there is no end point. As the agricultural industry faces new environmental, social and political challenges, we must continue our mission to rise to future challenges.

Nonstop research and innovation will be vital to the future of the agricultural industry – a commitment of GO Seed. As your partner in sustainability, we promise to continue providing novel solutions for growing concerns for tomorrow and for 50 years from now.

Through the combination of our value-added tools and your dedication to responsible management practices, we can achieve a sustainable future together.

The time to begin is now. Are you ready to GO?

ime is your enemy – It’s time to GO is Part 5 of our 5-part blog series. See below for the other blogs.

Part 1: Sustainability Creates Opportunities

Part 2: Asset Protection

Part 3: Clear Vision

Part 4: Clear Direction

Part 5: Time is your enemy – It’s time to GO

For a printable, PDF version of this blog, click below.

Time is Your Enemy.PDF

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Clear Direction

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Whether you are in the beginning stages of building sustainability into your business, are in the midst of transition or have always operated with sustainability as a core principle, long-term success in your mission requires one fundamental thing: Clear direction.

Set realistic goals based on areas in need of improvement

The first step to creating a clear direction for sustainability is to understand what areas of your business need improvement. This will allow you to set goals and implement management strategies to help hit your targets.

For example, one of the most impactful ways of improving sustainability is to reduce inputs like water, fertilizer and herbicides – while maintaining current levels of production. If done correctly, this will not only benefit the environment, but also improve your profit margin.

How are you going to achieve goals?

To effectively make improvements and hit goals, a clear plan of action is needed.

When looking at input reduction, selecting plants that will help improve soil structure, are drought, disease and pest resistant, add organic matter back into the ground and fix free nitrogen for companion and succeeding crops are an effective way to do this.

But what species and varieties are best for your system and goals? How should they be managed to help hit your targets? How do you capitalize on new opportunities they provide?

Build a sustainable network

When it comes to implementing new practices and improving management, there is a lot to be gained by building a community of forward-thinking people after the same objectives that can help you achieve your goals. From vendors and customers to influencers and industry friends, shared values will help keep your business headed in the right direction.

As part of our mission to help support our business partners, GO Seed has been centered around innovative research. Each year, we test over 4,000 lines of cover crop, forage and turf species to develop multipurpose tools to fill future needs. Because we’ve set high standards to provide the agricultural industry with quality varieties worthy of commercial production, less than one percent of these lines make it to market. As your sustainability partner, GO Seed is ready to help you navigate into a successful future by continuing to provide you with novel solutions for growing concerns.

Clear Direction is Part 4 of our 5-part blog series. See below for the other blogs.

Part 1: Sustainability Creates Opportunities

Part 2: Asset Protection

Part 3: Clear Vision

Part 4:Clear Direction

Part 5: Time is your enemy – It’s time to GO

For a printable, PDF version of this blog, click below.

Clear Direction.PDF

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Clear Vision

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Twenty years ago, the future of American agriculture was at a tipping point. Decades of pushing land to its limits as new technologies and research shaped the industry were starting to leave their mark. Precious natural resources were used without future concern, high levels of chemical inputs were used to control weeds and boost yields, and the natural productivity of land was in a decline from poor practice. With yield placed as the sole focus, the industry was achieving agricultural production milestones – yet it wasn’t environmentally or financially sustainable.

A need to listen 

Behind the scenes was a need for management influencers and service providers to communicate, collaborate and listen to producers. Management practices were compartmentalizing different pieces of the system, rather than managing everything together as a whole – decreasing profits due to increased input costs.

A clear vision for today

Amid this critical point in time, we began our journey as GO Seed with a clear vision to listen to what the industry needed for today and for the future, and then to develop it. Our ongoing mission has been to reconnect the compartmentalized pieces of agriculture by breeding quality turf, forage and cover crop varieties that add value to all segments of production systems – above and below ground.

This means breeding turf grass durable enough for high traffic sports fields, with ground cover and disease resistant traits to reduce water, fertilizer and herbicide use. Developing forage varieties with high sugar levels to improve livestock efficiency and reduce carbon footprint. And most recently, producing cover crop varieties that work with nature to increase productivity by acting as pest control while improving soil structure and fixing significant amounts of nitrogen back into the ground.

A clear vision for tomorrow

From observation and discovery to commercial availability, it can take 12-15 years to bring a variety to market. Politically, socially and environmentally, a lot of things will change – including what tools are needed to overcome challenges.

Twenty years ago, GO Seed recognized a need in the agricultural industry to listen to the needs of producers and to provide solutions for a sustainable future – which are more important than ever. And by listening to producers, communicating with industry stakeholders and continual research, GO Seed will still be providingnovel solutions for growing concerns to solve the challenges of the future 20 years from now.

Clear Vision is Part 3 of our 5-part blog series. See below for the other blogs.

Part 1: Sustainability Creates Opportunities

Part 2: Asset Protection

Part 3: Clear Vision

Part 4: Clear Direction

Part 5: Time is your enemy – It’s time to GO

For a printable, PDF version of this blog, click below.

Clear Vision.PDF