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Welcome to the home of the Modern Farm Business® podcast, hosted weekly by Dean Heffta. Modern Farm Business translates proven methods and best practices from the business arena to today's modern farm leadership environment. We'll be learning from forward-thinking experts and discovering how to apply time-tested techniques to make real improvements on the farm.

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Aug 24, 2017

Turning the continuing conversation of people on the farm to an external focus, Dean covers the mindsets and tools the farm leader can use to improve their supplier and landlord relationships.

Working with people outside the farm can be a source of tension or potential frustration. Landlords and suppliers require a different sort of working relationship than the type you have with other people on the farm. This kind of relationship must be invested in and managed. It can be tough to navigate at times because everyone involved is trying to do business, and everyone wants to get the best deal possible. It’s important for a farm leader to recognize, though, that in key areas of the operation, “value” has a lot more to it than simply price.

John Ruskin (19th Century English writer, art critic, social thinker & philanthropist):
“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

Stephen R. Covey (Author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
Must-haves for a win-win relationship:
1. The right attitude which fosters and seeks this kind of relationship
2. A cooperative view vs. competitive
3. Recognition that not every area or decision has to be a win-win

Keys to becoming intentional about supplier relationships
1. Check my own place on the relationship mindset continuum: FULL ABUNDANCE on one end, and on the other SCARCITY

2. Evaluate where on the farm you’ll get most impact from paying a premium for the right people vs. finding the best price available; and vice versa
Communicate to suppliers what excellence looks like

“How do I build and manage strong landlord relationships?”
Remember no two landlords are the same, so it’s unfair to lump them all together and suggest a “magic formula” to improve relationships. Instead:
1. Work to understand your landlord’s motivations
2. Build a plan based on what you’ve learned
3. Schedule and execute that plan

Additional Reading:
Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Simon & Schuster, 1989 (Buy on Amazon)

We welcome your feedback at Modern Farm Business Podcast. Do you have suggestions for future episodes, or questions on something we’ve already covered? Want some ideas for building a landlord survey like Dean mentioned? Drop him a line at dean@modernfarmbusiness.com. We’ll look at each email personally and respond as quickly as possible. Thanks for listening!