Archive for September, 2008

The Market Goes BOOM!!!

September 29, 2008

I am sitting in my office completely drawn to CNBC’s coverage of the capitulation of the US economy. The story is riddled with denial, accusations and lack of clarity. The question that keeps on getting raised in our office is, “how does this affect our company.” The DOW is down 700 points and maybe headed to 8500 according to Jim Cramer of CNBC. Realistically, I do not think that we will really know the full affect of this issue on the Canadian farm for 3 – 5 years but two concerns come to mind immediately.

There are two Canadian industry concerns that come to my mind:

  1. North American Beef consumption–Beef has traditionally been known want instead of a need. Basically, when a family goes shopping for groceries are they more likely to buy bread of beef? Based on the trend of increasing feeding costs, as an industry we need the price of beef to rise not fall. As feeders we need profits not a round of $100 head losses. A downturn in beef consumption would not help our cause at all. If the American consumer has a shortage of free cash flow it only makes sense that eventually demand will slide and cash bids will shrink.
  2. Ag Lending constriction–Canadian banks are significantly capitalized but the reality is that I think they may take a heavy reactive reaction to the US banking implosion. Would you be surprised if Canadian Ag lenders tightened Ag lending requirements because the US banking system imploded…..me neither. In the past when Enron and the wireless industry fell, the lending institutions tend to clean up their portfolio of loans which will not help Ag accounts.

Mistakes Can Be Costly

September 27, 2008

Today has driven me crazy. I realized that I made a mistake at work that is not going to create a huge loss on a deal but a loss nonetheless. They say that you should learn from your mistakes but that does not make me feel any better at all. I hate making mistakes because it just grinds at me. When I make a mistake that is noticeable to employees and co-workers it really does motivate me to be better and raise my level of execution. The saying is that no one is perfect but in reality you need to be in today’s world of hyper competitiveness. Although I made a relatively small mistake this morning, big mistakes can hurt your reputation and bank account. One thing is for sure…..When I get to work on Monday I will have a new sense of focus so that I can be better for the company and customers.

Being Successul is a Team Effort

September 26, 2008

Due to the fact that my Trish my wife is traveling in the US all week I have been acting as a single parent. I made the comment to my mom tonight who was watching the kids for me while I was at a meeting that “I have a new appreciation for single parents.” This has made me realize that whether it is managing a company or a family, it truly is a team effort in order to succeed. Between trying to finish harvest and trying to make sure that the kids get to school I feel like I am frantically trying to hold it together. Inside of a family every person is relied upon to fulfill their role in order to make the whole team better. The kids make their beds and empty the dishwasher while the parents work and provide guidance and mentorship to the children. A farm operation runs no differently in the sense that we all must execute on our reponsibilities to make sure that the company succeeds. Many times our culture has made the CEO the celebrity, the person that makes the orgnization who it is. This is really not reality in the sense, that it is everyone pulling in the same direction that makes both families and businesses successful in the short and long term, during good times and bad.

Welcome

September 24, 2008

Well, I have finaly made the giant leap into blogging. After launching the successful Haney Farms Quarterly four years ago and writing for Grainews for one year, I have decided to add blogging. At this point I have no idea how often I will blog but I hope to provide provacative thought on the issues that are affecting agriculture.

For those of you that have not read any of my writing in the past you can expect independent thought where I try to help farmers and other industry members better understand the issues of the day. I will try to post links to some of my past publications to showcase my library of work.

I hope that you enjoy.