A Look at a Multiple Generational Farm

(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor! We’ll learn why this family farm believes it’s not about dividing the pie – it’s about making it bigger.
(Bob Cervera) Many look at Schiefelbein Farms near Kimball, Minnesota, as the example of how to make a family farm work. Their business includes the first generation, along with 8 brothers, 7 sisters-in-law, and more than 30 grandchildren. (Don Schiefelbein) The key is, how does a family like ours get along or how do you work together? Love goes a long ways, but the reality is money and power and how you divide that up is what really truly defines whether or not you’ll be successful over the long haul. (Bob) He says it starts with realizing it’s not about dividing the pie, but making it bigger. (Schiefelbein) Too often times, what happens is family members come back as a replacement for dad and mom. The reality is dad and mom are still there, so what happens is everybody has to live poor. When people live poor and the money, it’s less, usually good things don’t happen. The whole idea behind our deal is you come back with a value-added proposition and you say How am I going to pull my weight to ensure that when I come back, not only do we not get poorer, we actually get better off? (Bob) One example is the customer buy-back program implemented when one brother returned to the farm after heading up the cattle buying program for a major packer. (Schiefelbein) It works beautiful, in that it now is a new profit center for our operation, but it also builds on our base of our seed stock operation, ensuring that our customers’ calves get paid value for their animals. (Bob) Continually raising the bar — producing the best. That’s been a way to keep adding to the farm business while increasing income at the same time. (Schiefelbein) In our mind, it all has to be value-added. It can’t be just creating more of anything. What we really want to do is, how can we get the premium or the value-added products? From our standpoint, that means doing things like creating seed stock with added value and when we sell beef, we sell beef with added value, primarily trying to target the Certified Angus Beef brand. (Bob) As the family grows, so does the farm, but the business plan remains centered on excellence. I’m Bob Cervera.
(Jamie) Come back after the break for this week’s Plain Talk with Duane and Kyle Bauer.

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