By Katie Hancock
Over the years, farming has become less labor intensive and more financially demanding. This creates an opportunity, in my opinion, for those with off-farm experience—especially for women and farm wives. Spouses, men or women, previously uninvolved in the farm business have plenty to offer.
I’m unique as a female business partner because I started farming as a field hand. I learned from the ground up. I drove farm equipment and made agronomic decisions. A common misconception I’m seeing is women struggling to see their value to a business because she may lack the tractor-driving and agronomy background. This view couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s helpful, but not required.
A female friend of mine is seeking a financial job. I mentioned the possibility of working with me in the farm office. She did not feel qualified because she only feels comfortable working with numbers. I laughed and pointed out that’s what most farms are lacking. Those unfamiliar with large Ag businesses don’t realize farms need financially focused personnel—often full time.
Budgeting is often preached, but rarely enforced. I am determined to pinpoint my cost of production and use a budget for decision-making. I also focus on marketing and need a thorough financial analysis to make sound decisions. This is an opportunity in a business for those unwilling or unable to drive a tractor.
Farmers like my husband are great at growing a crop. The problem is, a person is typically good at the production OR the business, not both. And let’s be honest, there’s not enough time in the day to do both in a large operation. Don’t be afraid to get involved. The business likely has a position for you because there’s much more to farming than the production.