Surroundings from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

by Mike Zwingman

by Mike Zwingman

“Surround yourself with smart, dedicated people – to build something that isn’t a one-man Show. It’s more important to have smart people who really believe in what you’re doing than really experienced people who may not share in your dream.” – Swedish entrepreneur Niklas Zennstrom

A few weeks ago I talked improvements to four things between you and your Central Valley Ag Field Sales Agronomist and how they would help you thrive, not just survive the challenges facing your operations. In today’s article, I want to take that one more step and talk about the team surrounding you as a whole. Does that team share in your vision and how invested are they in the long term success of your operation?  Is that team of professionals willing to lay aside their egos and come together to help you achieve those long term goals? I think about these questions myself as I continually evaluate those around me both professionally and personally.

A few years ago a grower said to me, “I don’t need an agronomist who is still making recommendations for me like I’m still selling $7.00 corn.” I partially agreed with him because agronomically the plant doesn’t care about the price of corn, but the foundation of his statement rang true, because where your marketing position does make a difference on how aggressive we should be and should shape how we best implement a strategy for your operation. The question then becomes “How do I know how to do that without knowing all the information?”  I’m not saying we need to know exactly what your marketing position is, but we need to know what your plan looks like. I can’t speak for my CVA ProEdge Consultant friends, but I bet if they had a better idea of what you agronomic plan looked like they could help you capture higher value in the market. So what about your lender, your insurance agent, your landlords? Aren’t we all part of your team, and don’t we all need to share in your vision? Only you can answer that because you are the head coach, and we are part of your staff.

I talk a lot about finding efficiency and synergies in your operation to help you get to the next level; mostly that’s on an agronomic scale because that is what I do. Speaking professionally and personally when times have been tough it’s not me, but it has been the people around me that have gotten me through it. Those people, my team always has my long-term best interest in mind and so should the team around you. So, yes your team should help you buy and sell better every day, but they also challenge you when a decision is being made that could have detrimental effects on the achievement of your long-term goals, dreams, and aspirations.

The reset in the farm economy has opened the doors for groups telling you they can do things cheaper, with less human interaction through technology. Technology is great; the big data evolution is exciting, but it is most exciting for those of us who are closest to you. The right team is always there when you need them most; helping you make the right decisions like after the hail event in 2014 or the drought of 2012, or the new economic climate of 2017. The right team members care about you not only as a customer but as a human, spending the 10,000 hours honing their crafts to become experts, they are committed to your community, and most of all they are personally invested in your success. So, bring your team together and share what your goals are and let them work as a team to draw up the best game plan to win today, tomorrow and five years from today.

I am grateful every day to work for Central Valley Ag because I believe I work for the most committed group of professionals anywhere in our industry. CVA has leadership that cares about or growth and safety, but most of all because when I come to work, especially on Mondays, I get to be a part of YOUR team.