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Modern Farm Business podcast 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.

Modern Farm Business podcast 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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Modern Farm Business podcast 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.






048. The farm business mind w/ Dr. David Kohl

Professor Emeritus of Agriculture & Applied Economics at Virginia State University and Virginia dairy co-owner Dr. David Kohl has spent the latter part of his career travelling 9M+ miles conducting financial/business workshops & seminars. This week he joins us to discuss his insights on farm leadership and the business of farming. See show notes for a complete (paraphrased) transcript of the show.


047. Cut the cost of drama w/ Cy Wakeman

Today we welcome Cy Wakeman to explore her experiences and perspectives on leadership. Wakeman is a drama researcher, global thought-leader, and New York Times best-selling author who is recognized for cultivating a counter-intuitive, reality-based approach to leadership. Her philosophy offers a new lens through which employees and executives alike, can shift their attention inward, sharpen their focus on personal accountability, and uncover their natural state of innovation simply by...


046. Dangerous? Or just scary?

In business and in life, it's not uncommon to find ourselves making decisions that to someone else might seem completely irrational. Often these decisions involve risk. It could be a financial risk to our operation—or even physical risks that threaten our safety! In this episode we're exploring how our wiring often works against us making sound decisions, as well as some approaches to managing these hurdles.


045. Compensation dynamics on the farm w/ Larry Custer

Working with family and partners in business can lead to questions about the right approach to compensation. Larry Custer, Account Manager with Water Street Solutions, joins Dean to share best practices about setting the stage for good expectations with partners and employees.


044. "It's complicated." How you can lead with Systems Thinking

Our brains are wired to look for clear, simple cause and effect regarding what’s happing around us. If our baseball team is losing, it must be the manager’s fault. If we have an accident, immediately we look for who’s to blame. And if my business is making money, well—it must be because I’m gifted at business! You see, our brain’s desire to understand can lead us to oversimplifying the factors that contribute to our successes and our failures. As leaders, it is important for us to...


043. Are we ever really "too busy"?

You can say it in many different ways—I'm too busy...I don’t have time…I just couldn’t get to it…I’m really swamped right now and can’t do it. BUT... Have we ever REALLY been too busy? If I said I would give you $1M to get to downtown Denver in 2 days, you probably wouldn’t be too busy to get there. If your daughter was graduating from high school, would you be too busy to go to the ceremony? I’d bet most people could find the time in their “busy” schedules to work those things in. If...


042. Get positive return on integrity w/ John Blumberg

One of the universals of lasting businesses is the role of values and integrity as a part of their culture and leadership. In today’s world of speed and disruption, it’s more important than ever. To share his insights on the subject with us today is author and speaker John Blumberg. For more than 20 years, John has poured himself into helping others become better leaders. His first book was a business parable, Silent Alarm. In 2009, he wrote Good to the Core, which changed the...


041. Communication that works

There’s an old saying: “I know what I said, but I don’t know what you heard.” As leaders we can spend a lot of our time sending out information, with the expectation that people understand what we intend them to understand. However, when the pressure is on or time is short—just when we need communication to be its most crisp—is often when there are the most misunderstandings. Much of this ties to our own assumptions of what communication actually is, and to the fact that there are many...


040. Eat that frog!

Mark Twain apocryphally said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long. Sound advice for those of us who fight procrastination. Since it’s unlikely we all get everything done that we intend to every day, it’s safe to say everyone deals with some level of procrastination. Plenty of factors contribute to not getting things done as...


039. More of what you want

It’s easy to focus on the things we don’t want in life an business. We don’t want to run out of money. We don’t want our employees getting hurt. We don’t want the neighbor driving through our field. You get the picture. But in practice, diligent focus on what we do want helps us to better create thinking and action that aligns with achieving our goals. Today we’ll use some practical farming examples to apply this proactive mindset. Safety on the farm In many large organizations, a...


038. Live your legacy w/ Ben Newman

ABOUT OUR GUEST: Ben Newman is a highly regarded performance coach, international speaker, and best-selling author whose clients include Fortune 500 companies around the world, business executives, sales organizations and professional athletes in the NFL, PGA, NBA, MLB and NCAA. Ben’s authentic, powerful, and engaging presentations have become nationally recognized, and recently he joined Clemson Head Football Coach Dabo Swinney to kickoff Jon Gordon’s Power of Positive Summit that...


037. Better decision-making

A key responsibility of leaders is the ability to make sound decisions. That doesn’t mean we should funnel every decision in the business through one or two people, but the tough and important decisions—the ones that really impact the future of the business—have to get wrestled with by the leader of the operation. Today we’re going to cover three tools that can help you, the leader, have more confidence in your decision-making, and we’ll finish with some traps to be aware of. A lot of...


036. Economics for the farm leader w/ Dr. Matt Roberts

Few people truly understand the economic trends and forces that are at work in the world, constantly influencing the planning, decision-making and profitability of business leaders everywhere. In this week’s Modern Farm Business™ podcast, Dean sheds some light on the world of economics with his guest, Dr. Matt Roberts. ABOUT OUR GUEST: Matt Roberts is founder of The Kernmantle Group, an economics research and training consultancy. Dr. Roberts is a nationally-renowned expert and speaker...


035. Ready the team

Any seasonal business has to deal with the fact that before the season starts, they need to get the team ready. Today we’re going to talk about what happens when we don’t get the team ready, the importance of setting expectations at the beginning of the season, and some tools for helping prepare your team to bring their best. What happens when everyone isn’t on the same page as the season begins? But what about when we are prepared? You don’t feel frantic at the last minute, you’ve...


034. Seven tools for selecting top talent

Recruiting and hiring is one of the top challenges not only for farms, but for every business looking to grow. In this episode, Dean covers seven tools for improving your selection results. For many businesses and farms, a key constraint to growth isn’t capital—it’s having the right people. I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with farm leaders from across the Midwest—and it seems no matter who I talk to, wherever they’re from is “the toughest place you can imagine to find good...


033. Delegation that works

As our businesses or organizations grow, it becomes critical for us as leaders change our focus and activities. As a one-person operation, the number of people we can hand work off to is limited. The staff you have are typically either family members or hired contractors. With growth, it eventually takes more people to get the work done. More people means the need for better communication and coordination of activities. It also means that as leaders, we cannot spend our time simply doing...


32. Four elements of trust

In business, as in life, one of the most important aspects of a relationship is trust. When trust is high things move faster, energy is higher and people have more fun. When trust is low everything slows down. We second-guess decisions and question motives, etc. Speed goes down and expense goes up. We know trust is important, but too often we consider it a binary system: "I either trust someone or I don’t." Trust is actually more dynamic than that. One of the most important things to be...


Turn your ship around! w/ David Marquet - MFB031

The systems around us are too complex for us to have all the answers for every situation. It’s important as a leader to grow and develop our team’s capabilities to make responsible decisions on their own as needed. Communication of intent is a key to that development. In this episode David Marquet shares revelations on how to achieve a cooperative and supportive environment which fosters the confidence and leadership abilities of team members. As the Captain of a nuclear submarine, David...


The leader as coach - MFB030

When we’re a part of a group—be it leading our farm, a work group at church or a volunteer at the thrift store—there are many roles we end up taking on depending on the situation. We might be the person setting the priorities and the pace of the group, or we may be a contributor of talent to the team. Regardless research is showing one of the most valuable skills we can possess is that of coach. Coaching is a special skill that we can develop, and the great thing is that the fundamentals...


Raising your inner game w/ David Levin - MFB029

Author David Levin joins Dean to share insights in how to manage distractions and ourselves so we can do our best work. ABOUT OUR GUEST: In 1992, David Levin was a struggling singer-songwriter whose career (and life) were going nowhere. But then he had a strange and illuminating experience that totally changed the arc of his life. Four albums, five books, and 29 years of happy marriage later, he’s condensed what he’s learned into a simple, practical guide for how to be stronger, mentally...


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