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Monday, July 26, 2010

We ate breakfast again this morning in the hotel before loading the bus. This gave us another opportunity to talk with one another, learn more specific details of one another’s operation practices, and to build connections that we will be able to take back with us. From the hotel, we headed back to Pioneer’s campus. First, representatives from the collegiate FFA program informed us of different opportunities that we can participate in. One of which was an ambassador program, and the other was an international agriculture relations program called I-CAL (International Collegiate Ag Leadership) program.

Next, we heard from Rabo AgriFinance about their involvement in the agriculture industry. They are a bank that is very supportive of its members and interacts with them on a regular basis. Later, they told us about financial statements (income statement, balance sheets, statement of owner equity, and statement of cash flows) and the components of each statement. The Rabo AgriFinance speakers detailed how to use the information found on these statements to evaluate the financial performance of an agricultural operation and how to watch for strengths and weaknesses. They did this through a fun interactive activity called CSI, an activity similar to Crime Scene Investigation, but with credit.

Next, we were honored to have Dr. Ron Hanson of the University of Nebraska give a presentation about Farm Succession in families. So often, there are contingencies that undermine family relations. These stem from jealousies, particularly when parents exhibit favoritism toward one child and not another or when some children expect their parents to give them the family farm, even if they have not worked on it for decades and one of their siblings has. Dr. Hanson presented some ideas as to how to avoid the devastation associated with families torn over inheritance issues. The main thing that had to be done was to sit down with all parents and siblings and to discuss how to divide up the inheritances before it is too late to do so. Also, written documentation was a large component of a successful farm succession. When we get back to the farm, we will be better equipped to face this inevitable, but usually unfavorable, issue with our families.

After our time at Pioneer, we headed to the Iowa Cubs game. They are a minor league team for the Chicago Cubs. We relaxed and enjoyed ourselves after a day full of useful information. We have been blessed with an amazing week and cannot believe that we only have one more day!


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