agricultural home businessOne of the best benefits of any home-based businesses is being your own boss, controlling your schedule and being close to family throughout the day. It’s both convenient and efficient. This is especially true for farmers and anyone invested in agriculture. While there are many benefits for starting any type of home business, there are also a few drawbacks that you might worry about. You may feel overwhelmed by the monumental task in front of you, and concerns about not knowing every single detail might hold you back. This is especially true for a small agricultural home business. There are so many things to prepare that you might not know where to even begin. Luckily, if you break it down into several steps, it becomes much easier.

Published on April 12th, 2018

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mentoring young talentGuest Blog Post by young talent expert Amy Crippen, Agriculture Future of America (AFA), Leader Fellowship


There is an old saying that goes, “It’s not enough to find your purpose. The real achievement is in helping others find theirs.” I never could attribute the wisdom to a single speaker, but the advice remains sage. For those of us in the talent development business, we know helping others find their purpose is the most rewarding.


Think of the moments when you have given someone real time to sort through their thoughts and feelings, and they come away with a nugget. What about identifying someone’s strengths they’ve never noticed in themselves before? How about when you’ve helped someone figure out they are in the wrong role?


These moments all happen within the business of mentoring and coaching. What has always been true is the time requirement to build the relationship, but there are a lot of other factors that play into mentoring and coaching as well. Do you give feedback in a way that builds a person up? Are you strength-based by nature? Do you keep conversations solution-focused? Are you viewing time with them as a gift and opportunity?

Published on March 6th, 2018

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recruiters and marketers

Guest Blogger: Helen Eagleton


Recruiters and marketers may seemingly have very different job functions. However, in the same way that a marketer must sell a company’s products or services, a recruiter may be able to sell a job opening to a talented candidate.


With this in mind, a recruiter may focus his or her efforts on cultivating top skills and habits that are necessary for success in the marketing field as well. These are some of the top areas that both marketers and recruiters can equally improve on.

Habit Number 1: Putting the Candidate First


Just as a successful marketer needs to focus on satisfying the needs of the customer, a successful recruiter must understand and satisfy the needs of a job seeker to be successful. In addition, marketers usually conduct thorough research to learn why consumers are drawn to some products, and recruiters also need to research job seekers to determine what they are looking for in a new position.


In both of these areas, professionals must work actively with people and determine what they need in order to be successful in their positions. More than that, they both need to actively put another person’s interests ahead of their own for optimal success. Finding the right talent may not be easy, but things can get easier if you are capable of viewing things from the candidate’s perspective.

Published on September 21st, 2017

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college recruitmentGuest Blogger: Ashley Collins, Agriculture Future of America


It’s almost August. Stores are stocking school supplies and commercials advertising back to school are in full swing. For employers, an approaching fall means preparation is underway for college recruitment programs. Today, more than ever before, agricultural employers will need a strategic plan and to utilize their available resources effectively to create success. According to the 2016/2017 Agribusiness HR Review, when HR professionals were asked about their workforce size predictions for the next two years, 51% (the majority) reported that their workface size would remain the same. Only 45% are predicting an increase, which is a drop of 14% from 2015 when nearly 60% of ag employers predicted their workforce would grow. However, new grads and students looking for internships, need not worry; the annual report also states that 46% of employers remain committed to new graduate recruitment (up 1% over the year before) as part of their strategy for succession planning and to compete for top talent. This also means competition for the top talent on campus is going to be as competitive if not more than it has in the past! Here are a few tips to help employers be successful in college recruitment this fall.

Published on July 21st, 2017

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the benefits of hiring tech-savvy peopleGuest Blogger: Becky Wilcox


One of the best things a manager can do is to surround himself or herself with people who make the business better. The employees you hire can make you or break you.


Nobody is good at everything, so in the case of a manager, a good criterion to consider in hiring people is to bring in personnel who compensate for your shortcomings. They can complement your best features in a way that makes both of you more effective.


Technology is often one of the areas where senior staff find themselves lacking. After 15 or 20 years in management, it can be easy to find yourself behind the times on information technology. Yet the business goes right on demanding it, providing profit and growth when the right tech tools are implemented.

Published on May 24th, 2017

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Guest Blogger: Amy Crippen, Agriculture Future of America


AFA asks questions. We genuinely value curiosity and learning. Our current question is this:
Let me explain. Almost a year ago AFA launched the Leader Fellowship™ experience which partners a young person and a coach. Part of the relationship is geared toward direct mentoring and part of the relationship is geared toward direct coaching. These are very different skills, and as we have developed, we have had to think through models that serve both needs.
Mentoring tends to be directionally-based: “Do this.” It is position-led and can look a lot like good supervision. It is performance oriented, and the mentor tends to be viewed as a role model. It sounds like “Try these things to solve your problem.”

Published on May 18th, 2017

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Bill stumph search for improvement purdue university ms-mbaGuest Blog Post by Bill Stumph, Chief Financial Officer for Ag Alumni Seed and a 2016 graduate of the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management from Purdue University


Successful employees are searching for improvement. They are putting in extra effort and time to make a difference for the company and for themselves. Those employees can make an even better impact on your company if they are given great tools to work with.


Providing the employees hungry for growth with the tools they need to be more effective means that they make your business more effective. I should know. I recently completed a program offered by Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business called the MS-MBA in Food and Agribusiness Management. The program is a collaboration between Purdue University’s College of Agriculture and Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The rigor of a master’s in agricultural economics is paired with the diversity of study in the MBA.


Enrolling in the program was one of the best decisions I have made, personally and professionally.

Published on April 20th, 2017

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build your on-campus brandSometimes you want to be the company everyone is talking about, sometimes you don’t, but if you are hoping to build your workforce with the best and brightest – you do! Especially when the venue is college campuses during recruiting season and the chatter is positive! Working a career fair booth and seeing a line of students who want to talk to your company representatives can be a warm and fuzzy moment for anyone who works in recruiting, however, that line doesn’t form overnight. Building a strong campus brand takes time, creativity, some financial investment, and more time.  Then there is maintenance, but that is an entirely different post! Here are 5 ideas to help your company begin the process of building an on-campus brand.

Published on March 7th, 2017

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tips to avoid employee turnoverGuest Blogger: Jen McKenzie, Business Freelancer


Bringing in strong employees is only the first step to making your business thrive. You also have to keep those employees happy within your company. Great employees leave all the time, and it’s not always due to pay or benefits. Interested in learning more about employee retention? Read these five tips to avoid employee turnover.

Why Worry About Employee Turnover?

According to Glass Door, employers report that it can take up to 52 days to fill an open position. That’s almost 2 months where other employees are having to pick up the slack for the missing worker. It’s time that your business isn’t operating at peak efficiency, and you’re likely spending time advertising and interviewing candidates.

Increase Employee Retention

There are certain things you can do to increase employee retention and almost none of them have to do with providing more money for employees. The most common strategies provide a competitive benefits package like a savings plan for retirement or a great health insurance plan. High employee turnover is a hit to the morale for the entire company, and it should be avoided at all costs.

Published on February 21st, 2017

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AFAGuest Blogger: Megan Karlin, Agriculture Future of America Marketing & Communications Manager


When it comes to whether or not your company should invest in Agriculture Future of America, I definitely have a biased opinion. However, when it comes to making the most of your relationship with us, I have the inside scoop.


For very nearly five years, I’ve immersed myself in listening to and telling AFA’s story. I’ve interviewed partners, participants and anyone else who would give me a few minutes. I’ve seen what works and what does not.


As I said, I’m biased when it comes to the question of financial investment; so, for the remainder of my time with you, let’s assume you do. That’s the first thing I would tell you. When you partner with AFA, you have a stake in the game. You’re committed to pursuing the opportunities I’ve outlined below. The first, of which, is to connect with our students.

Published on February 17th, 2017

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