The seed that would begin a career helping farm families through personal and financial turmoil was planted the day Andy Junkin stepped off his family’s farm in Canada to attend college.
Junkin, owner of Agriculture Strategy of Solon, Iowa, is the keynote speaker and a workshop presenter at WESTI Ag Days Feb. 12-13 in Worland, an annual conference whose themes this year follow agricultural legacy, management and production.
Junkin’s stories about how he came to offer his services involve topics not usually in farm or ranch discussions around coffee shop tables or on farm and ranch conference agendas. Rather than commodity outlooks or fuel prices, the gist for his emphasis to create lasting legacies are divorce, suicide attempts and shattered families.
That day Junkin left the Bobcaygeon, Ontario, farm, about 100 miles northeast of Toronto, to attend the University of Guelph, his mother showed him the farm’s financials and said if he didn’t fix the numbers she’d leave his father.
The farm had not made money in 10 years.
Upon graduating and returning to the farm, his father agreed to a five-acre demonstration plot to show if what Junkin learned could be put to use on the farm. When a farm visitor observed Andy would probably be more productive on the one acre than his father on the rest of the farm and then laughed – Junkin’s father did not. His jealous father plowed the crops under.
Junkin said he quickly realized knowledge and skills aren’t the only things needed to turn around a failing farm.
Junkin recalls his mother telling his father he needed to write a business plan before he could buy any machinery. His father then bought a manure spreader at a farm auction.