By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau: What’s the best business guidance you’ve ever been given? Or, what business-oriented counsel would you give others? That’s what we’ve been asking our farmers and ranchers in our new profile series. So far, several have shared either their own wisdom or things they’ve learned from others.

The following comes from 7 of our profiled farmers and ranchers and agri-business professionals.

The wisdom we impart to the next generation will have a lasting impact on our industry. (Photo courtesy of Kacie Tomerlin, a rancher in Yavapai county)

Tim Petersen, rancher in Yavapai County: The best business advice we could give anyone is, "know your numbers." And, hard work with long hours is a must, but rewarding! But most importantly, have a vision, and be passionate about what you do! 

Shawn Wright, agribusiness and rancher in Graham County: The best advise that I was ever given was possess integrity. Always have integrity; be honest and fair with everyone, then you’ll never have to explain yourself. Always be fair and honest in your dealing. To me, a handshake is always better than anything written on paper. Agriculture is a unique business. Some things never change, but business is always changing, at a fast pace.

Vernon Schulz, generational farm family growing a variety of crops in Maricopa County: I don’t know who told me this but I have always tried to do it, and I have passed it on to my children and grandchildren: Always know the answer to your question before you ask it.

Ryan Colville, Young Farmer & Rancher member in agribusiness in Maricopa County: The world is full of opportunities, it’s up to you to go out and find them!

Terisha Driggs, young farmer/rancher advocate, legal analyst in Maricopa County: The best experience I have had is taking on mentors. Listen to the advice of those that have been there and don’t take things personally. Most people want to help you succeed but you have to ask and make the time.

For young or beginning farmers I would say plan and then have a backup. Don’t be afraid to take risks and don’t be afraid to fail. Never let anyone underestimate you because of your age…. a baby shark is still a shark.

Rick Evans, generational farm family that farmed a variety of crops including sweet corn in Maricopa County: If I may, I would rather give advice than think of advice I've been given. I wish that Mom had added, "Get a good education" along with her admonition to stay in farming. I see these young farmers with business degrees and think how far ahead they are on life's path and their career. Farming is not just hard work and long hours that I experienced. Stay in school, learn all you can and continue learning.

Richie Kennedy, livestock business in Pinal County: The best thing is if you’re involved in the business you better be hands on and be involved from the top to the bottom. Basically you’re never above your employees.

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