Andy Junkin

Changing how farm families deal with change

To be released July 2018.  Be the first to receive a complimentary copy hot off the presses.

Stop focusing on Succession and start focusing on SUCCESS

Too often, when multiple partners are involved in any farming operation, miscommunication and egos affect the farm’s bottom line more than external influences like the markets and weather!

Until now, no one has ever considered how critical the farm’s decision-making methods within the family impacts the farm’s bottom line and also how the family gets along day to day. This is an especially relevant issue during the decade prior to and after farm asset succession when multiple generations/siblings are co-managing the farm. The ability for a family to make decisions together and actually get those ideas into reality is what determines farm profitability. Dysfunctional joint decision making creates dysfunctional farm families and inefficient family farms!  It is the root problem to a multitude of other problems!

Regrettably, this is one of those unstated but HUGE issues on the majority of multi-generational family farms. But thank God, there is a solution and Andy Junkin has implemented it all across North America, saving family farms and giving farms a huge leg-up in the industry in the process. It is this solution that farmers will drive through even a snowstorm to hear...

"We believe his message is so unique and important"

“We had Junkin speak at our Annual Convention last fall and the audience loved it. We believe his message is so unique/important that we are flying him in to speak to the graduating classes of the three biggest Agriculture Universities in our State this spring.”

Justin Loch
Montana Farmers Union, Great Falls, Montana
"A highlight of our conference"

"Junkin’s message was clear and to the point, successful farm business transition meetings begin with relationships at home and if those aren’t working well, neither will the legal transitions. His honesty and forthcoming about what it takes to mentor farm families with his ability to correlate it to working farm families was a highlight of our conference.”

Heidi Doering-Resch
Form-A-Feed, Stewart, Minnesota
"Provided attendees with wonderful insight"

“Mark Andrew Junkin provided attendees with wonderful insight on how to deal with the many situations that multi-generational farming presents. His ability to keep attendees attention from start to finish is a testament to his talent to communicate his message.”

Shannon Berndt
Executive Director of National Pulse Growers Association
0516.PD Masthead FLAG (k)

Andy Junkin's favorite thing to do in life is to speak to farmers!

Andy is passionate about evangelizing the need for farmers to rethink how they make decisions together. He works to get the message out through speaking across the US and Canada at a myriad of events, conferences, and workshops. He also shares his message through regional, national, and international publications. His 5th book is in the works and is scheduled to be available by Fall 2018.

Audiences find Junkin's folksy manner both fun, interesting, and relevant.  His own family fell apart due to these issues and farm families really appreciate his passion to develop an alternative solution.  While touching on deep issues affecting almost every family, these talks are kept light and down-to-earth, but always professional.  Farmers especially find the follow up Q&A fascinating because of Junkin’s on-farm experiences in turning around many a family farm crisis. Junkin lives to save family farms and audiences quickly appreciate this passion.

As part of his basic speaking package, Junkin gifts each audience member with a copy of "Farming with Family Ain't Always Easy" at the end of the seminar or event.  The book reinforces the message and sparks a family conversation that catalyzes real change! His next book, "Tough Times Never Last, Tough Farmers Do" (set to be released July 2018), will be a part of the speaking package for the talk centered around overcoming the looming farm crisis.

Alternatively, we can directly mail these to a list of farmers who attended past events six weeks prior and we have found that this action nearly tripled event attendance, even in poor weather! 

Who is Andy Junkin?

The story of a farm boy from Bobcaygeon…
Growing Up

Andy (christened Mark Andrew Junkin) was born the 7th generation farmer in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, Canada on a failing farm during the 80s.   The day Andy left for the University of Guelph in 1994, Andy’s mother showed him the farm’s financials and said, “You’ve got 5 years to fix these numbers or else I’m leaving your Dad.”  The weight of his farm’s future was on his shoulders.

In his early 20’s Andy learned to speed-read and read through entire agriculture sections of the University of Guelph Library including all types of farm periodicals.  He was class president and won awards for being the most well-rounded student on campus.  Andy cut out clips from farm papers of interesting farms and spent a year driving a Hyundai Accent (sleeping in the car) to 19 US states to interview the top farmers across North America.  He backpacked Australia and New Zealand, coming home with only one spare t-shirt and 120 lbs in farm textbooks.  By 25 he had worked on some of the largest farms of all sorts/climates in the world.  His favorite was "cowboying" on Brunette Downs (the Cattle Kingdom), a 134 square mile, 60,000+ cow cattle station in the Northern Territory of Australia.  Through this process he understood how the most successful farmers think and how to talk to them.

Tough Times Begin

The year Andy graduated, Andy’s dad ploughed under his crops out of jealousy that they were doing better than his.  Andy blamed himself for the problems he had in getting changes made on the family farm and researched what he did wrong out of personal interest.  Without realizing it at the time, this started his expertise in his niche field today.

Without the farm, Andy was lost with what to do with his life.  He prayed about it and the next day the Walkerton Water Crisis occurred where people started dying from manure contaminated drinking water. This is where Andy saw he could do some good outside of his farming dream.  Without owning a computer, Andy started the first agriculture environmental software company that applied ISO 14001, ISO 9001 & OHS 18001 to farms in a cost-effective way.

ISOfarm Days

In the startup year for his company, ISOfarm, Andy worked out of the University of Guelph library and slept in a Hyundai Accent until December.  Within 4 years, he was able to buy a luxury car with just 1% stock.  The dot-com company skyrocketed to a $4,000,000 valuation with Andy as CEO when both the CAFO regulations and NRCS CSP Tier III subsidies were introduced at the same time.  At the Banff Venture Forum, it was considered one of the top three startups in Canada in 2004.

During this time, his mother told his father to not buy any more equipment until he had sat down with their son to write a business plan/cash-flow. But Andy’s dad refused to implement any changes or let alone look at any of the 13 business plans Andy had written.  In June 2003, Andy’s father came home from an auction with a manure spreader.  That was the day when the “fit hit the shan” for Andy’s family and his parents divorced shortly after.  Ten days after the separation, mad cow disease hit Canada rendering his father in even tougher circumstances.

Andy’s father convinced Andy to sell his shares and bail the farm out from the BSE crisis.  Andy was 68% shareholder of a $4,000,000 company when Andy decided to sell. This tragically led to a hostile take-over by a minority shareholder that rendered the company inoperable and rendered Andy penniless.  Because Andy no longer had any value, Andy’s dad left him on side of road.

For the five years after his company imploded, Andy did consulting work for agriculture startup ventures.  He provided advice to Pfizer Animal Health for the Alberta Beef Sector and did a strategic marketing plan for a group of John Deere dealerships for their new GPS products.

Agriculture Strategy is born

Andy was in a spot where he had lost both his dream of farming his ancestor’s ground and the company he had started from nothing. He could have crumbled under the weight of the loss of direction and purpose, but instead he realized his mission in life and ran with it.  He became the friend every farm boy would call to have a beer with when they had trouble working with their parents.  He helped mediate a few family disputes and found he had a gift to help farm families. The critical moment of realization occurred at a good friend’s wedding when he witnessed an amazing family fall apart because of a complicated farm succession strategy.  At the same wedding, one of his best friend's wives confided that she just had a miscarriage because of the stress of her family's succession problems.  His purpose in life became evident.  He recognized that the way farm management and farm succession is done had to change.  Everyone needs to focus on HOW farm families make decisions together, rather than who gets what. Andy knew that the principles of continuous improvement stemming from ISO 14001 (his previous software company) needed to be applied to farm management.  This is his niche he refers to as the "Decision Culture of Agriculture."  In 2008, Agriculture Strategy was incorporated…

Andy moved to a small town in the dead center of Ontario’s corn belt and helped anybody and everybody.   He subsidized the business by milking water buffalo daily for Henry Koskamp.   He contacted every accountant and law firm and told them to give him their most dysfunctional clients. In the first five years, he dealt with the direst farm family and farm succession cases and grew a reputation for turning lost-causes around.   Milking water buffalo was his yoga, allowing him the time to calm down after intense mediation and think through ideas for his first book, which he worked on till midnight every night.  He started writing for a few farm publications such as Progressive Dairyman and Successful Farming, which led to meditations all over North America…

Andy’s passion to help save farm families was only strengthened when he woke up one Christmas milking another man’s cows 500 miles from home without even a phone call from his parents.  His parents blamed him for their divorce and disowned him.  This is a key motivator that drives Andy to do what he does to help save other families and not let them go through what he has, even if it means putting himself at risk. Andy is often brought in to deal with some of toughest circumstances after several other mediators quit.  For him there is nothing more satisfying than looking at a farm’s mailbox knowing that the family’s name will be there for another generation because of his actions that day.

In the early years of Agriculture Strategy, Andy was putting on 50,000 miles a year running all over the country saving family farms.  Andy started getting calls from far off places where it wasn’t economical to drive there, but how was Andy to say no? Technology made its appearance and Andy began using SKYPE/video conferencing for farm families who lived too far away. Although the technology was a bit awkward at first, it has now become the preferred way to reach farm families. In fact, Andy started seeing greater long-term success with the farms he helped weekly for 30 minutes over SKYPE versus his previous method of being on the farm for a couple days at a time. He now tries to go out to the farm once, but does the majority of his consulting work over SKYPE, meeting the families weekly in “bite-sized chunks” of change they can handle.

Andy has been on the speaking circuit for over five years now, speaking to farmers at national conferences and regional events and through media avenues such as YouTube and radio. He has also been writing for the past seven years for many magazines and newspapers about his niche practice. His current book on the presses is: "Farming with Family Ain't Always Easy." His next book set to be released July 2018 is called, "Tough Times Never Last, Tough Farmers Do."

Strategic Move and Happy Family

For a decade, Andy was living the lifestyle of a priest, living a life of poverty (often helping farms in dire financial straits) and driving 50,000 miles a year saving family farms all over.  In his travels, Andy met a Michigan vegetable farmer, Bernadette Fox, who was seriously contemplating being a nun.  Four dates later they were engaged, 6 months after they married, and one month after that they moved just north of Iowa City, Iowa to start a new life together and be in a central location to better help farm families.  So far marriage has exceeded Andy’s wildest expectations!  Bernadette has a complimentary skill set to Andy and has been a big force in evolving Andy’s passion for saving family farms into a profitable business.   They just had their first baby boy (Huck) this February and are looking forward to raising a large family on a small farm while saving family farms in every way they can.

Contact Andy Junkin
To discuss the possibility of Junkin speaking at your event, please fill out this form.