The Successors, Ep 14: Changing technology, dairy industry troubles, and bringing your accountant to the conversation

(Gerrit Herrema/Supplied)

The Successors is a RealAgriculture podcast series hosted by Kara Oosterhuis focusing on agriculture from the perspective of the up-and-coming generation.

How do you make the call on what technology to keep up with? When is the “right time” to get involved with politics? And who do you involve in your succession planning conversations?

Gerrit Herrema, of Herralea Farms at Uxbridge, Ont., helps answer these questions and more in the latest episode of The Successors podcast.

Herrema, who farms with his father on the family dairy and cropping operation, says although the succession planning hasn’t gotten too in depth yet, it’s definitely something they are starting to plan, as there are different extended family members involved and the operation tries to figure out what is best for everyone. As Herrema explains, there are many different people involved in the conversation, but one they make sure is always up to speed is their accountant.

“Working with our accountant is the number one thing to bring in and make sure it goes smoothly, and makes sure that things make sense from a financial standpoint, and to make sure everything’s fair for the rest of the family members that are still involved,” he explains.

Although Herrema and his family work together on the operation, with there being many different moving parts, his self-proclaimed title is feed and crop manager, as his forte is making sure the crops are in, and the farm is getting the best yield, and the best quality feed that they can.

“As well, I’ve taken on the role of calf feeding, primarily, because you want a good start with the calves. So I’ve been really focused on that as well.”

Another part where he fits in is in the shop, as he finds himself spending more time working on equipment, as the cost to take it into the mechanic’s shop continues to increase in his area.

“If we have the ability to pull something in the shop, and work on it ourselves, we think we’re saving quite a bit of money doing that versus having to send it off to a dealer,” he notes.

As robotic technology continues to change, the operation put in a parlour when they built a new barn half a decade ago. Although they currently don’t use milking robots, they built the barn in a such a way that would allow them to put in robots, if they decide to go there, as they looked at what direction the industry could be going.

Check out the full conversation between Herrema and The Successors host, Kara Oosterhuis, where they talk about getting your mind off the farm, the biggest struggles in the dairy industry, his involvement in local politics, and so much more: