Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marketing opportunity for local farmers

Please take a moment to look over the list of available areas where several social media workshops for farmers will be held over the next 12 months. Sound like a good opportunity to help de-mystify these marketing opportunities:

Dear Friends,

This winter and summer, CFSA is excited to present Social Media for Farmers workshops designed especially to help farmers reach new customers and expand their farm businesses. This workshop got rave reviews when it was offered at the Sustainable Ag Conference earlier this month!

We will be offering the same great workshop 7 times in locations throughout NC (see below for dates and locations). And, through the generous support of the Golden LEAF Foundation, we're able to offer the workshop for just $10, including lunch!

All workshops are limited to 25 participants to allow for lots of hands-on, one-on-one training. Register now at - http://carolinafarmstewards.org/socialmediaforfarmers.shtml

Please pass this information along to any interested farmers or ranchers!

Social Media for Farmers

Want to harness the power of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to reach new customers and grow your farm business?

You won’t want to miss this all-day hands-on workshop designed especially for farmers and taught by social media experts, Johanna Kramer (@durhamfoodie) and Cary and Grace Kanoy (GeoCore Films).

You will leave this workshop with a fully-functioning Facebook and Twitter page (or upgrade your existing pages), the skills to shoot your own short farm video using your cell phone, camera, or iPad, and the training to take better farm photos. Includes lunch.

Cost: $10

All workshops will be held from 9:00-4:00 PM.
January 24 - Guilford County

January 31 - Watauga County

February 1 - Gaston County

February 16 - Lenoir County

March 6 - Buncombe County

August 16 - Chatham County

August TBA - Forsyth County

Call 919-542-2402, Email cheryl@carolinafarmstewards.org or On the web at CFSA's online store http://bit.ly/dUjvcS

These workshops are funded by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation and presented in partnership with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, 10% Campaign, Food Corps, NC Cooperative Extension, and Know Your Farms.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A piece of good advice.

Thanks to my good friend Derek Edwards for passing this along. I am thankful every day for the guideance and wisdom of my grandmother and my mother. I am very fortunate to have had a wonderful relationship with all my grandparents and to still be able to depend on the wisdom of my mother.

Why execs turn to grandma for business advice
October 31, 2011: 11:55 AM ET
Quaint as it may sound, successful executives often turn to the insights they gleaned from grandparents to navigate today's business world.
By Vickie Elmer, contributor
FORTUNE -- Some people turn to a mentor or maybe even a boss for management insights. Others look to Peter Drucker's books for pearls of business wisdom. Atlanta-area attorney A. Wayne Gill counts on the wisdom of his grandmother.
Gill runs a law firm outside Miami; he's bought and sold a few businesses and he is the author of Tales My Grandmother Told Me: A Business Diversity Fable. Despite his considerable business experience, he often recalls lessons he learned while at his grandparents' general store in Jamaica, which he visited in the summers as a child. The store, which was located in the town center in Moneague, Jamaica, sold fish, meat, rice, sugar, sandwiches, and sodas for workers. His grandmother offered ice cream and even ran a small bar in the evenings.
"She was just such a central figure," Gill says. She served as the sales person, and the deal maker, managing figures in her head and creating an ideal business environment.
Gill's grandmother was all about diversification. She bought land and a couple of gas stations. Gill followed her model by moving into public speaking and minority business consulting.
His grandmother, known as Doris (her real name was Irene Macosta) also taught him to deal fairly with vendors and other business people. "My grandmother was already practicing win-win," he says, which to him means being strong in your negotiations but not going overboard. Suppliers always wanted to do business with her, he recalls. Now, when he's negotiating: "If I get a little less, if I make the other guy happier, we can have a long-term deal, and treat each other with trust and respect."
A silent army of grandma disciples?
Gill is far from alone among executives who refer to their grandmothers as leadership guides, whether her name was Estee Lauder or Louisa.
Tim Sanders, a former executive at Yahoo and currently an author and consultant, weaved his grandma Billye's insights and lessons on gratitude and confidence into his latest book, Today We Are Rich.
"She taught me confidence, and with confidence I could do anything at all," says Sanders. "I understand where it started. I'm challenging other gurus and biz authors to 'fess up' on their grandmothers' contributions." Sanders says that he runs into half a dozen people a week who refer to their grandmother as a source of business inspiration.
Executives do not spend much time talking about their family and family histories, but their impact is considerable, says Michael Useem, director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. "I've always been impressed in how many people I encounter -- how much the family, their ancestors did what they did and influenced how they think about life now," he says.
Sometimes it's grandma or grandpa, and other times it's an ancestor going back several generations. When Useem asks people who participate in his leadership programs which leaders they most admire, he often hears Nelson Mandela or PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi or the recently deceased Steve Jobs. Around 10 to 15% refer to their parents, which is an extension of grandparents' influence, Useem argues.
Cultivating a grandmother's business sense
It may seem like a quaint idea in an era of constant change, where we receive a barrage of management insights and ideas via Twitter, blogs, and other sources. Leaders today must understand international finance and world economic crises, changing social media platforms and evolving societal tastes and trends. So how can grandma's ideals or sampler-stitched wisdom really resonate amid such a dense business landscape?
Some say they use their grandmother's wisdom as a firm foundation for how to behave in the business world. They rely on her principles and ethical standards.
Michael Platt, co-founder of hedge fund BlueCrest Capital Management, credits his grandmother with starting him in stock trading. "My grandmother was a serious equity trader," he told Bloomberg News in an interview last year.
Alexandra Lebenthal, president and CEO of Lebenthal & Co., works at a desk that her grandmother used every day and says that she sees her lessons as useful in navigating Wall Street's unsure waters. "She was very passionate about doing things the right way. I definitely got that from her," she says of Sayra Lebenthal, who co-founded the Fifth Avenue municipal bond trading firm in 1925 with her husband Louis.
Her grandmother would always encourage clients to educate themselves about finance and their investments. "She would always caution people not to live beyond their means, which is important to business as well," Alexandra says. So while other Wall Street honchos talk up a complex new product, if Lebenthal doesn't see it clearly, "at the end, I say no." This bit of wisdom has saved her from investing in some faulty products in recent years, she says.
Tim Sanders was raised by his grandmother, from the age of five until he graduated from high school. Grandma Billye, who is now 96 years old, loaned him $100 to start his first business, a fireworks stand he established in the 8th grade. When he hired friends and gave too much to them, she helped him understand profit margins. "You've got to get better at hiring people," she told him.
Billye showed Sanders the lesson of the pecan -- "eat the nut, dump the shells" -- after he was teased at church camp. They called him squeaker because of his high voice. Billye showed him a pecan and asked him, "Can you eat this thing?" He said, "of course not," and was then told to crack it open. "Every piece of criticism is a pecan," Billye said. "Your job is to crack it open and find the nut and throw away the shell. What can you see that's good? Every piece of criticism is a gift. Every failure is a gift -- if you throw away the shell."
Sanders says that he returns to this notion all the time, as he's promoting his book and seeing reviews or receiving feedback from a speaking engagement. "People are incredibly direct, both negative and positive," he says. Yet the criticism teaches you something you need to know; a lesson learned that would make any grandma proud.
Posted in: Careers, Elders, Grandma, Grandmother, Grandparent, Leadership

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

News on Tobacco Trust Fund Grants

I wanted to share info on changes in the Tobacco Trust Fund Grant Program. After you have a chance to review the information, if you have any questions, contact me and I will attempt to point you in the right direction:

We are excited to announce the 2012 Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund Grant Cycle! Most of you know that our program was in jeopardy due to the State's budget reduction of the Tobacco Trust Fund. Last week we got the good news that we have been awarded $225,000 to give out in farmer grants this year, of which around $75,000 will be granted in the Western Piedmont. We will be making grants up to $10,000 to individual and collaborative farm projects. Early Bird Applications will be accepted for review until November 22nd. Grant application deadline is December 15, 2011.

NEW THIS YEAR: Due to the reduced number of grants we will be awarding this grant cycle, we have chosen to limit applicant criteria as follows:
1. Applicants must receive 50% of their household income from farming to be eligible to apply. For community applications, at least 3 farmer leaders in the group must receive 50% of their household income from farming to be eligible to apply.
2. Farmers or groups who have received a grant through the TCRF grant program or from the Tobacco Trust Fund in the past are not eligible to apply.

Attached is the news release, flyer and a copy of the producer and community applications.

Please visit our website our website for additional details: www.ncfarmergrants.org and don't hesitate to call if you have any questions.


p.s. Due to the reduced number of grants we will be awarding this cycle, I will only be hosting 3 workshops in the Western Piedmont Region. I chose locations that would require no more than a 1.5 hour drive from the furthest points in the region. The schedule is as follows:

Lincoln County Cooperative Extension Office -- November 3, 2011. 7pm
Surry County Cooperative Extension Office -- November 8, 2011. 6pm
Cabarrus County Cooperative Extension Office -- November 14, 2011. 7pm

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eye-opening article on jobs

and the relationship between employee and employer.

I have been on both sides of the jobs equation. It is easy to sometimes forget that both sides have responsibilities. Please take a few moments to read the article below and give consideration to whether or not you are living up to your part of the agreement.

Who Owns the Jobs, Anyway?
It's a simple trade relationship

By Jim Walton
CEO, Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Indianapolis and Charlotte

Recently, I met a young man who, for the first time in his life, is self-employed. A custom cabinet maker, he specializes in high-end cabinetry for homes, offices and commercial buildings. Curious, I asked, “How did you come to be self-employed?” “I was fired,” he told me. “Because of the economy?” I asked. “No, it was because of my laziness and bad attitude, but I’ve learned a lot since being on my own.” “Really,” I asked, “like what?”

He told me that he had been employed by another cabinet company for several years and that he had become overconfident, self-absorbed and arrogant about his own value. When his employer didn’t place him on the pedestal he felt he deserved, above his co-workers, he became sullen, angry and lazy. After several months and a few heart-to-heart talks, his employer asked his to leave.
“So, what was the biggest lesson you learned from being fired?” I asked. “I learned that the job didn’t belong to me,” he said. “It belonged to my employer.”

He explained that, as an employee, he failed to understand the terms of his employment, or anyone else’s employment. Here’s how he explained it: “When anyone accepts a job, it’s not something that is given to him or her, it’s a trade arrangement. The employee is expected to show up every day, on time, work hard and do great work. The employer will then provide a pay check and competitive benefits in return. If each party honors the terms of the agreement, all will be well. When one party underperforms, breaking the promise, the deal is subject to termination.”

I was thoroughly impressed. This young man had had a revelation, but I was curious about his sudden awakening. When fired for lack of performance, employees usually just go away mad and blame the boss. “What was your moment of clarity?” I asked. “What made you suddenly see that you were the problem?”

“Because I couldn’t find another job,” he said, “I decided to take on some cabinetry work on my own. I had the tools and skills, so I decided to go for it. It was a very scary endeavor. I was fortunate that my wife had a job and we had saved a few dollars. We risked it all. Things went well and I eventually had to hire an employee. Having to deal with payroll, benefits, vacations, customer expectations, taxes, two trucks and a wife and child, I learned what it was like on the other side of the employee-employer equation.” “Looking back,” I asked, “how do you now view your previous employer?” “I would have fired me, too,” he said. “The job didn’t belong to me. It belonged to him and I disrespected my agreement with him. I broke the promise. If I had been a better employee, I would probably still be there.”

Over the past few months, I’ve attended several economic development conferences where workforce has been a presentation topic. A common theme at each conference has been about worker skills and work ethic. Even though education and training are sometimes lacking, employers are frustrated by employees who are just unwilling to show up and do the work. “In addition to laziness,” an owner of a placement firm, said, “there’s a very significant sense of entitlement out there. People expect high wages and extensive benefits from day one, and then they might consider giving the employer a day’s work. The real world just doesn’t work that way. People need to wise up.”
What I heard at these conferences was that there are numerous jobs out there for skilled workers who are willing to show up (on time), work hard and become a valuable asset to their employee.

So, back to my cabinet maker friend, here’s what I asked next. “What advice would you give someone looking for, or in, a job?” After a few moments of pondering, he said, “Without getting into the employers responsibilities to employees, which are significant, I’d make these recommendations:

1. Understand that it’s a mutually agreed upon trade relationship.
2. Clearly understand the expectations of your employer.
3. Show up on time, every day. Be completely reliable.
4. Work your butt off (His words).
5. Always, always, always over-delivered.
6. Get better. Take classes or find other ways to bring more value to the relationship.
7. Be a positive force rather than a whiner
8. Be a problem solver, not a problem.”

This guy amazed me. His experiences have transformed him. He has gone from a lazy (his word), complaining malcontent to a self-employed, happy, hard-working employer, service provider, husband and father. He takes great pride in his work, even though the hours are long and the demands are great. I found his respect for the “trade relationship” to be very refreshing. If each of us were to remember that and follow his recommendations, I’m sure workplace contentment and productivity would soar.

Have a great week,

Jim Walton