Dairy Enterprise Services helps farmers plan for the future

Helping to answer the question "What's Next?" for dairy member businesses

Land O'Lakes, Inc. Member Services

When farmers ask Greg Squires how Dairy Enterprise Services (DairyES) can benefit their operations, he says it provides them with an answer to an often problematic question: What’s next for their business?

Since 1999, Dairy Enterprise Services has offered an array of highly-specialized consulting in business and financial planning nationally for the dairy industry, including both dairy producers and agribusinesses. The service is now actively integrated into the suite of Land O’Lakes member products and services.

“Just about everything I do on a farm could be linked to that phrase,” says Greg, who has managed the service since it began. “It’s about putting together a plan that improves their business and puts them in a stronger position for the future.”

Those using the fee-based consulting service range in size from hundreds of cows to thousands in more than 30 states. Squires says it gives clients direction both financially and operationally through the service’s detailed and personalized assessment and analysis.

Dairy Enterprise Services is a staff of one: Greg himself. He calls himself a “numbers guy who also knows what needs to happen in the barns to make the checkbook work" thanks to his years working in dairy feed and nutrition before joining the service.

Building awareness among members who might not know the service is a top goal. Since it began, it has always been accessible to the entire U.S. dairy industry. That continues, but members get priority.

“Change management and focusing on continuous improvement are concepts that can have a real impact when we focus a little bit more on them at home,” he says.

Greg says the service helps dairy operations in three different ways: strategic business planning, project planning, and part-time chief financial officer (CFO) services. Sometimes, he says, a client doesn’t have specific changes to their business plan in mind. But, he adds, they know the way they’ve been doing business needs to evolve.

He travels from his Ashland, Ohio, office to meet new clients, where he assesses their needs over two days. He tailors plans to meet the specific needs of each operation.

“I want to hear them describe how they individually and collectively portray a vision for what they want the farm to look like 20 years from now, and what it may need to look like 20 years from now,” he says. “Those can be two different things."

Some operators come to Dairy Enterprise Services with a project in mind—whether it’s an expansion or relocation. “They want someone to help perform economics for that project while it’s still on paper,” he says.

Also offered is a part-time CFO service to help operations who are sophisticated enough to create improvement processes resulting from detailed financial analyses. “That’s an ongoing kind of relationship—month to month,” he says. “Helping prepare budgets, budgets to actual comparisons, deep dives on cost analysis. Anything you can imagine that would fit under that hat.”

Though it’s not a primary focus of the service, Squires has helped families broach succession planning as well.

"There are a lot of sensitive conversations and leading families through some tough conversations that they have the natural human tendency of only skimming the surface or trying to sweep under the rug," he says. "We're helping them get a start on some of those sometimes difficult discussions.”

To learn more about Dairy Enterprise Services, contact Greg Squires at 419-282-6244 or by email at  gsquires@DairyES.com. You can also visit www.DairyES.com.