By Paige Gilligan
I am often asked, “Paige, why did you start your own agricultural consulting firm?” While the reasons are simple and straightforward, the road getting to where the business is today is more like a drive from Fresno to Bass Lake than California City to Barstow. After working in the financial services industry for many years, I saw the pain and struggles that producers and agribusinesses had understanding the value of their collateral. “Why aren’t my assets valued the same for financing, insurance, and taxes?” is a question I heard often. Some owners were overzealous in their estimates while others were very conservative in their values.
The second area of concern I saw throughout my career was that producers did not view their farming operation as a business. They did what they did because their family had been in the business or they had a passion for farming. While profit was always the goal, efficiency and optimizing assets was not on their radar. They did not prepare management reports, review their inventory regularly, or have plans written down.
I started Risk Mitigators & Advisors to address both issues, valuation and risk management, and provide producers and agribusinesses with a holistic approach to risk management. The best decisions are made when you have facts (good data) and take the emotion out of the process (independence). We help businesses be the best they can be by taking the time to learn their values and mission and develop business management strategies that are tailored to their risk level.
What sets us apart from other firms is our enterprise risk management approach to agriculture. We believe the best decisions are those that match your values with the tasks to meet the desired goal. The path to greatness is rarely the same for everyone. It is for that reason that our services are not “cookie cutter” ideas. We treat each client and their business as a work of fine art giving the care, concentration and consideration that is required to reach the desired result. Enterprise risk management takes into consideration the whole operation (business) and not just the individual areas (growing costs, labor, accounting, taxes, etc.). For example, a producer may have their PCA (Pest Control Advisor) telling them to do things one way, their banker telling them they need information a different way, and their CPA telling them that they need to structure things altogether differently. This daily ritual can be overwhelming at times and lead to frustration. The key to minimizing stress is understanding which risks are worth taking and which ones are not. There are risks with every decision. Risk Mitigators assists businesses with understanding the potential risks of business decisions and matches the necessary tasks to their acceptable risk level. In the end, the goals are achieved more quickly and with less stress.
Because we are a relationship-based company and not sales-based, we support our clients through all economic cycles and management (or generational) changes. The business of agriculture is ever evolving and so are our services. We strive to stay attuned to the latest trends and information and provide clear, concise reports that pull together all the information from various sources and provide growers/producers/agribusinesses with solutions that fit their business needs. For example, if you have decided to expand your operations, you may need to decide which parcels would be the best fit. Is it the parcel adjacent to your other parcel, the parcel two miles away in another irrigation district, or the larger parcel located in another county? While an appraiser will provide you an appraisal report on all the parcels which includes all the pertinent information along with an opinion of value, they do not compare the multiple parcels to determine which one would be best for your business. That is where we fit in. Real estate is one of the biggest purchases that businesses make, the decision should not be made solely on price or location. That is where our independent view can assist and reduce the emotional response. The parcel across the road may not have a dedicated well; the other water district may not be as reliable as the one you are in; the ground in the other county may have better soil than you currently have. All the information needs to be balanced with your goals to help you make the best decision. Just because you may be able to get the parcel across the road for a cheaper price, you need to ask yourself how that purchase will move the needle forward on your business plan.
As can be seen, our principles are straight forward. We help ag businesses turn their passion into exceptional operational performance that increases their profitability. All of these things allow us to live our mission: to make a difference in agriculture each day by uniting, inspiring, and providing the highest level of customer service to producers and businesses across the value chain.
Next month I will share a business example of how a water risk assessment could help you with planning for the future and SGMA. Until then, feel free to call, click or stop by (physically distancing of course).
Paige Gilligan is the owner of Risk Mitigators & Advisors. Ms. Gilligan has over 25 years of collateral valuation experience throughout the western United States. Before starting Risk Mitigators & Advisors, Ms. Gilligan served as a Senior Vice President with Rabobank, N.A. located in the central valley of California. There she was responsible for collateral risk for the bank on all real estate secured term loans and personal property secured working capital commercial loans.
Risk Mitigators & Advisors
2525 Alluvial Avenue, Suite 151
Clovis, CA 93611
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