Do you understand the whys behind what happens on the farm?

Do grain cart drivers understand why a combine driver wants them to drive just so? And do those planning farm estates understand why it's important to organize things a certain way? Myron Friesen said explaining the "why" behind how things are done on the farm can make all the difference.

A John Deere combine, largely obscured by tall mature corn, unloads corn into a John Deere grain cart pulled by a John Deere tractor. It is somewhat dark, and the sky has hints of pink and blue.
If the grain cart operator learns why a combine driver wants them to drive a certain way, that can help communication and understanding on the farm. Similarly, understanding why farm estate plans should be set up and organized a certain way can cut down on headaches for the next generation, Myron Friesen says.
Erin Ehnle Brown / Grand Vale Creative LLC
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When working together with other people, if you’re the one in charge, sometimes you simply need people to do what they are told. However, as time goes on it is really valuable for people to understand why something is being done in a certain way.

For example, as I drive the combine, the grain cart operator is really important. I like to be unloading at a certain speed but there are a few things that may cause a variation to that speed such as moisture, yield, terrain and harvestability of the variety, etc. If you are the combine operator, you know what I mean and likely have been frustrated with your cart operator. If you say you have never been frustrated, well I think you are probably lying.

If you’re the grain cart driver you know how valuable it is if the semi comes into the field and is parked straight so you can pull up beside them. If you drive the semi, it sure is nice if the grain cart driver doesn’t leave a lot of piles of wet corn that mess with your tarp closing.

All of these are related. They are not really just about being a picky jerk but really understanding why something is important.

Sometimes I’ve had the grain cart driver ride in the combine with me so I could explain what I’m seeing and why I say what I say. Usually they respond, “Oh, now I understand why you say that.”


In life, understanding "why" can be a real game changer, as it can affect your decision making and often times improves relationships.

When I meet with clients for estate planning, I do a fact finder and sometimes my head starts to hurt because I realize how unorganized their estate is. Why does it make my head hurt? They really don’t know how complicated they are making things for a spouse or their family in the future. I just know from prior experience that something is going to get frustrating and confusing in the future. They possibly never knew why something should be done a certain way or why something was really important.

On the other hand, I’ve met and helped people get very neat and organized estate and financial documents. They want all the important details for rent, buyouts and desired distributions clearly defined in legal documents. I asked them why they were so determined to be organized and they respond that things were a mess and very confusing when their parents passed away, and they didn't want that to happen with their estates. They understood why.

Some people immediately start moaning when recalling how miserable it was dealing with other family members in a previous generation. They know it did not end well, but do they understand why it did not end well? Once they understand why they become motivated on how to avoid those same problems.

I should be clear that not everyone changes even after they learn why they should. I am convinced that some people are born with the DNA that enjoys misery. So even after experiencing something bad they do not change just so someone else can experience being miserable as part of their inheritance.

As for me and my house, and our farm and business employees, I am usually much better off explaining why rather than just telling someone do to something. If I can explain "why" that completely changes our relationship and their motivation.

Myron Friesen is the co-owner of Farm Financial Strategies Inc. in Osage, Iowa. He can be contacted at 866-524-3636 or

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