The Mehmen’s situation is likely familiar to a majority of the mid to large size farms across North America. Their adherence to family values and continuing their tradition of being an independent, family owned and operated farm had become the very reason they were not seeing very much of each other.
Long hours throughout the year were common as, like many operations, Stan and Kyle themselves were doing it all. This affected their ability to focus on both business management and production practices adequately, but it was also taking a toll on their ability to spend time with their families.
The Mehmens were strongly committed to solving this challenge and ending the cycle of 15 hour days, so they began to brainstorm ideas and elicited the help of FamilyFarms Group to ensure that their priority of spending time with one another without sacrificing quality of work on the farm could be achieved.
With FamilyFarms Group’s direction, MBS adopted a variety of processes and standardizations, structure and assignment of responsibilities. This has allowed MBS to understand when someone is doing “too much,” duplicating efforts, or if they need additional resources. Stan and Karmen are freed up from all daily work to do more project work, which allows them to be gone during the week if they choose (i.e. – grandkids), and to take extended vacations in the winter.
Now they all come home, and can “leave work at the office,” only doing the functions they wish to do themselves. In the past, if they weren’t there, it didn’t get done. Now, because of their management structure and control systems, they can leave when they need to and still ensure quality and accuracy.
Karmen Mehmen explains
“Because we decided that family time was a core value for MBS, we worked with FamilyFarms Group to structure our tasks accordingly, and ensure that increased time with family could become a reality. We are now to the point that we refrain from working on Sundays, freeing ourselves and our employees to go to church, see relatives, take a nap, prepare for the week, and just take a break.
In addition to vacations, we take two separate weeks away from the farm to assemble plans for the business and for personal development of ourselves – making ourselves better – and enjoy time together away from the daily work. Through working with FamilyFarms Group, we learned, implemented, adjusted and readjusted, and adopted practices to meet our goals, and we are a much better family farm because of our involvement.
The return is that now we have the increased time with family that is so important to us and have made this part of the job description for everyone at MBS Family Farms.”
MBS Family Farms is a fifth-generation farming operation in north central Iowa where Stan and Karmen Mehmen began farming together as newlyweds in 1976. Son Kyle and his wife Kerri joined the operation in July of 2005. A charter member, MBS Family Farms has been actively participating in FamilyFarms Group since 2006.
What Was Said
“Because we decided that family time was a core value for MBS — we worked with Family Farms Group to structure our tasks accordingly, and ensure that increased time with family could become a reality.”