Phil Finger is an enthusiastic young dairy farmer with definite goals in mind.

Having goals helped him gain his father’s confidence over the years, as Phil and his wife Laura, now own 50 percent of Finger Family Farm near Oconto, Wis.

Profit Tips: Young producer shaped his own destinyFor example, before buying into the farm, Phil and Laura helped implement several successful changes aimed at improving the dairy’s productivity. These included switching to sand bedding in the free-stalls rather than the existing mattresses with sawdust bedding and setting the goal of a 30,000-pound herd average. The farm’s rolling herd average now stands at 31,775 pounds.

“(My father) knew what I wanted to change,” Phil says.

Phil, 32, a 2004 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Laura, a 2003 graduate of Iowa State University, began managing the day-to-day operations of the farm in 2008. The farm now has 525 cows in the milking herd.

Besides having definite goals in place, Phil suggests that other young people in similar positions get professional advance from lawyers and tax advisers.

He agrees that he has a special father who is willing to listen to his plans and turn over control. Part of the secret has been getting his dad’s input along the way.