Farm Progress

Focus too much on one aspect of your business, and other areas could suffer.

Maria Cox, Blogger

November 23, 2018

2 Min Read

Twitter can be an endless newsfeed of the same stuff; land is too high, prices are too low, etc. But, every so often a tweet makes me pause, like this one: 


A reader might wonder, why is Maria talking about targets and bullseyes, and what does that have to do with farming?

Think about it a little, and you will realize that farming is all about hitting targets.

Here’s an example in my life.

My target for corn seed for 2019 was to get the best value for the best price possible. To hit this target, I spent days and weeks interviewing seed dealers, deciphering spreadsheets, and trying to make sense of conflicting plot data. Did I hit the bullseye? I feel like a sharpshooter because I’m going to save us 20% on seed next year while remaining confident that yield won’t suffer.

I spent a lot of time and energy to achieve this savings. During this experience, my laser-like focus on saving seed cost blinded me from possible other problems in the business. Maybe saving on seed isn’t the answer to profitability. Maybe the target should be fertility, or planting population, or something as trivial as setting the chaffer and sieve correctly.

Even more so, maybe I should grow something other than corn. Yes, there are other crops we can produce, but my target of saving cost on corn seed resulted in my oblivion to other crop opportunities.

Hit the target

I guess targets are good. Targets help us focus. Alas, I did set and hit my target on saving seed cost. Even though I’m happy about that accomplishment, after reading that tweet it makes me wonder if I hit a target that I shouldn’t have set in the first place.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

About the Author(s)

Maria Cox


Maria Cox is a sixth generation grain, livestock, and hay farmer from White Hall, Ill.  She has been farming with her family since 2012, and also has experience in grain marketing and crop insurance.  She holds a M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and a B.S. in Agribusiness from the University of Illinois. You can find her online at and twitter @mariacoxfarm.

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