Farm Progress

Use sense of responsibility to take action on future plans

Darren Frye, CEO

July 3, 2017

3 Min Read
Stephen Morton/Getty Images

As our nation celebrates freedom and the freedoms that we have in this country, I’ve also been thinking about the freedoms we experience as part of our farming careers. Farming and being a farmer comes with quite a bit of freedom – leading and running our own business, setting our own schedule and the great variety we get to experience in what we’re doing each day.

We may be very grateful for these opportunities and some of them may be the reasons we chose to have a farming career in the first place. It may be wrapped up in our passion for the land and dedication to carrying on our family’s tradition of farming. Maybe we’ve never wanted to do anything else.

As with any freedom, responsibilities come along with it. And for the farm’s leader, those responsibilities to guide and direct the operation into the best possible future can come with some stress.

Taking responsibility

The flip side of freedom is the fact that we’re in charge of deciding what to do – where we’re leading our operation. That sense of both freedom and responsibility can make farm leaders think:

  • How can I know if I’m making the right decisions to make my farm more successful?

  • What information do I need to make the best financial decisions for my operation?

  • How do I know when the next generation on my farm is ready to lead?

  • How can I best prepare us when the future seems so uncertain?

  • What should we do as we’re looking at major decisions – like buying land or equipment?

If you’ve ever asked these questions, know that you’re not alone. Many farmers have this sense of responsibility – to themselves, to others in the operation, even to those who went before them – that drives them to want to steward and lead the business in the best possible way. They want to make sure they’re making the best possible decisions now – because of the impact on future generations to come.

Looking at opportunities

The farm leader has the opportunity to be proactive about how they go about ensuring the future they want for the operation. That can mean making a commitment to getting the right information and data to lead the farm by the numbers.

It may mean looking at the current leadership strengths and weaknesses of the farm’s next generation – and making a plan to get them the skills and training that they’ll need. Maybe it’s working on certain skills in yourself – whether that’s developing better relationships with your lender and landlords, or building a team of trusted advisors around yourself with expertise and perspective you can draw on.

I believe the best farmers take the feelings of responsibility that come from the great freedoms and opportunities we have in farming – and use that to propel themselves into greater dedication and analysis of what they can do right now to bring about a better and even more successful future for the operation.

What’s your next step to build the future you want for your operation? You can discuss that with one of our advisors and start getting your plan in place.

Read the new summer issue of the Smart Series publication, bringing business ideas for today’s farm leader. This issue includes perspectives on how to make your farm business more competitive, financial best practices, key ratios for leaders to watch, and more.

About the Author(s)

Darren Frye

CEO, Water Street Solutions

Darren Frye grew up on an innovative, integrated Illinois farm. He began trading commodities in 1982 and started his first business in 1987, specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. In 1994 he started a consulting business, Water Street Solutions to help Midwest farmers become more successful through financial analysis, crop insurance, marketing consulting and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spreadsheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

Visit Water Street Solutions

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