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Can leaders really do it all during planting season?

Darren Frye, CEO

April 17, 2023

3 Min Read
Farmers shaking hands with tractor in background
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Planting season on the farm is so crucial for many reasons – and if you’re a farm leader, I’m certain that you’re already aware of all of them. Knowing that the farm only gets one chance to get the crop in the ground right this year can lead to a lot of busy, hard work and also some feelings of uncertainty.

Farm leaders have so many different “hats” to wear in the springtime too. There’s a great deal to coordinate and manage, especially if your operation is complex or has a lot of moving pieces. Leaders can easily find themselves working extremely long days during the busy season, even if they’re not the ones operating the machinery.

Pacing it

Today’s farm operations sure require a great deal of management skill from leaders. And because the pace of the global economy and ag markets moves quickly year-round, it’s just as important to stay on top of your farm’s financial and marketing plans in the busy seasons.

That’s easier said than done, though, so what can leaders do to stay on top of these important management aspects of their operations? Here are three tips to help as you work to keep your business and production priorities aligned this spring.

Three tips

  1. Set up business metrics to monitor on the go. Having a handful of key financial metrics for your business that you can quickly and easily take a look at – even during busy seasons – allows you to keep your operation on-course. Work to get metrics set up that are relevant to your business’ key drivers, aligned with what needs to happen for your operation to be successful, and then set up ways for easy calculation that you can use at a glance, even when you’re on the go during spring. Then you can use your metrics to make small management tweaks to help the farm stay better on course year-round.

  2. Create a small chunk of time for business. It might seem impossible to have any time to actually sit down and work on the farm’s finances and marketing plans, but it can and should be done for the best business results. It doesn’t need to be a lot of time – maybe once a week, for perhaps an hour or half hour – where you focus solely on your farm’s business side and your role as the business leader. Let others on your farm know when that time will be. You can even use this opportunity to put your farm’s successor leader in charge for that hour. They will be the go-to person for any questions or in the moment decisions instead of you, just for that small time window. Doing this can make a huge difference for your level of effectiveness as a farm business leader!

  3. Work with an advisor. Many farmers who choose to work with advisors on their farm’s marketing or financial plans often say they find quite a bit of peace of mind especially during busy seasons – because they have someone else on their team. Working with an advisor and checking in with them about your marketing and financial plans can be helpful when you’re spending a lot of time in the field coordinating activities and operations. Since the market doesn’t stop shifting just because it’s planting season, having someone to keep an eye on the markets and helping with plans and execution can be a game-changer.

Marketing in 2023

Farmers have found that getting some third-party perspective from our market advisors has helped ease their minds. The advisors help farmer clients with planning and execution around marketing decisions and help keep them up to speed on the current rapidly-changing grain market situation – and how it impacts their operation.

Get a free two-week trial of our marketing information service (MarketView Basic). Your free trial includes regular audio and video updates, technical analysis, recommendations and more. Learn more about our market advisor programs and offerings at

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

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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