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5 easy ideas to improve farm efficiency5 easy ideas to improve farm efficiency

Family Farm Success: How to help your farm team make clear and measurable improvements this fall.

Davon Cook

September 21, 2023

2 Min Read
Combine and grain cart at sunset in soybean fieldGetty Images/Don Farrall

We hear a lot about the importance of goal setting, and particularly strategic goals in a long-term sense. It’s also impactful to set short term goals to rally and focus, despite this busy season. It connects with our shorter attention span. Just give me one thing to focus on this day, or week, or season. It’s memorable and repeatable. Books like The 12 Week Year espouse organizing your life in these shorter time segments.

Now while you’re in harvest and fall work, what is one specific thing you want to do especially well or differently this season? Share that focal point with your team.

Teams can rally behind a clear goal that’s achievable. And as important as setting the goal is discussing how you will accomplish it.

  • When/how will you remind each other? You can have some fun with this. Is there a humorous code word you could use? Or some signs or other physical reminders around the shop?

  • Who will measure it and how?

  • How will you celebrate if you succeed? Definitely have fun with this one!

Here are a few responses I’ve heard to start your thinking:

  • Increase one load per day on average to the elevator.

  • Cross-train team members in harvest equipment. Set a specific goal of hours/week.

  • Provide meal three days per week to increase team morale.

  • Each person take one day off per week during harvest push. Or each person leave early one day.

  • Organize daily maintenance/clean-up tasks to reduce the time spent by 30 minutes.

Whether your goal is similar or quite different, strive to set a culture of continuous improvement.

Be safe out there!

Davon Cook is a family business consultant at Pinion. Reach Davon at [email protected]. The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

About the Author(s)

Davon Cook

Family business consultant, Pinion

Davon Cook is a family business consultant at Pinion (formerly K Coe Isom). She helps families work well together in the business and navigate transitions in leadership and ownership. She works with farmers and ranchers all day every day and is passionate about production ag. Davon has been specializing in this area since 2012, partnering with Lance Woodbury at Ag Progress and K Coe Isom. She facilitates peer groups covering a range of strategic and technical topics, so she understands the issues producers are managing every day. Her perspective is shaped by spending ten years working in her own family’s cotton business near Lubbock, Texas, and a career spanning the ag value chain from McKinsey to ConAgra to consulting with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation throughout Africa. She welcomes comments, questions, and conversation!

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