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Ask these 3 questions about major farm decisions

Getty/iStockphoto Two people shaking hands with tractor in background
Does your decision align with your business plan? Use these tools to think through big purchases or decisions.

As the leader of your farm operation, there are so many different choices you’re making – on a daily basis – for your farm. From the mundane to the major, there’s always some type of decision to make or several choices to consider.

Maybe you’re managing a team of people and are responsible to decide what each of them is supposed to do on any given day. Or maybe a piece of land comes up for sale in the area – and you have to decide whether the operation will pursue it or not.

Decision fatigue

It’s not easy to have to call so many shots every single day. There’s even a term for it – “decision fatigue” – that describes the burn-out feeling or inability to make any decision that can start to creep up on a leader, potentially as the workday progresses.

There are ways to combat that fatigue, such as using built-in processes for routine decisions or delegating some of the decision-making to other family members or employees.

But no matter what, there will still be certain decisions – usually the larger, higher-impact ones – that will be the leader’s responsibility. So how do you figure out what the best decision is for your operation?

Three questions to ask

There are several things to consider, especially when it comes to the biggest decisions the leader must make. Here are a few questions to ask.

  1. Does this decision align with our goals and values? When there’s a big decision to be made (and this should come into play with smaller decisions too), the major goals for the future of the operation need to be held up next to it. What I mean is that what you’re choosing to do now needs to be done with the big goals of the operation in mind – that doing this will move you closer to those goals. Hold the values of the operation next to the potential decision as well – the farm’s values serve as a guide in decision-making, like a compass.
  2. Does the decision make sense financially for our operation? Professional farm operations that want to grow and thrive into the future need to make sure that all major decisions make financial sense for the operation as a whole. Decisions need to be run by the numbers to get a sense of the financial impact and how it will affect the metrics of the operation, too. The numbers can reveal a lot that might not be apparent right on the surface – so it’s very important to run feasibility studies on large purchases like land and high-dollar equipment.
  3. Have we sized up the opportunity that’s at stake? This will apply more to some decisions than others. When there is an opportunity for the operation that’s involved in the decision, how can you work to determine the potential impact that it may have on your operation? Doing this means being able to envision the future of where you want your operation to be in the next five to ten years, and then trying in some way to quantify what this opportunity may mean in terms of moving the operation toward success.

Where are 2022 markets headed?

It’s important to be able to confidently make decisions around grain marketing plans and execution. You might choose to work with one of our market advisors. They 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.

Or 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. 


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