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Bring “beginner’s mind” to the 2021 crop year

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This mindset is key – as every growing season is unique.

Each spring, as we enter the new growing season, there are many different thoughts, opinions, and ideas around how the crop year is going to go. Different people may have very diverse ideas of how things will turn out.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course, but the truth is that no human knows exactly how the 2021 crop year – or any crop year, for that matter – will play out. Because of that, it can be helpful to take a certain mindset with regard to the upcoming crop year.

It’s in how you think

I’m thinking of a mindset known as “beginner’s mind” – and it’s applicable and helpful whether it’s your 40th year of farming or if it truly is your first year. Using “beginner’s mind” especially as we go into the new crop year and growing season can be especially helpful.

It’s key because it’s the truth that every single growing season is unique in its own way. While some crop years can have some similarities to each other, the truth is that there will be variations and differences in every single one. Because of this, even if you’ve farmed for many years, you’ll still encounter new things and new situations every single crop year.

Beginner’s mind takes into account the fact that this new crop year will be unique, and that it’s best to prepare for a variety of different scenarios. It’s important to be ready to change and adjust plans as the situation changes and evolves along the way. Farmers know that in a major way when it comes to the weather and how it can affect day to day plans in farming.

Two takes

Here are two more aspects that can benefit from taking a beginner’s mindset as we move into the growing season.

  • Marketing plans. Just as every crop year is different in terms of weather, it’s also different in terms of the particular factors that come together to influence the grain markets. Whether you’ve been marketing grain for the past thirty years or the past two, it’s important to pay attention to the particular mix that’s impacting this year’s grain markets. Be aware that just because something worked in the farm’s marketing plan last year or ten years ago, it might not necessarily be right for your operation this year. It’s key to get specific marketing plans in place each year that are tailored to your operation’s break-evens and the unique needs that you have at the time. The plans also need to change and shift as situations and conditions shift in the market. You can work with our group of market advisors for a partner in planning.
  • Overall business plans. Creating business and strategic plans for the operation is a great idea. Such plans bring a sense of where the farm is headed in the future and what must be done to get it there. But it’s also important to note that these plans need to be flexible, too, because no farm leader can ever know exactly what’s going to happen in the upcoming years. Business plans are good, but business plans that are responsive and adaptive are best.

You can get in touch with our team of market advisors or get a free trial of our marketing information service by visiting

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