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Finance First: Use these three tips to check off those pesky, often-avoided farm responsibilities.

Darren Frye, CEO

March 18, 2024

4 Min Read
Farmer taking notes on clipboard
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I think farm leaders are the masters of getting things done. On any given day on the farm, farmers wear any number of different hats and different roles requiring many skills, ranging from agronomist to HR manager to operations manager to marketer – far too many to list here!

In any single hour of the day leading a farm, the farmer may have to shift between 10-20 different “roles” that they play on the farm – or maybe even more than that. It all depends on the complexity of the operation and what needs to get done.

This is why I believe farmers are the masters of getting it done, whatever “it” is! They have learned to do whatever the operation requires of them at that moment, especially if they’re the leader and ultimately responsible for the farm and its results.

Keeping it in front

Getting things done can come more easily when it’s something that you either love to do or feel that you’re very competent at that particular task or activity. It can become a bit more challenging at times to dig into something that’s either not your favorite thing to do, or something that you’re less familiar with or haven’t ever done at all.

Choosing to get those things done can seem like a tougher proposition. But it’s important when you’re the farm’s leader with a business to run to make sure it succeeds. There will be certain tasks or activities that will vary from leader to leader that tend to get put on the back burner.

Sometimes these tasks are the very same ones that will really help propel the success of the operation into the future, yet they can get pushed to the back burner. It might be that there are more pressing, urgent tasks that the leader must deal with first – and there are always going to be seasons when that needs to happen more often.

But when this continues to happen, these less-urgent, not “favorite” activities can go by the wayside altogether – yet if they are critical for farm success, they really need to get done. So how can farm leaders choose to get these things done, as well?

Three ideas

Here are three things to try to help make sure the hard things are getting done.

  1. Identify. First, figure out what these particular activities are for you. What tends to get pushed to the back burner? It might be something you’re just not as naturally attracted to doing or don’t enjoy. It could even be something you don’t feel you have as strong of a background in, or would like some more assistance with. Many farmers find that certain aspects of the business of farming fall into this category for them – whether it’s the farm’s marketing plans, the farm’s financial plans, and so on. Working with an advisor for your farm in those areas can be a good place to start.

  2. Schedule. Next, what gets scheduled gets done. Determine the level of priority for these activities – how impactful are they on the overall success of your operation? The higher the impact, the more likely you may need to schedule working on them to ensure that it gets done. Figure out what you need to schedule – and then commit to working on it during that time frame.

  3. Commit. Commit to doing the hard stuff. While it can feel intimidating to start working on something we’re not naturally drawn to or believe may be challenging for us, the results will be worth it. Break it down into smaller steps so you can attempt it bit by bit, building your confidence. Get help from someone experienced in helping others with that particular area. Don’t worry if you’re not a master right away – in fact, acknowledge that you probably won’t be. But choose to move forward anyway. Everyone has been a beginner at some point with everything that they do!

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

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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