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December 27, 2021
When I ask the question, “Did your farm have a good year in 2021?”, what first comes to mind? Other than first a simple “yes” or “no”, what aspects do you think about when measuring your farm’s success over the past year?
Perhaps what first comes to mind is whether your farm had good overall yields in 2021. Or maybe you think about it from a financial standpoint – whether or not the operation had a profitable year. More than likely, there’s a whole combination of different factors that come together when you evaluate whether you think your operation had a good 2021.
A very large percentage of farmers are saying they believe they had a good year in 2021 – however that’s precisely defined by them and their individual operation. That’s great! Make sure to take some time, both personally and as a farm team, to celebrate the successes of the past year.
As we move into 2022, the question then becomes: How can we build on the success that we had in 2021? What’s the best way to use that momentum as a springboard into 2022?
While in farming it’s true that one year can vary greatly from the next – with factors like weather and markets beyond our direct control – how can the farm’s leadership harness positive results and successes from a “good” year?
Here are three ideas you can personalize for your own operation as you build your 2022 plans and strategy.
Analyze the actions that contributed to success. Take some time to review decisions and actions that were made for the 2021 year that helped contribute to the farm’s success. Focus only on factors that were in your direct control – for example, the marketing decisions you made (under your direct control) rather than what the markets did in 2021 (out of your direct control). What other plans, actions or decisions made a difference in creating a successful year? Create a list of these – the more specific you can be, the better.
Plan to build on your farm’s areas of strength. Sometimes it can be more efficient and worthwhile to build on the aspects of the farm that are currently the strongest and most effective areas driving success in your operation. Zero in on the top areas of excellence in your operation – what are you currently really good at that’s driving success? Then you can make plans for how to advance those areas even further – sometimes that might mean just a bit of tweaking for huge results.
Know which goals you achieved and reset with that in mind. You already know where your farm smashed goals in 2021, where a goal was met just barely, and areas where a goal wasn’t met during the year. Right now, focus on those areas where the goals were met when thinking about 2022 goals. Set the target a bit further, along with a plan for how to build on the current strength in that area.
Another topic on farmers’ minds moving into winter and 2022 is marketing plans – and where the grain markets may be heading into the new year. A tailored marketing plan that’s flexible with market moves is key.
Our market advisors partner with and bring education around different marketing tools. They also help farmer clients with planning and execution around marketing decisions.
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. Or learn more about our market advisor programs and offerings at www.waterstreetconsulting.com.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.
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.
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