Farm Futures logo

How your farm can get started using processes

This can be really helpful when complexity and size increase.

Darren Frye, CEO

May 22, 2023

3 Min Read
farmer with clipboard
Getty Images

If your farm has experienced growth in recent years – whether that’s additional employees, additional family members on the farm, more acres, added crops or new side businesses – then you as a leader might start to feel “stretched” at times.

I mean stretched in terms of the demands that fall to you as the leader. This could be anything from additional leadership and people management responsibilities to a greater need to monitor financial metrics to keep the business side on track.

For example, maybe you have more employees because your farm has grown in terms of acres or side businesses. More employees can mean you’re suddenly spending a greater amount of your time directing the work of others and answering lots of questions – about seemingly everything.

That can become frustrating for leaders, especially if they’ve spent the majority of their farming career doing the bulk of those jobs (that the employees are now doing) themselves. Add in even more people asking questions, and that can lead to some headaches for the leader.

Greater repeatability

One thing that can help farms – particularly those that are large or complex in some way – is to create and implement written processes. Using processes can help save time and energy for both farm leaders and employees alike, when a repeatable sequence is laid out in writing.

To start out, it can be most helpful to start doing this with certain tasks that are repeatable. I mean tasks that must be done multiple times during a week or month, for example. Also think about tasks where you tend to get repetitive questions from others and target those first for process creation.

Putting the process in writing is key, and so is setting it up as a step-by-step list. To test it out, you will want to run through the task yourself, using the process you’ve written down. Be sure to add in or change anything that you notice from your run-through.

Next, you can ask one of your employees to use the new process to complete the task while you’re around to observe and answer any questions they have. Ask for their feedback afterwards – is there anything else that would be helpful to include, so that the task is sure to get done correctly? Then you can refine the process a bit more before starting to have everyone on the farm use it.

Check these too

Another area to potentially put processes in place is around financial reviews or other repeatable financial tasks. These processes are more so for you as the leader or could involve any financial staff you employ as well.

You might also consider putting a process in place for major decision-making. This can particularly help if you have multiple leaders who make decisions together in the operation. Together with the other leaders or owners in your operation, you could figure out things like what types of decisions require everyone to get together for discussion, what dollar amount necessitates a discussion, and who might be individually responsible for certain decisions.

Marketing in 2023

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

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like