January 3, 2022
The new year is here, and once again it’s a time when many people take the opportunity to look back at the year we just completed – and to look forward expectantly.
Both personally and professionally, it can be good to take a bit of time to do this review. In your profession – your career as a farmer – you might take this as an opportunity to get strategic about the upcoming year. I’m thinking of that in terms of planning, goal-setting and taking a look at the bigger picture of life and farming.
Why and how
First, it’s time to look at your “why.” Why do you farm? Maybe you love building a solid, stable operation that will be able to transfer to the next generation. Maybe you enjoy building your business and working to improve it year after year. For many farmers, it’s not just about earning a living – it tends to go beyond that. Answer this: What is your “why”?
Then you can work on your business and financial plans, your farm’s marketing plans for the new year, and any plans for growth and how to achieve that growth. Get the “how” down in terms of what you want to do in your operation this year and how you plan to go about doing it.
Then, you can think about making a commitment – or really, a recommitment – to a couple different aspects in 2022. Here are three different areas to make that recommitment.
To farming. I’ve mentioned it many times on this blog, but it’s key that you enjoy what you do as a farmer – that you’re passionate about it. Sure, there might be some areas or aspects of running a farm operation that you might not be quite as passionate about. It’s usually best to focus primarily within your top areas of strength and passion – where you really shine as a farm leader – and you often can hand off or outsource some of the other aspects you’re not as passionate about. That can help you keep that passion for farming burning – while not getting “burnt out” from having to spend a lot of time on areas you just aren’t passionate about. Consider how you can recommit to farming and your farming career in 2022. How can you plan to keep your passion for farming going without getting burnt out?
To those on your farm. Whether it’s the family members you farm with, your employees, or a mix of both, the people on the farm are enormous factors when it comes to the level of success the operation can achieve. An engaged team of people with a shared mission and vision can move mountains – while the opposite can lead to lots of dysfunction (that you don’t want to have to deal with)! Think about how you can make a recommitment to the people in your operation – those you lead and work with every day. How can you foster that shared mission and vision – and show each team member how their specific work contributes to those goals?
To your goals. Speaking of goals, once you have your business, financial and marketing plans for 2022 ironed out in terms of the “how,” now it’s time to make a serious commitment to achieving them. Maybe some of the goals seem lofty – but they can be brought down to earth through specific action plans that you work at each day. The action you take toward each big goal might seem small at first, but the key is to keep taking the right actions in your plan. You’ll make progress and create momentum that you can build upon. Sometimes the hardest step is the first one – but it’s the most important one to take!
What business goals do you have for your farm in 2022? Do you have a specific, actionable plan to help you and your team get there? How will your farm’s marketing plan support those goals?
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The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.
About the Author(s)
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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