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Planting done? Check in with farm’s goals

Keep goals relevant with a mid-year review.

Spring and early summer are always very busy seasons on the farm. There’s a lot to do within a specific time window – and to get it done right. If you’re the farm’s leader, you’re probably spending quite a bit of time making sure work is getting coordinated, important last-minute changes or decisions are being made, and that the business side of your operation continues running smoothly.

Often during spring and early summer, it seems like there isn’t much time for anything in the farm business other than the actual logistics and work of planting and spraying. It’s absolutely critical to get the crop in the ground correctly – you don’t really get a second chance to make sure that happens right.

However, the farm business can start to get off-track when the focus of everybody, even leadership, is only on daily operations. The farm’s leader or leaders need to keep an eye on the bigger picture of what’s happening with the overall operation. This helps continue generating momentum toward the farm’s main business goals.

How are we doing?

Once planting is complete, start by taking some time to “zoom out” for the big picture. The farm’s main leader or leaders can take some intentional time to look at and review any business goal-setting that was previously done for the 2020 crop year. Or maybe you hadn’t set goals for your operation yet – this is a good opportunity to do so. It’s the right time to step back, take a deep breath and ask “How are we doing?”

You may find that some of the goals have gone by the wayside or just haven’t been a huge focus during the first five months of 2020. That’s understandable – there have been some major unforeseen circumstances at play this year – namely, the global pandemic.

If this is the case for your operation, there’s no need to worry. Use your review time as a chance to reprioritize your business goals and decide on a couple simple action steps to implement right away and help your operation get back on track.

Maybe you find that some of the goals aren’t as relevant anymore, or you determine that there’s a different goal or priority that would have a bigger impact on your operation. It’s all right to make changes – farm business goals need to stay relevant to your business, or they become completely useless.

Where are we going?

As your farm business grows and changes, you will need to adjust your goals and find appropriate metrics to measure your progress toward those goals. Putting feedback systems in place will help the operation continue to make progress and ensure that goals are still relevant to where you want your business heading in the future.

Part of your “big picture” review needs to include a financial review of where the operation is at right now and projections for the 2020 crop year. Getting a good financial view of your business helps inform the rest of your goals. That way, you know where you’re at and can make decisions according to the numbers.

Having a good handle on your farm’s overall goals and financial snapshot are both important when it comes to creating and executing marketing plans for your operation. Our market advisors work with you to get that view of your operation and then help tailor plans to your unique operation’s needs and goals.

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