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Finance First: Excitement and uncertainty abound during spring on the farm. Focus on these three things to keep your business on track.

Darren Frye, CEO

March 25, 2024

3 Min Read
Midwest cornfield in spring at sunset
Getty Images/Lana2011

If you grew up on a farm or spent much time on one growing up, you’ve had a sense of what it’s like to feel the anticipation of spring – when it’s not quite time to plant yet, but everyone knows it’s about to happen soon.

The hope of a new growing season can often bring up a whole mix of different emotions. There are the hopes and plans for planting and growing the new crop. Then there’s the uncertainty and perhaps even anxiety around all the unknowns of the coming year.

Focal point

That makes for an interesting mix – and it can be an emotional one, for sure. No one can know exactly what’s going to happen with weather and markets during the 2024 growing season. In fact, it can be counterproductive spending a great deal of time or energy trying to figure that out, since no one can predict the future.

So what’s a farm leader to do? With so many unknowns, the best thing to do is to plan to control what you can control – and place your focus on where you can make the biggest impact. As a leader, your greatest impact will likely happen where you work on plans for your business and then work to execute those plans.

3 things for the spring

Here are three areas to keep your eye on this spring.

  1. Keep communication going. Plan to keep your banker in the loop this spring. Regular and consistent communication – even during the busy season – can go a long way to keep them connected with you and your farm. When they hear from you regularly, you can give them updates on what’s happening in your operation. Keep landlords in the loop this spring as well – perhaps you could even bring some of them out to the farm for a special field day.

  2. Keep an eye on your business plans. The ag operating environment and the markets certainly keep moving and changing, even during busy seasons. Plan now how you will stay informed and be able to adjust your business plans as needed. Having someone to keep an eye on the markets for you all the time, but especially during your busiest seasons, can be very helpful. You can enlist the help of a market advisor for your farm who can help you set up marketing plans and help with adjustments as the market moves.

  3. Keep it all going. One of the most important things you can do now is to set up your mindset for the spring busy season. Recognizing that you will be most impactful if you focus on what you can control, rather than what you can’t, is the foundation for a positive business mindset this spring. With that in mind as your starting point, you can plan for the best ways to spend your time to build a successful operation.

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 www.waterstreetag.com.

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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