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Watch for 3 traps when setting 2023 goals

The new year presents a unique time for planning and goal setting.

Darren Frye

January 3, 2023

3 Min Read
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Getty/iStockphoto/Siam Pukkato

It’s the start of a brand-new year – and it’s a time when many people begin to think about new plans, goals, and intentions for the upcoming months.

Maybe last month you already started working on some goals and plans for your farm business for 2023. Savvy farm leaders are taking along lessons and insights from running their operations in 2022 into this new year to help inform their planning. And they’ve also let go of any anxiety or worry that won’t serve them well in the upcoming crop year.

Setting goals for a new year is a smart idea – but there’s one thing you will want to get clear on first. That’s the ‘why’ behind your goals. Your ‘why’ is what drives you – and ultimately, your operation, toward taking the right actions to fully achieve your goals.

Avoid three traps

It can be easy to fall into three different traps when setting 2023 goals.

  1. Setting goals based on what you think you ‘should’ do. This one is incredibly easy to fall into – and for good reason. It’s based on looking at the outside – at other farm operators and what they’re doing – before deciding that your farm needs to work toward a certain goal. It’s not a bad thing in itself to be aware of what other top farms are doing, but it can become a trap if you start to set goals for your farm solely based on what seems to be making others successful. The reason is that your operation is different from all other farms. It has a different history, circumstances, soil, geography, people involved, financial situation, landlords, and so on. Your farm’s goals for 2023 must be based on your operation’s current unique situation – not on perceptions about anyone else’s operation.

  2. Setting goals that aren’t based in financial reality. Another trap that’s easy to step in is to set goals that aren’t necessarily realistic or achievable from a financial perspective. When you’re thinking about goals for the upcoming year, each goal needs to be formed from a deep understanding of your own operation and your vision of where you want it to be in the future. That means taking a good look at where you, as the leader, are at in your farming career – as well as what you want to be doing in 5-10 years. Your goals for 2023 should reflect that longer-term outlook and must account for what that means financially for your operation. You can get a deeper understanding of this by doing a financial review of your operation with your advisors this winter.

  3. Setting goals that don’t have a meaningful ‘why.’ I mentioned this above, but it’s going to be nearly impossible to continue making progress toward a major goal that doesn’t have a ‘why’ behind it that’s deeply meaningful to you. Your ‘why’ will usually come from your long-term vision for the operation and what you want it to become. It can come from the big reason(s) why you farm (ones that go beyond making a living). The ‘why’ needs to be big enough that it can continue to drive you toward progress even when the going gets tough.

2023 markets

Now is the right time to be creating marketing plans for this new year and beyond. A market advisor can help with providing education, marketing tools, and market planning for your unique operation and your future goals.

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.waterstreetconsulting.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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