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What to do when uncertainty runs high

Allexxandar/iStock/Getty Images Growing plant. Green sprout growing from seed.
Spring brings hope and anticipation – but also questions.

As planting season quickly approaches, it’s exciting but can also be a time of much uncertainty. Many questions start to come up about what the upcoming crop year will be like – and with those questions comes some anxiety and uncertainty.

Farm leaders know that many questions about how the year will turn out won’t be answered for at least several months. So what’s a farmer to do during a time of high uncertainty?

Very often, farm leaders can find themselves going around in circles in their minds about whatever they’re feeling most anxious or uncertain about regarding the crop year. For many farmers, those feelings often tie back to the markets, marketing decisions and how the operation will be impacted.

Not alone

A farm leader can begin to feel like their mind is stuck in a rut as thoughts and anxieties about the market come back on repeat. If you have these types of thoughts and concerns going into the 2021 crop year, know you’re not alone.

Often, the best thing to do in this situation is to start by proactively doing what you can. That can help remove some of the uncertainty and anxious feelings, when you know you’ve done what you can through planning and looking at different scenarios.

Do these three

Here are three things you can do if you’re dealing with a lot of market uncertainty this spring.

  1. Get information. The more you know about whatever it is that’s causing your uncertainty, the better equipped you’ll be to deal with it. If the markets are causing those feelings, then ask yourself how you can educate yourself further about them. Learning more about what makes grain markets move and different tools that are available can be a big help. You might work with someone who is willing to be your teacher and help you master elements of marketing you’re currently unfamiliar with.
  2. Get advice. Sometimes hearing the perspective of a third party that’s outside of your farm operation can be insightful. Many farmers have found that working with a market advisor for their farms has helped reduce their anxiety around the market, leading to greater peace of mind. Having someone to bounce ideas off of and help keep an eye on the markets for you helps take some of the load off your shoulders as the leader.
  3. Get a plan in place. Having a flexible, dynamic marketing plan for your farm is probably the greatest key to help reduce springtime anxiety. The plan should be tailored to your unique operation and critical financial information, such as your break-evens, cash flow and business goals. As the market shifts and changes throughout the growing season, the plan should be able to shift right along with it, taking new information into account. Having a market advisor who can keep your plan in step with the changing market is the key. When decision times arise, they can act as a sounding board to help you make the decisions that are right for your operation.

You can start by getting in touch with our team of market advisors or get a free trial of our marketing information service by visiting www.waterstreetconsulting.com.

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