Sponsored By
Farm Futures logo

What will farming be like in the future?What will farming be like in the future?

Finance First: This can really help when it comes to winter business planning.

Darren Frye

October 23, 2023

3 Min Read
Rubber boots walking in young corn field
Getty Images/Zbynek Pospisil

This time of year on the farm, the leader is usually very focused on the day-to-day harvest operations and everything that needs to be done each day. That’s very understandable – part of your job as the farm’s leader and CEO is to ensure that everything is happening as it should.

There’s another part of the farm CEO role that’s also very important and it can shift to become more of your focus as harvest wraps up and the winter off-season begins. This part of the role is to consider and plan for what the farm is going to need to thrive in the future.

Ask the question

One way to start thinking about this now, before making any specific plans, is to first think about what farming – in general – is going to be like in the future. Think about the type or types of farming that your operation currently does. Ask: What will that type of farming be like in 20 years?

A couple things to think about as you answer that question are the types of trends and changes that farming is already seeing impact the industry that you think will continue to impact it and maybe even pick up speed into the next 20 years.

List them all out and then put them in order of importance or level of impact on your operation’s success. The greater the impact, the higher that one needs to be on your list.

Many of these changes and trends are probably already taking shape in agriculture already – maybe in a smaller way right now. Which ones do you think will be the most impactful? Which ones can your farm best leverage in a positive way to improve your operation’s level of success? And which ones will be absolutely vital in order for your operation to continue thriving in 20 years?

Make the plans

Once you’ve thought all of this through deeply, you can pivot toward how you will use it to make future plans for your operation. The further out the time interval, the less detailed the plan will likely be – but having a general direction for where you see your farm heading with regard to the future ag operating environment.

You can work to get more descriptive and detailed in writing your overarching business plans and goals for the next five years. When creating these plans, it’s very helpful to have already thought through where you think agriculture is headed overall in the next 20 years and the types of major changes that will impact it.

Use that knowledge to consider what your farm will specifically need to be doing in the next five years in order to position your business well for future success. Then you can create clear business plans this winter – including a plan of major goals for the next five years, and your business plan for the next crop year.

How are you navigating this market?

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

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like