The new year is here, and the winter planning season for farming is in full swing. Last week, I asked you to first spend some time taking stock of your 2020 crop year and the lessons to be gleaned from it. Now, it’s time to look forward and make plans for 2021.
Good plans start with a broader vision for the future of the farm. Without a vision for the future, no one – including the leader – really knows where the farm is headed. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you probably aren’t going to be able to make the right plans to get anywhere.
As the leader of the farm, it’s your job to set the vision for where the farm is going. You’ll definitely want input from the other stakeholders in the operation about that. You don’t have to be a rare visionary to have a clear vision for your operation. You just have to be willing to spend some time thinking about the future and about what you really want for your operation.
Depending on where you are in your farming career, part of your vision for the farm’s future may include specific people who will lead the farm in the future. Investing in them as leaders through education and specific leadership experience will be a big part of where your farm will be in the future – even when you’re no longer part of it anymore.
Here are a few things to consider as you think about your vision for the farm’s future – in 2021 and beyond.
- Zoom way out. First, think far out into the future – maybe ten or twenty years. Imagine what your operation is going to be like then. What businesses and side businesses will be involved? Who will be involved? What are their roles? What does the operation physically look like? Take some time to consider the way you’d really like it to be. Based on that, you might write down a more formal vision – just a sentence or two – to help everyone on the farm keep that future in mind.
- Come back a bit. Now come back closer to the near future – perhaps a year to five years from now. What are the big goals that will need to happen in the near term in order for your future vision to happen? This is where you break it down into goals and plans that you and others on your farm can take concrete action on in the next couple years. Your goals might include bringing others formally into leadership or undertaking a large capital project, such as building new bins. It all depends on where you envision your farm heading.
- Get a sense for the numbers. Another key aspect, once you have goals and plans set on the table, is to take a close look at the numbers. Look at each plan and quantify the costs associated with it. Then it’s time to create or review the farm’s budgets and projections for 2021, as well as to get dynamic marketing plans in place for 2021 and beyond. You can get in touch with our market advisors or get a free trial of our solutions today.