Sponsored By
Farm Futures logo

When’s the right time to start making 2024 plans?When’s the right time to start making 2024 plans?

Finance First: Now is the time to get the ball rolling on winter planning.

Darren Frye

November 13, 2023

3 Min Read
Notebook with words 2024 goal plan action
Getty Images/yusnizam

Your operation might be nearing the end of harvest 2023, or have already moved on to fall fieldwork, or maybe there’s still some work to do to finish up harvest.

If there’s still work to do as far as crop operations, then it might seem challenging to shift your mindset toward thinking about business plans for the next year. But the farmers who are building professional, world-class farm operations are shifting into “planning gear” during late fall and having meetings to get those plans started.

The best time to start thinking about and making 2024 plans really is right now. Even if all the results from 2023 aren’t quite in yet, it’s also a good time to make sure your farm’s financial information will be ready to go for your accountant and tax professionals. Having this information only helps you get ahead of the game when it comes to getting your business plans started for the next year.

3 things to do

Here are a few things to do right now to get the ball rolling toward solid plans for 2024.

  1. Check in with your bookkeeper. Now is a good time to be checking in with whoever keeps the books for your operation. Whether it’s someone inside or outside your operation, find out where they’re at right now in terms of progress toward having financial information ready. Ask what they need from you, and what they still need from other people in order to have detailed reports ready. Then help clear the path for them to get that information in a timely way – this will ultimately benefit everyone as it helps make sure they have the information they need to do their job in the most accurate and time-sensitive way.

  2. Schedule meetings with your advisors and lenders. Right now is also a great opportunity to get meetings set up with anyone who is involved in reviewing your farm’s business and financial information from 2023, and can provide help or input for 2024 plans. Get meetings scheduled with your farm’s financial advisors, market advisors, tax preparer, and your lenders. Depending on how you work with your farm’s outside team, these meetings may be separate or may involve multiple people at the same time. Arranging meetings with them now can help ensure you get the information and advice you need in the most timely manner to start clear 2024 plans.

  3. Spend some time on your own or with farming partners. It’s a great idea to set up time for yourself and the other leaders in your operation (if any) to get together and talk about the upcoming year. You can start by doing a review of the 2023 crop year and results that are in so far. Discuss what went well this year, what changes were made or tried out, and how that all went. You can also talk about the aspects of the year that maybe didn’t go quite as expected and any particular challenges the operation dealt with in the year. Then, use that discussion as a springboard into talking about high-level plans for 2024. Getting on the same page with your fellow farm leaders will help chart the course when it’s time to work on detailed business, financial, and marketing plans for 2024.

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