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This is why it’s important to monitor your business this spring

iStock/Getty Images field flooded and covered with snow in winter morning
Keep farm’s business at the forefront, even during planting.

We’re getting closer to springtime – an exciting time to be working on the farm. As both air and ground temperatures start to increase, it’s natural to start thinking about getting out in the field. Once the calendar turns over to March, it feels like planting season is suddenly much closer.

As a farm leader, planting season might look and feel a little different than when you first started your farming career. Most farmers start out immersed in the production side of the farm. That’s exactly where they should since it’s at the core of farming – if you don’t produce anything, you don’t have much of anything else to do on the business side of the farm.

Where you’re working

Typical planting seasons for newer farmers generally focus on the operations of planting and getting the crop in the ground right. But as the operation grows more complex, with more employees and logistics to manage, the farm leader or leaders might not be spending as much time in a tractor themselves during planting season.

Instead, they’re dealing with a lot of management work – management of people, machinery, timing, and making decisions about whether fields are ready to plant. It’s a lot of work within a short amount of time, but it might look a bit different than time in the tractor. It might mean a lot of work in the office.

That’s important, because the fast-paced business side of farming requires today’s farm leader to stay on the ball, even during the farm’s busy operational seasons. Keeping on top of your business is key year-round in a few different areas.

On the ball

Here are three areas to keep on your radar during the upcoming planting season – and all year.

  • Your financial metrics - Make sure your farm’s financials are kept updated all year round. Keep your break-evens updated. This will help you make the best possible marketing and financial decisions for your operation, since you’ll have updated, accurate information. Also, keep the metrics that you’re working to improve updated as well for feedback.
  • Your marketing plan - When things get busy on the farm operationally, sometimes the farm’s marketing plans can start to slip into the background. If you’ve found yourself not keeping up as well with changes to the markets and your plans, consider working with our market advisors. Our advisors act as a partner to help remind and prompt you when decisions need to be made or conditions are changing.
  • Your long-term goals, values and vision - It might seem like a waste of time to think about five or ten-year goals during a time like planting, but that’s what will help keep your farm on track to success. The decisions you’re making during planting add up to what your growing season like be like, and has a big impact on your level of success that year. Check in with your goals, values and vision periodically – it doesn’t have to take long – to make sure things are staying on track.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
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