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The worst best practice would be to file it in a cabinet.

David Kohl, Contributing Writer, Corn+Soybean Digest

December 7, 2022

2 Min Read
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Developing a written business plan is one of the critical elements contributing to business success. After conducting many young farmer programs, I have observed that young producers are very receptive to writing a business plan rather than just talking about business planning. Many young producers indicate that a written business plan gives them a competitive edge while the senior generation may rely on their strong equity. Let’s draw on some of the responses from recent young farmer groups that have completed the Ag Biz Planner and the Ag Biz Basics programs through Farm Credit University.

Living, breathing document

One group of participants indicated that now that their business plan is complete, a “worst practice” would be to file it in the cabinet. They further indicated that the business plan is a working document that needs to be tweaked and adjusted as business, production, marketing, and economic conditions and decisions change. From developing their vision, mission, and core values down to the short and long-term goals, decisions can be filtered using an objective preset checklist that has been established for the business journey.

Questions not answered

Many groups were quick to comment that the business planning process was overwhelming at the beginning. However, going through the process required them to ask questions of business partners, family members, key suppliers, and agricultural lenders. Sometimes the answers are not black-and-white and oftentimes there is more than one solution or option. Going through the four-month, online program and completing the assignments and actions were invaluable in building momentum in their business ventures.

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Going through the business planning process can build self-esteem. We need more programs and processes that build self-esteem given all the negatives in our society today. The young producers indicated that gaining the focus and confidence to use the business and financial jargon with their lenders and other critical players was invaluable.

Final points

Before the final group photo was taken, I conducted a quick observation before taking a front row seat to participate in the photo. These agriculturists were more diverse with more women, minorities, age ranges, and backgrounds than previous groups. Next, this group has an open mind and is not constrained by the “this is the way we have always done it” thought process. They are respectful of the senior generation or institutional knowledge and have incorporated it into their entrepreneurial business models to align with the opportunities the agriculture industry is presenting them.

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Source: David Kohl, who is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

About the Author(s)

David Kohl

Contributing Writer, Corn+Soybean Digest

Dr. Dave Kohl is an academic Hall of Famer in the College of Agriculture at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va. Dr. Kohl has keen insight into the agriculture industry gained through extensive travel, research, and involvement in ag businesses. He has traveled over 10 million miles; conducted more than 7,000 presentations; and published more than 2,500 articles in his career. Dr. Kohl’s wisdom and engagement with all levels of the industry provide a unique perspective into future trends.

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