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How to bring resourcefulness to farm’s business side

Change your mindset on what it means to be resourceful with these three ideas.

Darren Frye

January 17, 2023

4 Min Read
farmer in field
Getty/iStockphoto/Dmytro Diedov

Do you personally know any farmers who are very resourceful? If you grew up on a farm, maybe you watched your Dad or Grandpa fix almost anything – seemingly without needing to buy anything that wasn’t already available on the farm! Maybe you know of a neighbor who is well-known for being able to do this – or maybe it’s you or one of your family members or employees.

Being resourceful with physical resources on the farm almost goes without saying. Farmers are definitely among the most resourceful people I know! Many farm leaders take well-deserved pride in that quality of ‘do-it-yourself’ resourcefulness, especially when it helps save time, money and resources for the operation.

Expanding it

What might first come to mind about being resourceful are things like fixing equipment, buildings, or other physical items in the operation. I want to challenge you to think a bit further about being a resourceful farm leader – to expand what that looks like in your operation.

What about the business side of your operation? What would it look like to be a resourceful farm leader when it comes to the financial management and leadership of your operation? Here are three ways you might incorporate that in the new year.

Three ideas

  1. Financial management. Being resourceful with the financial management of the operation means, first of all, being as ‘on top of’ your farm’s numbers as possible. It means making sure you have the pieces in place for a strong financial team – whether that’s within your operation or through advisors – to have a good bookkeeper, tax accountant and financial advisor. A great team gives you the best opportunity, as the leader, to have updated and accurate numbers when you need them. Another person on your financial team is your lender. Make sure you have a great lender that you can have a positive working relationship with – where both of you can bounce ideas off of each other and both are ultimately working toward the success of the operation.

  2. Building efficiency. Once you have a good handle on your farm’s numbers, you can work to build greater efficiency into all areas of the operation. This is just another way to be resourceful and solve old problems in creative, new ways. Your farm may already be operating at a high level of efficiency, so it will take a judgment call by you as the leader as to whether or not additional efforts will produce enough of a return. If efficiency isn’t something you’ve optimized in the past, consider the areas where efforts will bring about the greatest potential return. See if there is a way to quantify these efforts before deciding whether or not to begin them.

  3. Marketing plans. Another area where it can be helpful to expand ideas around being resourceful is the farm’s marketing. When it comes to the commodity markets, it can feel like there’s a great deal out of the farm leader’s direct control. Resourcefulness around marketing plans can make a big difference, though, when you focus on the factors that are within your control. Choosing to learn about and use different market tools, for example, is a resourceful move. Working with a knowledgeable market advisor to create individualized marketing plans for your operation is another one. Figure out how you’ll be resourceful when it comes to markets and marketing plans – because that’s what the market is going to require of farm leaders in 2023.

2023 markets

Have you started your market planning and target-setting for 2023? Now is the right time to be creating marketing plans for this new year and beyond. A market advisor can help with providing education, marketing tools, and market planning for your unique operation and your future goals.

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.waterstreetconsulting.com.

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Finance

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

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