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Glean the lessons now to gain valuable insight.

Darren Frye, CEO

November 21, 2022

3 Min Read
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As the 2022 crop year continues to wrap up, there’s a lot that farm leaders can reflect on and use to move forward into 2023 plans.

When it comes to thinking about the past crop year, for some it can be easy to focus on what didn’t go well rather than also including the things that did go well. For that reason, I encourage farm leaders to take some time to intentionally think about each category.

It can be helpful to start out on the “strengths” side for your operation in 2022. What were some of the things that went really well? What did your team do well? What were the high points? How did you grow in your leadership of the operation? What decisions did you make confidently? Be sure to list as many as possible.

After doing that, you can turn your focus toward the challenges that your farm faced over the past year. You can include both external operating environment challenges as well as any internal challenges within your operation.

Crunch the numbers

Now it’s time for a financial review of 2022. Be sure to work with your advisors to get the clearest financial picture of how 2022 turned out financially for your operation. How did the year go overall in terms of revenue? Did expenses turn out differently or similar to what you had projected? Did any of your operation’s key metrics improve over the past year?

Related:Should debt load affect crop rotation?

Once you’ve gotten a full picture of your 2022 crop year – in terms of strengths and difficulties, as well as the financial components – it’s time to reflect and draw out any takeaways or lessons from the year. These could be from anything – whether positive or difficult – your operation encountered in the past year.

Carry the changes

Take a bit of time to consider opportunities that may be on the horizon for your operation. Put on the farm CEO hat and think about the opportunities that might already be around and what may come up. How will you evaluate various opportunities for your farm – and choose the best ones to select and invest in?

Even though 2023 will be a brand new, different year, you can carry forward what you learned from 2022 combined with the knowledge that this year will likely present different challenges and opportunities than the previous year. Know that it may take different thinking – combined with the new lessons from 2022 and your prior farming career – to succeed in 2023.

Market opportunities

That’s farming for you – every single crop year is different and will present new challenges. That can be exciting as a farm leader – and also can bring about some anxiety.

Related:Vigilance urged but ‘no cause for panic’ over ACP

Are you thinking about 2023 marketing plans? 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

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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