Farm Progress

Continue the planning process through intentional goal-setting.

Darren Frye, CEO

January 8, 2018

3 Min Read

Last week, I started talking about how to begin planning for your farm’s upcoming crop year – by taking a look at financial reality and then zooming out to the big picture of where the farm is headed in the future. If you haven’t had a chance to read that blog, take a few minutes to do that now.

After completing those first steps, you can start to develop different strategies and plans to reach your major goals. Some of the goals might be financial, or growth-oriented, or might even emphasize the development of people in the operation. Eventually, you’ll want to focus down to one-year goals – the goals you’re going to set specifically for this crop year.

Looking at 2018 and your goals for the year, you’ll be taking into account both the financial reality that you’ve already seen from a view of your farm’s current state and your projections for 2018 – as well as the broader vision and direction of where the farm is headed in the future. Both of these aspects need to inform the goal-setting you do for 2018. They will help you determine the immediate priorities for the operation.

Track your progress

As you set 2018 goals, keep in mind that you will probably want to set benchmarks in various areas of your operation. There will be financial goals for the year. But you may also want to set goals in other aspects, like what the next generation should be learning this year and how you want to improve landlord relationships. You may have some goals in terms of what you want to be learning as a leader, to enhance your own leadership and business management skills.

Whatever the goal, make sure it’s specific enough that you’ll know whether or not you’ve achieved it. Also, build in accountability to help stay on track and make progress toward major goals. Who will be checking in with you about your goals and helping you keep on track toward them?

For financial goals, how often will you be checking in on the benchmarks or metrics that you’ve determined will be important to stick to? Who will be helping keep the farm’s budget up to date – and doing a budget to actual check-up with you – quarterly or monthly? These are the types of practices that can really help farm leaders who are serious about achieving their goals.

Create accountability

Staying on track by building in accountability is key. This is where a coach or advisor for the farm can be a big help. When they understand your major goals because they’ve spent time to understand you and your operation, they can help you make plans and stay on the path toward achieving your biggest goals.

How will you get started by setting up your vision for your farm’s future and working toward it? Do you have a clear picture of your farm’s current financial reality – and projections for 2018? Who will you need to consult and enlist to make that happen? Have you already taken some action toward this?

How will you get information and guidance to help with the process of goal-setting – and with staying on track toward your goals? You can get in touch with our advisors to help with that this winter, so you can start making decisions now that move you toward achieving what you really want.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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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