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Hit reset button before planning for 2020

It’s tough – but can be refreshing – to move forward after a challenging year.

As the farm’s leader and CEO, a very important part of your role is to look forward and make future plans. One of the toughest times of year to do this is right now – in the fall, looking ahead to next spring – but it’s also one of the most critical times to be planning.

With the weather challenges of the past year, harvest is still underway and might even last several more weeks on some farms. Since the whole crop isn’t in the bin yet, there might be greater anxiety or hesitation around making plans for next year – but it’s time to move forward now with planning.

When we don’t know our results or “how we did” this year, we can experience a lot of uncertainty around how to even begin to start planning for 2020. Without those numbers in our hands, we might feel like we’re aiming in the dark.

Let go of baggage

We might also be carrying some mental and emotional “baggage” along from this trying year. Working to reduce and eliminate that as much as possible will lighten our load and help us plan and move more confidently into the next year. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Reset your mindset. Particularly after a challenging crop year like 2019, hitting the “reset” button on your mindset can be helpful. Otherwise, it can be tough to move forward with planning for the next year at all. Consider taking some time – by yourself, with your spouse or with business partners – to intentionally set aside any frustrations or other emotions the past year brought up. Then, resolve to move forward with renewed optimism and hope as you plan for 2020. As we all know, every year in farming is different!
  2. Use solid estimates and planning tools. Be sure to use tools and technology that bring together all the moving pieces of your operation – including your operation’s financials, logistics and crop insurance – as you make plans for 2020. Our advisors can help you get this in place to visualize how all the pieces of your operation come together.
  3. Get the right support in place. We can also think about this past year in terms of how we did – or didn’t – get the support we needed from others. I’m thinking of this both in terms of emotional support from friends and family, as well as support from advisors, suppliers, lenders and others we work with in our farm businesses. An important support person to have in your corner is a market advisor. As you think about making plans for 2020, consider whether you had the type of support you wanted this past year when it comes to marketing and merchandising plans – and take action to find the right support for you, your operation and your goals.

You can move forward confidently as you work on business plans for 2020 – no matter how 2019 ultimately turns out. Talk with our advisors about your goals and the planning you’ve started.

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