Farm Progress

Major goals for the farm require detailed planning, perseverance.

Darren Frye, CEO

March 26, 2018

3 Min Read

As the farm’s CEO, you’re the one responsible to make sure the operation is moving toward your vision for the future. It can feel overwhelming at times if there’s still quite a way to go toward achieving those goals, whether in terms of improving the farm’s efficiency, or meeting particular financial benchmarks, or upping your own leadership and management skills.

It’s a good idea to set goals for your farm – even setting big, major ones that may take months or even years to achieve. Everyone on the farm should know them – that’s the right first step. But there’s more that must be done to keep everything progressing smoothly.

Getting there

Major goals can sometimes appear overwhelming, or maybe a little too abstract at times. If the goal you’ve set is very general, it can begin to feel like you’ll never know how much progress you’re making, or whether you’re making any at all.

To make the process clearer, you can set smaller goals, or mini goals. These are concrete achievements that you will need to reach along the way to your bigger goal. It’s helpful if they can be readily measured or if it will be apparent when you reach them. Knowing you’re making progress is key because it helps you keep moving toward that larger goal, even it may still be years away from being fully realized.

For example, maybe the farm has a big long-term goal of growth. ‘Growth’ is rather general, so the leaders will want to define it more narrowly for their farm. How will growth be measured? In terms of revenue? Acres? Number of side businesses? A combination?

Once more narrowly defined, the goal can be broken down further into smaller mini goals, along with approximate timeframes for achievement.

Pave the way

Think about how overwhelming it would feel if one of the major goals for the farm was to grow by 2,000 acres in the next five years, to accommodate additional family members returning to the farm.

There’s a lot of hard work on the front end that goes into getting those additional acres. Some of the early steps might include working with an ag finance advisor to determine the best mix of rented acres and buying new ground for the farm’s financial capacities. A landlord and community relations strategy would need to be figured out and started right away as well. The farm’s leaders might decide that these two smaller goals will both be initiated within the first six months of setting the goal.

Maybe the farm doesn’t rent or buy a single additional acre for several years after setting the goal, yet they’ve continued to persevere because they’re able to see all the smaller goals that have been checked off. It brings encouragement to continue working toward the goal even though it hasn’t come to fruition yet.

Small goals are necessary to lay the ground work for your biggest goals. It’s encouraging to know exact timeframes and see progress along the way toward achieving a big goal.

What are the biggest goals you have for your operation? Do you have goals around growth, or efficiency, or improving in leadership skills? You can talk to a farm business advisor who can help you prioritize goals for this year.

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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