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New approaches on the farm: Love or hate?

What’s good for your neighbor might not be what’s right for your operation.

When it comes to trying new things on our farm, we all fall somewhere in a range from “I almost never try new things” to “I love trying new things on our farm and I do that every crop year.”

Whether you fall on either side – or somewhere in the middle like most farm leaders – there’s an additional point to think about when you want to try something new for your operation.

All of us may have – at some point – looked at a neighbor’s operation or the operation of another farmer we admire and wondered, “What’s their secret?” We might even start thinking that if we just knew what that “one thing” was, our operation would become the way we want it to be. We wonder: What’s that “one thing” we need to add in or change that will bring us the success we desire?

Bring clarity

It’s tempting to think that a new program or approach to something on our farm could be the key that unlocks everything. Generally, though, we all know that’s not the way it works in the real world. It usually takes a lot of effort in many different areas of our operation – coming together to bring the higher level of success we seek.

I bring this up because there are a few important questions to ask yourself about new ideas. Those questions include: Why do I want to do this? What is my motivation? Do I believe this will be a “magic bullet” for my operation? How did I find out about this new idea? Have I seen it working well for a friend or neighbor?

Asking yourself these questions can help bring some more clarity to the reasons behind why we want to do something. Our answers can start giving us some insight into whether it’s something we should pursue.

A unique situation

In all of this, the key point to remember is: Every farm operation is unique, with unique circumstances, people, strengths, challenges and opportunities. What works for another farm or farmer might not be what works best for our own operation.

Knowing ourselves as farm leaders and deeply knowing our operation’s circumstances, people, strengths, challenges and opportunities, and then taking that knowledge into our evaluation is the best way to make good decisions about new ideas and approaches we come across.

Farm operations are not a “one-size-fits-all” type of business. When you’re looking to try something new in your operation, the best way to do so is through careful tailoring of that “new thing” to your unique operation. And sometimes, after considering something new, you find it wouldn’t be a good fit for your operation, and you don’t pursue it.

How do you figure out what new ideas or approaches will work best for your operation? You can talk with an advisor for the farm about any new approaches you’re considering around your farm’s grain marketing and merchandising plans.

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

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