September 21, 2020
When you’re leading a farm operation, often there’s a lot going on that requires your time and attention. Depending upon the season, the demands can start to be overwhelming.
As you’re going through the “everyday” work of a leader, there isn’t much opportunity to stop and think about exactly where your attention is going at a given moment. Especially in busy seasons, we can find that we’re mainly responding to whatever is needed right then.
Here’s something to think about, though, when you do have a chance to slow down. Doing this can help you be really intentional about where your time as the farm leader is going.
Wearing them well
What are all of the different “hats” that you wear as the farm’s leader? You might switch very quickly from hat -o-hat, or even be wearing multiple hats at the same time in some cases. Think about all the different areas of expertise that are required for you to run your operation, as well as the different roles that you play in relation to other people.
I bet you can quickly come up with a long list of “hats”! Here are some more to add, depending on your situation: farm CEO, farm owner, employee manager, financial manager, landlord relationship manager, operations manager, technology specialist, custom farming salesperson, bookkeeper, agronomic specialist, equipment specialist, husband/wife, father/mother, son/daughter, grandparent, neighbor, community leader, peer group member, friend, mentor.
That list could keep getting longer and longer, but we need to stop for a moment and think about one more “hat” that I didn’t mention yet: the hat of “marketer.” Do you regularly think of yourself as a marketer? Was it on your original list?
Does it fit?
Some farmers might think of themselves as marketers very naturally. They may be attracted to getting plans in place to make sure they’re managing their risk and making marketing decisions in a timely, effective way. They may have had quite a bit of experience with marketing and the different tools that are available. Maybe they have worked closely with someone knowledgeable to learn it themselves.
For others, the marketer hat might not feel like a very natural fit. These farmers might feel some level of anxiety or uncertainty when thinking about marketing plans and decisions. They may love the process of growing, tending and harvesting the crop, but selling it is a whole different piece of the puzzle. They might even resist putting on the marketer hat even when decisions need to be made.
Working to get more education around marketing and marketing tools can help ease some of the uncertainty that marketing can bring. Be sure to work with someone who is experienced and brings education and tools to help you increase your knowledge of marketing along the way.
Do you find the marketer hat to be an easy fit – or is it a struggle when it’s time to put it on? Many farmers have found that marketing can become a less stressful process when they have a partner for planning and decision-making. You can get in touch with a trusted market advisor for your farm by talking with our advisors.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.
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