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To make good decisions, first decide what kind of farm are you working to create.

Darren Frye, CEO

July 14, 2020

2 Min Read
Picture of monitors with ag scenes floating in front of pasture. /  Internet of things(agriculture concept),smart farming,ind

I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the new technologies, programs and ideas I could add to my farm. From what everyone says, it sounds like each new thing would add several bushels. What should I think about as I select new technology or approaches? – D.R., Indiana

It used to be that the farm leader’s focus was mainly on the basics of running a great farm. That hasn’t changed – we must still master the basics of production and management. But now we’re also exposed to so many new ideas that we could bring to our operation.

This is partly because there simply are more new ideas, and partly because there’s more access to those ideas through the internet. To make good decisions, first get clear on: What kind of farm are you working to create?

If you’re a commodity producer in agriculture, you need to stay focused on being the low cost per unit producer. Beyond that, there are all kinds of different ideas or programs that could be more important to some farms than others.

Ask: What is your operation good at? What is it not as good at? What are some areas where you believe you could improve? Take an inventory and maybe get some outside perspective on where you could have the biggest impact on either increasing production or reducing costs.

Let’s say you’re looking at 20 different new possibilities to bring to the farm. Each one of those ideas will involve some sort of cost – whether that’s learning something or buying something. However, each of the 20 things will have a different level of impact on the efficiency of your operation.

Related:How not to miss a grain market rally

Before you fall in love with any new idea or technology, first understand: What problem is it solving for me? For my operation, how big of an impact will this have? Step back and evaluate which idea will make the biggest difference with the least amount of effort or investment.

This can mean needing to actively manage some emotions. Rather than being drawn toward ideas that seem “cool”, step back emotionally as the farm’s CEO and decide where your time, energy and money will be best invested to help reach your goals in the long run.

--Frye is president and CEO of Water Street Solutions. [email protected]

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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