How to move a farm forward

How to move a farm forward

Learning, change help make an operation what it could be

As you work to build your farm business, there are often areas of your operation where you're doing really well. That's always exciting to see. It's easy to get excited about what we're good at and what we love to do.

Related: Is farm size the only thing that matters?

Then there are areas you might not be quite as excited about. These are the tasks that tend to pile up on to-do lists. We may know that we're not doing as good of a job in a particular area. It might even be something that's really important to the success of the farm. But we may just ignore it rather than figure out a way to work on it.

What change could you make on your farm to move it toward what it could be?

Becoming aware that this is happening is the first step. But then we have to decide if we truly want to get better – if we want to learn and grow and advance in our knowledge and understanding, so our farm can improve.

Learning and seeing what we need to do leads us to a fork in the road. Do we decide to choose the side that leads to everything we've always done in the past, or are we ready to make a change and move forward, toward something better?

Taking the step
Here's the story of one farm operation that took the leap. The farm leader was an excellent producer – he was very good at planning for and achieving high yields – and good at coaching others how to do the work on the farm.

Naturally, he spent most of his time creating those production plans and directing the activities of the people in his operation who were doing the hands-on work.

But when it came to the farm's book work, he simply didn't enjoy it. Plus, he felt like he didn't have time to do it. And this was the case not only with the farm's books, but also when it came to cash flow projections and other things he thought could probably help him when it came to managing the business side of his farm.

He knew he could do a better job managing the farm operation that he had been blessed with. But the next step was the hardest part.

Related: Charting your farm's course through rough seas

The farmer wanted to make a change. He was tired of knowing that his farm wasn't yet quite what he saw it could be. He made the decision to seek help with improving his financial management practices. He's now partnering with an ag financial consultant to help him get and interpret the right information, and help with using it to make future plans for his farm.

What change could you make on your farm to move it toward what it could be?

There's an opportunity later this summer (August 23-25 in Peoria, Ill.) to get insights to help as you move your farm forward. It's a workshop that includes one-on-one time for each operation that attends, with Dr. David Kohl, Dr. Mike Boehlje or Dr. Danny Klinefelter – as well as additional workshops with family business expert Jolene Brown and other ag consultants.

Think about what questions you'd like to ask these "doctors" and consultants about your farm to get answers you can use. Farms that want to attend can get more information and complete a brief online application here by July 1.

The opinions of Darren Frye are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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