Reset Your Mindset for 2013

It's time to put aside the grief of the 2012 crop and move on.

I've been hearing stories of farmers who are harvesting corn that's yielding less than their beans. And while that hurts, the reality is that we're almost done with the 2012 crop. Mentally and emotionally, we've probably been done with it for a while. Soon we'll be physically done with it as well.

If we choose to dwell on factors - like the weather - that were beyond our control or choices we made that didn't turn out the way we'd hoped, we become frustrated and bitter. We need to look at the facts of the situation and know where we'll stand financially at the end of 2012. Doing that might help bring some closure to a challenging year.

I'd like to share the story of one of our clients. He and his operation went through a very tough and emotional time this summer. Like many others, they did not end up with much of a crop. Sadly, a family member passed away during that time. The farmer felt like his whole world was crumbling around him.

He stayed open and kept talking with his advisers about his farm's situation. He recently went through his 2012 financial analysis with his ag finance specialist and market adviser. He saw the reality - he took the highest levels of crop insurance coverage and his operation will still be profitable this year – even with low yields. At that point, he began to look at ideas for 2013 and to let go of 2012. The situation made me think about grief.

When we lose a loved one we go through the many steps of grief and then we are able to move on. It's likely that we respond in much the same way with a bad year in farming. The difference is time. With the loss of a loved one, there's really no time table for being able to move on. The loss of a crop however is business, and we have to be able to get our head back in the game for the next season. It will be here before you know it.

The farmer I told you about went through the right steps to ready himself for the 2013 crop year. He started talking about his concerns for 2013. With his advisers, he began planning for the potential scenarios that could happen as we enter the next year.

There is danger and risk when we dwell on our disappointments rather than being proactive about the future. The danger lies in not setting aside what you're dealing with today in order to plan and take charge of your future.

Move past this year's emotions and look forward to next year's crop. First, get the facts on your operation's 2012 financial situation. Understand it. Process it. Then mentally prepare to move forward. Explore scenarios for 2013. Know the risks your farm will face and make plans to protect those risks – and to take advantage of opportunities.

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