This Spring, Keep Overall Plan in Focus

Strategic farm priorities help you make decisions – in all seasons

It's a hopeful time of year for us in agriculture. Each year when the calendar rolls into the spring season, farmers are waiting expectantly for the first signs that it's time to get back in the field.

As you prepare for the long hours and important work of planting season, here's another 'hope' to consider. What are your hopes for the future of your farm?

Here's one way to dig into this: How are you thinking differently now versus 10 years ago? Maybe your life is quite different than it was then – so your thinking is very different too.

When we choose to think in a more long-term way – about our lives, the farming operation, our hopes and dreams – we begin to focus on the future and not allow today's problems to alter or chart our course. We start to be more intentional about the decisions we need to make today to get us where we want to be in the future.

The key is that the strategic choices you make now for your farming operation affect how it will develop in the future. And the strategic priorities you set for your farm drive all the decisions in your operation – from your overall game plan for planting season down to choices like planting depth and speed. Those big priorities guide you to the answer for each decision you need to make.

Related: Why Good Farm Records Matter

With all of the planning and managing you need to do to make sure planting season runs smoothly, it might not seem like the prime time to be considering your farm's strategy. But as you move deeper into planting season – with a lot to do and a very particular window to get it done in – it's important not to lose sight of the overall direction you want for your farming operation.

It can be tough to keep track of that direction if you don't have a defined, clear strategy and future vision for your farm. As the head of your farming operation, you need to set the vision, priorities and goals. Otherwise, you run the risk of continuing to do something a particular way just because 'that's the way we've always done it.'

If that happens, the farming operation might not progress how you had hoped. Your goals for the growth of your farm might feel 'stuck' in slow motion. Sometimes that can be kick-started again just by setting aside time to intentionally focus on the future – on the strategic plan and priorities for your farm. It might help to have an advisor walk you through it so they can act as a coach to help you develop your thoughts.

What will you do this spring to keep your farm's overall strategy in mind? Have a safe and productive planting season!

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

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