With the new planting season that's approaching quickly this spring, it's a good time to think about what you really want your farm's future to be like. Maybe that's a regular habit for you and others in your farm business – thinking about the legacy of the farm together and how you're going to achieve it.
There are a couple things you'll want to consider during that time. The first thing to ask yourself is: What do we want our operation to be like 20 years from now? What do I want my legacy to be? And why? These are important questions to ask and brainstorm about, along with the other stakeholders in your operation.
As you consider this, you can figure out what your long-term objective or objectives are for your farm. Maybe you've already done this for your operation and have created your farm's vision. Some farms may have the vision of having a viable operation for generations to come, so the farm can stay in the family and future family members can enjoy the farm.
Or maybe you have the goal of growing the business and developing better skills to be successful in the business side of farming. The ultimate goal is for you and your family to continue enjoying the career and lifestyle of farming for many years to come.
Create the vision
Does your farm have a long-term vision? Do you find it helps you guide the business into what you imagine it to be in the future? A vision for the farm is a powerful thing. It guides everyone toward what the future will be like and gets everyone excited and moving in the same direction toward that desired future.
Next, the broad, long-term vision for your farm needs to be broken down further – into more short-term steps and goals. To reach that vision in the timeframe you want to, what does the farm need to be like in five years? 10 years?
And finally, what do you need to be doing now in order to get it there – to reach the goals in the right timeframes? Who needs to be involved? What will they be responsible for?
It takes a good deal of commitment from everyone on the farm, but it's worth it when you see the farm's vision becoming reality. It will certainly take hard work, but when the people on the farm are committed and energized about working together to achieve the vision, they all come together to make it happen.
Take some time with the other main stakeholders on the farm to consider the future of the operation. Get everyone on the same page about that future and what it will be like. Create a clear plan together about what the farm's long-term objective will be, and how you'll get there.
The opinions of Darren Frye are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.