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What’s the best thing about what you do?

Understand the way that you personally commit to your farm’s success.

In last week’s post, I asked you to think about what you consider to be the toughest thing about what you do as a farmer. I shared some of my perspectives and thoughts about the farm ‘office season’ and the way different farmer personalities tend to respond to it.

This week, I want to turn last week’s question on its head. What’s the best thing about what you do as a farmer? What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning? What brings you the most joy? What makes you feel the most connected to your core values?

Think back to when you first knew you wanted to become a farmer, whether you were five or fifty at that moment. What made you want to farm every day? Here are a few examples:

  • Love for the land and for the work of raising crops or animals
  • The careful planning and organization required to be a farmer and run a business
  • Attraction to the perseverance and dedication it takes to be a farmer
  • Connection to the outdoors, seasons and lifestyle

Who you are
You may notice that ‘best thing’ about farming happens when you’re engaged in something and don’t even notice how much time has passed by. Maybe it seems like a fun experience – something amazing that fuels your energy. It could be when you take action in ways consistent with your personal beliefs and convictions, or from creating a clear plan and executing it.

Whatever it is, it’s likely unique to you and your life as a farmer. It’s not necessarily found in any specific activity, but from the frame of mind you enter while you’re doing the work.

We know that most of the workforce – whether in corporate America or as a farmer – spends more waking hours at work than doing any other activity. I believe it’s important to build in more opportunities to experience personal success and enjoyment in our jobs.

For sure, there are obstacles and challenges along the path to achievement for every farming operation. But that doesn’t mean our work needs to be tedious, painful or stressful. In fact, keeping a lightness and enjoyment of our farming life is important. Wouldn’t it be great to maintain that as part of our commitment – as we plan for an incredible future?

More of what you love
Knowing what we like most about farming helps us understand how we can best reach our goals. You might find that you’re drawn to planning for the farm’s finances and future – setting up organized and efficient structures and working to carry out the plan. Or you appreciate directing employees and interacting with them. It could be any area of work on the farm.

You might work with an advisor or team of advisors who can help you assess where you’re most effective, so you can build further on those strengths. You can also work to determine areas of your business where you may want someone to come alongside of you. That assistance may also mean gaining more time for the things you’re passionate about doing each day – more of what you love.

Read the new midwinter issue of the Smart Series publication, bringing business ideas for today’s farm leader. This issue includes perspectives on what to do when a landlord asks for higher rent, how to find the right new employee, a farm business checklist for the spring season, and more. Get your free online issue here.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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 (www.waterstreet.org), to help Midwest farmers become more profitable through financial analysis, crop insurance, commodity marketing, and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spread sheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

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