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Knowing what’s within – and out of – our control

Where we focus in our farm operation makes a difference.

When we’re faced with the unknown or with uncertainty – whether in our farm business or in life in general – it can seem overwhelming. But we still have choices, whether we believe we do or not.

We don’t always have control over what’s happening or everything that affects our farm business, but we do have the choice of how we’re going to react to it. And the choice we have around our reaction can be very powerful. It can allow us to bring positive outcomes out of situations that initially seem to be nothing but negative.

We also choose what we’re going to focus on, even when we’re experiencing uncertainty around some aspect of the farm business. The ability to choose where we’ll focus our attention each day is enormously powerful. As farm business leaders, it’s primarily our responsibility to put that focus to work where it’s going to be most useful and advantageous for our overall business.

Where’s your focus?

What are you choosing to focus on? Do you typically focus on things you can’t ultimately control? That tends to lead down a path of anxiety and worry. Or do you consider the areas where you can have an impact versus those things you cannot control – and choose to focus intensively on making the biggest positive impact possible on your business?

The way you answer those questions may play a large role in the amount of success your farm business can achieve, especially during economic downturns in ag. If we believe we cannot do anything to affect or impact our farm’s situation, then we’re probably going to do – you guessed it – nothing.

But if we believe in the alternative – which is choosing to put our focus into areas where we can make a difference – then we’re more likely to take constructive action. Taking the right actions for our farm business can help us get on a path to creating a better future for our operation.

What can you do?

When you think about areas of your business where you can make potential positive changes, what comes to mind? Maybe for you, it means working toward better negotiations around land and input costs.

It could mean creating a plan for the next five years for how you’ll deal with needed equipment purchases in your operation – and then sticking to that plan. Maybe it means first getting on track about what your farm’s current financial reality looks like – getting forward-looking, accrual projections in place – and then using them as you make decisions for the upcoming crop year. You might have your farm’s insurance reviewed to make sure you’re getting the right coverage and best price for that coverage.

The answers here will be different for each farm operation and farm leader, depending on what you’re facing. It also depends on what you have or haven’t already done to make changes to become more efficient.

As you look at your farm’s situation for 2018, make sure to consider what you’re choosing to focus on. Are you mainly looking at factors or elements that you cannot control, or on aspects that are within your control? A farm business advisor can work with you to help brainstorm and discover different areas of your operation where you can bring some added focus and attention this year.

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

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