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Spring optimism means realistic planning

The truly optimistic farmer must be a realist.

Spring is a season of hope and optimism on the farm. There’s the promise of a new crop and a new growing season. You can practically smell the hope in the freshly worked dirt during the early spring months. It’s that way on just about every farm and I believe it’s an important part of the incredible resilience farmers have.

Keeping hope and optimism alive is crucial. We can often start to feel beaten down after continuing to hear about the downturn in the ag economic environment. That can lead us to feel as if things will never turn around. Each spring season helps us to remember that there’s a lot to be optimistic about in farming, especially in the long run.

The real deal

However, if we allow our optimism around the new crop year to lead us into just hoping that things will work out for us and our farms, we’re missing the point. I believe the truly optimistic farmer holds a belief that the year will be successful, yet those hopeful feelings are also filled with realism.

Optimistic, yet realistic farmers recognize the realities of the environment they’re operating in while believing that their operations can be successful despite that situation. They then put in the work – in terms of planning, becoming more efficient, and improving their own management skills – to help ensure success will come their way.

This might mean thinking differently about how the farm business can be successful or doing things differently than in the past. It could mean being strategic about what rental ground is truly making the farm money and making some tough choices as a result of that, or working to add a side business.

It reminds me of the well-known saying: “Success happens when preparation meets opportunity.” A farmer’s operation is on the road to success when preparation and hard work are in place – long before that success can be harvested. That way, when opportunity comes, they’re ready to take advantage of it.

Get in gear

How are you using spring optimism to get plans in place for success? Work to use optimism as motivation to get moving on factors like working to make your farm more efficient – in every area – this season.

Or are you more likely to feel the opposite of optimism – and, as a result, believe that planning won’t make any difference? Work to see the sunnier side of the way the year could go, as well. You might do some scenario planning to look at a variety of different case scenarios, including good, bad and middle of the road scenarios for a wider view – and to see where you can take action to make a difference in outcomes.

If you’d like some help with scenario planning or suggestions of solutions for additional efficiency within your operation, you can get in touch with our advisors. They’re experienced at helping farmers get the numbers and information they need to make decisions for their operations.

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

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