Wind Turbine in green field with blue sky. Thomas_Zsebok_Images/ThinkstockPhotos

What’s your approach to change?

Farming has a rich tradition – but change has always been part of it as well.

Farming is certainly full of traditions – and is a tradition in itself. Many of us who farm are proud to say how long our family has been farming, or how long the family has been farming a particular piece of ground. When we think of the challenges that the family went through as they persevered in farming, we feel a sense of pride and commitment.

Along with the rich tradition and history of farming, change has happened throughout the years, too. New innovations in machinery and inputs both greatly changed the overall landscape of farming. And now, as farming has evolved to require more of a business mindset, today’s farmers are faced with change as well – different than what their great-grandparents faced, but another dynamic step.

Times keep changing

The changes that are and have been happening in farming over the past ten to fifteen years or so are many. As farms have grown, the decisions have also gotten bigger, with more at stake. There’s more of a need to run the farm as a business because of these big decisions.

With the need for farming to be a business comes the need for systems and processes to facilitate that. It’s necessary for the farm leader to serve as the farm’s CEO and engage in forward-looking business planning to run the operation well.

As change continues to happen, it can be a good idea to take stock of the way that we tend to respond to it, personally. As the global environment surrounding agriculture, and the current situation of ag itself keeps shifting, it’s clear that change isn’t something we can escape from. It’s built into our reality.

The real question then becomes: How do you choose to respond to it? What’s your approach to change on the farm? Is it part of your business planning process to respond and adapt proactively to change? How quickly is your operation able to do this? Or do you find that you – and your operation – tend to lag behind in thinking about and preparing to meet challenges that can come with change?

Roll with change

A farm operation that is able and ready to adapt to change because the leaders have a forward-thinking, forward-looking approach to it will, I believe, be more competitive in the long run. This is because the farm and its leaders actively seek to adapt to the change rather than expecting that the change will adapt to their farm. The operation can only be as good as the way that the leaders anticipate change and adapt their thinking and practices to incorporate it.

Consider your operation – and how you’re approaching change in agriculture and how you’re running your farm. What are some areas where you’ve done a good job adapting to change and incorporating it into your operation? In what areas have you not been as swift or strong in adapting?

Assess where your farm is currently at with this, and decide on a couple areas where you might work to adapt better to change that’s already happening. You might work with a farm business advisor to brainstorm and get more ideas on how to respond and adapt to change within your operation.

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

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