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5 Methods to Effective Farm Management

Cassie Monger
Educational Opportunities: 
Grain, Dairy, Swine, Young, Beginning Farmers
Home > Education & Events > October 2019 > 5 Methods to Effective Farm Management

It’s no surprise that the Ag industry has had a challenging few years.  This has pushed us to re-evaluate how tasks are done on your farm operation to gain efficiencies, while continuing to position ourselves to remain competitive. 

Due to some challenges we have had in the Ag industry, we challenge you to reflect on how confident you are in where your business is at right now; and ask yourself where you want to be if an investment opportunity presents itself. Are you able to say, “I’m ready or it’s not the right timing?”

As we evaluate the position of the farm, here are five methods to remain confidently disciplined in making decisions for your business. 

Assess your business. Take the time to accurately assess how the business is doing.  If you plan to expand or grow your business, think about how much growth you’re able to tolerate. While also determining what risks you need to be aware of.  It’s important to be able to understand your business well enough to predict the consequences of disruption, so you can plan accordingly and be proactive with your decision making approach.  

Truly understand what your strengths are; then evaluate the weaknesses or critical areas that may need more time to develop. Once you have identified those areas, continue to evaluate how you are doing and track your progress to achieve the positive results you hope to accomplish.  

Set goals.  Ask the right questions in determining where you see your business in the next 5-10 years; what steps need to be taken to get you there?  Setting realistic goals and putting a plan in place to achieve them will set things into motion.

Be Strategic. Evaluate your strategy for holding yourself accountable.  Regularly communicate with your team to share goals and visualize what it might look like if they’re achieved. Your team will play a big role in staying on the right path and following through.

Reflect and look back on what you have achieved already.  When investment opportunities come up, it’s sometimes hard to say no, but keeping past and current goals in mind will help you be more disciplined.  

Control temptations along the way. Are you in the right mindset to resist temptation?  Be honest with yourself and spend more time thinking about the consequences and “what if” scenarios.  Don’t dwell on the negative, but consider all alternatives so you have an exit strategy or plan b if it doesn’t work out.    

Sometimes temptation finds us when our weaknesses overwhelm us.  Refocus your attention to strategy and goals versus letting the emotion make the decision.  Seeking feedback from your team will help eliminate any biases or blind spots so you have the support to redirect you if necessary and not be tempted to steer away from your plan.

Focus on problem solving. As a business owner, the responsibility for finding a solution many times falls on you.  Keep in mind, each time you effectively resolve a problem, you gain valuable experience, which in return builds confidence. 

Continue to think outside the box to be innovative and creative.  Doing something the way we have always done, may not be the best approach moving forward.  Be open minded to new ideas, rather than making a decision because it is quick and easy.    

We need to be more strategic in our thinking, and not expect that every solution equals a big investment that may cause financial strain on the business. It might be something simple and cost effective that makes the most sense.   

Identify your next step and set a reasonable timeline. Be sure your timeline is in pencil as things will likely change along the way.  The only thing that should remain unchanged are the intentions you have for yourself and future generations.   
So what’s next?  Don’t expect to have it all figured out; you have now spent the time to really understand your business needs. We encourage you to be confident in what you do know; and don’t let irrational decisions derail you from your timeline. 

To wrap things up, it has taken more than luck to get where you are today, and much of the credit is due to the self-discipline already demonstrated. This is done by making sound choices based on rational thinking rather than your emotions. 

We should continue to be optimistic, but still remain cautious. Continue to stick to these methods to be sure the financial decisions you make fit within your own plan.  Sometimes the best investment opportunities present themselves at the right time. Passing on them now, can many times lead to a better one in the future. 

When developing your goals, be sure you are working off an updated business plan. Or try our complimentary business plan template
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