Are you proud of your family farming operation? Are you
confident and excited about how your farm has developed — and where you’re
headed in the future?
Successful operations should be proud of what they have
accomplished. Many farm families feel that way, and I think they have every
Today you may be leading a very successful farming
operation. Or you’re part of the next generation, looking at what’s been built
by generations before you, thinking, “I hope I can continue the success of what
my family has built through the years.”
Either way, as your farm becomes more successful and there’s
more going on in your operation, you may find yourself starting to wonder: how
will I keep everything on track?
You built your operation on hard work, good instincts and
solid decision-making. You worked hard to get everything in place so your
operation would grow.
Now, you’re wondering how you’ll keep everything on track.
One way to respond is to get a plan in place that helps you continue leading
your farm toward more success, toward your definition of what success for your
farm looks like.
Here’s what one farm family did. They have a successful,
growing operation. Past generations worked hard to make it what it is today, and
the two generations who are currently working on the farm are no
There’s a lot going on in their operation — several
different ag-related businesses with quite a few employees — both family and
non-family members. The farm family decided to have a meeting to get on the same
page with each other about the future of their operation and to set up plans for
how they will reach the future they desire.
They did this in part because they have a lot of pride in
their family farming operation and what it stands for. Do you know any families
who are proud of their farming operation? I think we all do. And I hope your
family feels that way about your own operation.
Creating A Plan
This family worked for two days with a farm business coach
to get their plan in place. They determined the core values of their farm, and
the vision and mission for the operation. They talked about what they want their
operation to be like in the future and the steps they need to take to get it
At the end of the two days, the older generation said they
were more confident in the operation’s upcoming transition in the next couple of
years. They believed that the plan provided a way for the farm to continue being
successful in the future.
Have you ever tried to hit a moving target? That’s tough,
isn’t it? First, you select the target. It may not be moving yet, and you might
not even be aware that it can move.
Then you take careful aim. Your target still hasn’t moved a
bit, but then suddenly, something else enters the picture, causing your target
The new information might not be connected to what you’re
doing or it could even be totally unrelated to your operation. But if it will
affect your farm, you still have to figure out how to respond to it on your
side, in the best way possible.
You adjust your aim and get ready again as fast as you can,
based on what just happened. Being ready to respond can help you move quickly
when you need to.
Do you take a similar mindset when it comes to planning for
the future of your farm? It’s a fact: no one knows for sure what’s going to
happen in the future. No one can plan for everything that may happen or that may
affect your farm business at some point.
What you can do is set up your farm’s business plan in such
a way that you’re able to adjust things quickly, based on outside events and on
what’s happening in your operation internally.
Setting up your plan in this way means you’re as ready as
possible if something changes. Farms operate in an environment where being ready
to respond to change can make all the difference. It’s especially important to
build this flexibility into your strategic business plan as you set goals for
That can feel a lot less like aiming at a moving target.
You’re able to be more proactive by adjusting your goals to make sense for
what’s happening in your operation right now.