June 27, 2022

Frye: 3 encounters on the road to farm success

What comes to mind when you think about the success of your farm operation? How do you define success for your unique operation?

Your answers to those two questions might look very different, depending on where you’re at in your farming career, what type of operation you run, what your operation involves and your overall goals for your farm and your farming career.

What It Takes

These answers probably will even change year to year as you and your operation evolve. But what won’t change is what it’s going to take for your farm to reach success: to be successful in achieving the goals that you’ve set.

That’s likely going to remain the same no matter what type of operation you run and whether you’re in growth mode or preparing to retire. So, what can you expect along the road to success, as you move day by day toward your goals?

There tend to be a few things that all farms and farm leaders can expect to encounter and can plan for how they will approach or deal with them.

Three Encounters

Here are three of the most common things farm leaders encounter as they work to achieve success:

1. Failure or obstacles. It might seem a little strange to begin with the word “failure,” which is basically the opposite of success. But if you’re setting your goals high enough and striving to get better as a world-class, professional farm operation, then it’s very likely that there will be some failures, or at least some obstacles to your goals along the way. The key is to be prepared for this to happen at some point and choose to take the mindset that when a challenge or obstacle does show up, you’re going to use it to help make you — and your operation — stronger and more effective in the long run. Plan to use any challenges you encounter to ultimately help you reach your goals through what you learn.

2. Hard work. Farmers are no strangers to the concept of hard work. Many of us grew up watching our parents put in long hours of physical labor and have likely done that ourselves, as well. Most farm leaders enter their farming career with a clear idea of the level of work it takes, especially during busy seasons. As the farm owner moves further into business and people management, rather than doing all the labor themselves, though, a mindset shift about the concept of what “hard work” means also needs to happen. When you’re the farm’s CEO, the hard work you must do to move the farm closer to success now more often involves sitting at your desk or meeting with landlords or lenders rather than doing hours and hours of manual labor. The hard work is still there; it’s just turned into more of the work of running the business rather than laboring in it.

3. Small victories. Just as we expect to encounter challenges along the road to success, we should also plan to find the small “wins” along the way. It’s important to recognize and celebrate when the operation makes progress toward the bigger goals. Doing this can motivate everyone on the team when they realize the progress that’s being made and how they can directly contribute. When the goal is large and will take time to achieve, it’s key to plan smaller milestones to recognize the progress that’s happening.

Springtime Markets And Beyond

Just because farms are busy with planting in the spring doesn’t mean the grain markets stop moving. This spring, the commodity markets seem to be more volatile than ever due to a combination of factors.

If you’re a busy farm leader who’s even busier in the spring, consider working with our team of market advisers. They help farmer clients with planning and execution around marketing decisions and help keep them up to speed on the rapidly-changing grain market situation and how it impacts their operation.

Get a free week-long trial of our marketing information service, MarketView Basic, at www.waterstreetconsulting.com. Your free trial includes regular audio and video updates, technical analysis, recommendations and more.

Darren Frye

Darren Frye

Darren Frye is president and CEO of Water Street Solutions.