Be intentional about planning in the off season

As we put another harvest in the books, it's simple enough to breathe a sigh of relief, clap your hands together, and be glad the stress and long hours are over with. Then you put your feet up for the winter, right? Maybe take a vacation or two? There's plenty of time to take off before you need to even think about farming again, right? Wrong.

The key is to plan out this time rather than flying by the seat of your pants. If it's not scheduled, you could find that time has gotten away from you and suddenly you're not prepared for what comes next spring. Think of yourself as an athlete in the off-season: this is not the time to loaf about and put the game out of your mind. You've got to continue training and remain in shape so that by the time game season rolls around again, you're ready to hit the ground running. That means creating a schedule that accommodates not only an appropriate amount of family and vacation time--because that's definitely important time to set aside--but also time to focus on your role as the farm CEO and engage in future planning.

Darren Frye gives some ideas on how to plan for the 2017 crop year in this week's Finance First post at