Why do you farm?

During the growing season, the farm’s leader is very focused on what they have to do each day, including a lengthy to-do list. Every day that leader is working to grow the best crop possible and run the operation well.

Farm leaders are very diligent and responsible people. They like to get things done—and done right. That’s an admirable quality. But when you need to tend to so many details, it can be tough to also pay enough attention to the “big picture” of the operation—and ultimately, the legacy you want to leave.

The big questions
Focusing on what we have to get done each day lets us check off our to-do list and feel successful. But it can also prevent us from engaging in some of the long-term thinking and planning that has a major impact on where our farm is heading.

Though we may feel we’re just trying to survive day by day, especially during busy times, it’s important to keep touch with our why: Why are we farming? Why do we continue with this work of farming? What do we want our farm’s future to look like in ten or twenty years? Who is potentially involved in that future?

Without answers to serve as guideposts, it can be difficult to make everyday decisions in a way that will ultimately move the farm closer to achieving future plans.

Bright future
Here’s an example: If your goal is to retire and sell all your land in five years, then you’ll need to be making very different decisions each day about your business—versus if you want to bring in the next generation with the hope of the farm continuing in the family.

Many farmers find it helpful to have a coach or advisor for the farm who assists them as they work through these long-term questions. The advisor also helps the family stay accountable and on track toward achieving their desired future.

An advisor or coach for the farm can be a big help in figuring out and working through the right opportunities for your operation. Developing a long-term vision and solid plan can bring confidence to help springboard your operation toward a bright future. Get a meeting on the calendar with a farm business advisor this summer to get clear on your why and create plans to move toward goals.

This article originally appeared in our midsummer 2018 issue of the Smart Series newsletter. For more like this, and to get the next issue—which is due out in early December—visit waterstreeconsulting.com/smartseries