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Keep in touch with these 4 groups during harvest

Getty/iStockphoto Farmer standing in the field on the phone during harvest
Staying on top of farm’s business side all year round is key.

During a busy harvest season, it can be easy for farm leaders to get a bit of “tunnel vision” – focusing on the operations that must get done this fall. That’s understandable because it’s a critical time of year for production. Plus, it’s rewarding to watch the results of your hard work this year come into view.

Keeping your eye on the ball on production during a busy season is good. That keeps you focused and ready to help your team troubleshoot any issues and complete harvest as efficiently and safely as possible.

Stay on track

It’s also important to also keep an eye on the business side of your operation – and the people you need to communicate with about the farm’s business.

The business side is key because as the farm’s leader and CEO, you’re the one with the main responsibility to keep the operation on track. Staying in touch with a few different people – even during a busy season like harvest – can pay off in terms of your farm’s business results and bottom line.

Four groups

Here are four different groups to plan on intentionally staying in touch with this harvest season.

  1. Your employees. As the farm leader, you’re probably already communicating with many of your employees daily. But during harvest, the vast majority of your communication with them is likely related to tasks and logistics – discussing what needs to be done, by when, and how. That’s all important, of course, but they also need to hear from you in a different way, too – as a people manager. Check in with employees periodically about how their job is going – not necessarily just to see if everything is rolling smoothly. Ask about how the season is going for them at work and take some time to encourage them. The right word at the right time can be a morale-booster – and that leads to greater employee engagement.
  2. Lenders. Another person who needs to be hearing from you throughout the year, including during harvest, is your lender (or lenders). Schedule time with your lender for a phone call or video chat update, or a combine ride-along depending on their preferences. Meeting with them during the fall – ahead of winter lender meetings – is a great way to provide an overview on how yields are looking and where you expect results to end up, before you sit down with them in their office in the winter. Lenders appreciate proactive communication and an early heads-up about what they can expect.
  3. Landlords. Your landlords also appreciate when you communicate with them at harvest time. Many former farmers may be nearly as excited to hear about early harvest results as you are. Others might appreciate harvest photos or even spending some time out on the farm. Either way, make sure to include each landlord in a harvest update of some sort – according to who they are and what they’ll appreciate most.
  4. Advisors. Any key advisors you work with on critical business aspects of your farm – the markets first come to mind – need to have an open line during harvest. Markets keep moving, even when harvest is in full swing. Since you’re already busy, communicating frequently with your market advisors to discuss what’s going on in the markets is important. Our team of advisors is currently helping our farmer clients prepare for 2022 marketing plans, as well (it’s not too early)!

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The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

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