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What will you be focused on this fall?

Getty/iStockphoto Soybean harvest autumn with combine in background
Prepare your team now for a smooth, efficient harvest season.

As harvest approaches, it can be easy for farm leaders to feel like they’re being pulled in every direction. Many different aspects of the operation require your attention, and your time and energy as the leader are precious.

Now is a good time to do everything you can to prepare your harvest team for the busy season. Set up a pre-harvest meeting to go over everything that will be important for them to know once it’s “go time”. Consider having a small pre-harvest celebration – maybe for employees and their families, or just the employees.

Knowing that your team is well-prepared for harvest season can go a long way toward taking some of the weight off your shoulders this fall. A team that can conduct operations smoothly will allow you some more time and space to focus on a few other things when it comes to your farm.

Business-focused

What other things am I thinking of? Producing and harvesting the crop is obviously very critical – it’s the farm primary business and revenue generator, after all! But what about the business side of your operation?

Positioning your business well for what’s to come in the ag economic cycle will be one of the best things you can do this fall – and for your farm’s success in the next few years and into the future.

With that in mind, what will you want to focus on this fall when it comes to the business side of your farming operation? What are some key areas of focus the leader should work to stay on top of?

Three to check

  1. Financial metrics. To know if your operation is moving in the direction that you want – toward financial success – you need to have key business metrics in place that are unique to your operation. Then you need to monitor and measure those metrics throughout the year so you know just where your operation stands. Doing this can be helpful when it comes time to make major capital decisions for the farm, and when it’s time to update your lender. Also consider getting some early tax planning done this fall. That can be helpful when it comes to any purchasing decisions – rather than waiting for the “midnight hour” in December.
  2. Keep others in the loop. Speaking of lenders, be sure to make time this fall to update key people including your landlords and lenders. You might offer a ride-along in the combine with you or someone in your operation who can give them a good overview on how the growing season went and what you’re expecting to see this fall. Or you might call or visit them – it just depends on who they are, what they need, and what they like to know about the farm and their land. This is where it really pays off to know your landlords and lenders’ preferences well.
  3. Marketing plans. The grain markets keep moving – even during the farm’s busy season – and they continue to experience volatility and offer opportunity. It will be key for farm leaders who want to have a successful year to stay on top of their marketing plans this fall. Once again, it goes back to creating a well-prepared farm team that can conduct field operations smoothly. When they’re efficient and competent at what they need to do, that allows you to stay on top of what’s going on in the markets, keep in close touch with your market advisor, and make smart marketing decisions for your operation, even while harvest is in full swing. It simply makes everything go much more easily.

Get perspective on the market

Many farmers say that grain marketing isn’t their favorite thing to spend time on. Yet grain marketing is one of the top business drivers impacting the level of success that the farm operation can experience.

Farmers have also found that working with our market advisors has helped ease their minds. The advisors help farmer clients with planning and execution around marketing decisions and help keep them up to speed on the current rapidly-changing grain market situation – and how it impacts their operation.

Get a free two-week trial of our marketing information service (MarketView Basic). Your free trial includes regular audio and video updates, technical analysis, recommendations and more. Learn more about our market advisor programs and offerings at www.waterstreetconsulting.com.

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

 

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