Stay in Touch with Your Farm Strategy – Even During Spring

Finance First

Keep track of all aspects of your operation in springtime for more success

Published on: April 8, 2013

You're facing a labor-intensive time of the year with spring planting. There's a lot for you to do – or to make sure that your employees are doing correctly. It can be stressful accomplishing this with the uncertainty of weather looming over you.

On fieldwork days, it's very easy to put aside other parts of your business. You may not watch the markets as much. It might be tougher to keep connected with your employees if you're out running the tractor. And you may not keep a close eye on your operation's finances.

Something Dr. Danny Klinefelter said made me think about planting time. He's an ag economics professor at Texas A&M who teaches the popular TEPAP (The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers) ag finance and management seminars for farmers. He tells farmers: "You can't afford to disengage from parts of the business during certain times of the year."

He's right. In today's farming environment, disengaging from part of your business, even for a little while, can cause damage. Here are a few areas that can easily be detached from – but that you need to stay in touch with to be successful.

Commodity markets - Spring can be a very volatile time. If you're managing your risk in the markets as part of your overall farm strategy, you have to regularly watch the grain markets.

If you struggle to keep track of the markets as well as you need to in the spring, you might want someone to watch them for you and help with your risk management plan. A trusted advisor helping you with your grain marketing plan frees you up during the spring and other busy times of year, allowing you to spend more time on the production side.

Employee issues – these come up more often if you're not around to manage them through a busy time. Your employees, left to their own devices, might not always make the right decisions. You can head off some of these problems by training employees and setting expectations with them about their responsibilities before busy seasons start.

Farm finances - It can be hard to commit to spending time reviewing the farm's books during planting season. But I'd challenge you to keep an eye on your farm finances. Keeping your finances on your radar gives you the advantage of knowing where you're at. That lets you make the best decisions for your whole operation during planting.