There are many good ways of managing a farm, but what about the best ways to carry out farm management? Below we’ve compiled 7 tips that are applicable to every farmer, whether you’re into no-till, precision agriculture, smart farming, cattle… the list goes on.
Make a note of these and ensure that your current farm procedures abide by these rules.
1 – Invest Modestly
Be modest with your money. Live modestly, with a few luxuries but nothing too extravagant. Remember that while your farm might be super successful when the market is good, it could fall in a matter of months – could you maintain your current lifestyle? When it comes to making good investments, pick products and technologies that are useful, ones that will save you money, time or energy. Don’t invest in tech just because it’s new or will reduce your tax bill this year: in the long run it will just have cost you more.
2 – Monitor Carefully
Keep good financial records of all the ins and outs. Work out where money is going, where it’s wasted and where more money should be invested. You need to draw a defined line between personal finance and farm finances. Even if you’re hiring your own family to work on the farm, be very clear in your finances that they are paid like an employee. This will really help when it comes to tax time and if you need to make cuts to your outgoings, you’ll be able to identify the best places that money can be taken from.
3 – Realistic Farm Management
Your farm might be booming as a business, but bear in mind that the economy and markets are always fluctuating. What goes up must come down, as they say. So, expanding your farm might make a lot of sense when the economy is great, but do you have a plan for when the economy goes bad? Will you need to scale everything down or will you be left with half the farm deserted? Plan realistically for all eventualities.
4 – Scrutinise Employees
It’s a tough job to do, especially when you’ve grown close to your employees, but you’ll be helping both them and your farm by closely scrutinising them. Look at how they perform, the qualifications they have and if they’re really earning the money that you pay them. Once you’ve figured out who’s not pulling their weight, you have a few options. Firstly, you can try talking to them, working out why they aren’t doing as well as is needed. Then you’ve got to work on a solution with them, whether that be more training, reduced hours or demotion. The other option is to fire them and send them on their way with a good reference and no hard feelings.
5 – Small Steps
Rome wasn’t built in a day. You should take the same attitude with your farming. Of course, it’s very important to have long term goals to give your farm a direction, but they won’t be completed so easily. Having smaller, baby steps that lead up to one big goal allow you to better track your progress and feel like you’re really achieving something. Boosting morale like this will create further enthusiasm for improvement amongst yourself and your employees.
6 – An Open Mind
You might have made mistakes in the past and you’re certainly going to be making some mistakes in the future. That’s ok! Don’t worry. The important thing is that you get back on your feet, understand why you made the mistake and learn how to never make it again. If you keep getting bogged down by all the negative things in life, you’ll never work up the momentum to get over the next hurdle. Sometimes taking a little break from farming to gain perspective can do wonders for opening your mind to new possibilities.
7 – Ongoing Research
You need to keep researching and stay up to date with latest developments. That means political news that could affect your rights to farm certain crops, local news about what’s going on in the area, and agriculture news about the latest techniques and technology. Luckily you’ve got this fantastic blog to come back to each week (add us to your bookmarks now before you forget) and with the internet at your fingertips, you can catch up on all the latest stories while you’re eating your breakfast!
That wasn’t so hard, was it? 7 seemingly simple farm management practices that are steps on the road to great success. Keep your head up and be positive as you make improvements to your farm, knowing everything you do is going to change things for the better. Leave a comment below letting us know how you got on, and share this article on Facebook so your friends can benefit too.