The drive toward improvement fuels many of us. In agriculture, improvement might mean increasing yields or becoming more efficient. Or maybe it’s reducing costs or better conserving a piece of land. Now is the perfect time to dissect 2014 and find areas of improvement for 2015.
If you continue to operate the same way year after year, you’re not likely to significantly improve your farming enterprise. To yield results, changes don’t have to be jarring or abrupt. But you do have to look — sometimes search — for ways to make adjustments. Then you have to be open and committed to implementing them.
On the farm, we have to examine every part of the operation to find opportunities for change. Sometimes, turning to an off-the-farm resource, such as a consultant or trusted adviser, can inspire a change in perspective necessary to dig deep enough, poke in the right places, or simply ask new questions. Many parts of your farming operation — agronomics, marketing, labor, etc. — are obvious starting points. But a truly thorough analysis looks at every aspect of your operation and raises tough questions:
- Are my suppliers earning my business or have they grown complacent?
- Do I manage employees in a way that makes them want to give their best every day?
- Am I devoting enough time to continuing education so that I understand emerging trends?
- Do I recognize — and am I willing to admit — my weaknesses so I can tap other resources?
Agronomic changes can increase crop yields. Better marketing can bring higher prices. Addressing some of the less obvious areas of your farming operation can bring immediate and long-term improvement from top to bottom.
This is an excellent time of year to put pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard. Document the concerns and ideas that no doubt filled your mind through the harvest season. Evaluate and analyze before deciding what you might do differently in 2015 so you can Be Ready to improve your opportunity for success.