Do you have a vision for your farm?

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Pennsylvania farm

Where do you see your farm or agriculture business in five to 10 years? At a recent meeting, Bob Hendershot offered these quick tips for developing a vision, setting some goals and managing your farm or business.

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1Resources
One of the first steps in farm planning is identifying the resources you have to make your operation successful. Identify all potential costs and financial resources.

What are your interests? What do you want to grow/raise/do with your farm? Is there a market for it, will it be profitable and will it work on your farm?

Who will help you on your farm? Is your family supportive of your endeavor?

2Goals
Goal setting is critical. Without goals, some spend their entire life planning and getting nothing accomplished.

Goals should be “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound). Set benchmarks (within a year) for measuring success toward a specific goal.

3Management
How you manage your farm and resources can make or break you. Determine what your management skills are by considering these questions:

  • What interferes or limits your management ability?
  • Where is your time best spent?
  • What management chore generates the most potential return or revenue?
  • What is the breakdown of your time spent on various jobs?
  • Are there others in the operation that can do certain jobs or manage certain tasks better than you?

4Final thoughts
Why are you doing this? Is it a hobby or a business? It is fun to have a hobby that makes money, said Hendershot.

Analyze your personal time: Do you have time for this new venture? What will you have to give up to do it?

Communicate with your team: Who will do what tasks? What needs to be done, when and where will it get done, and how will it get done?

Plan, plan and re-plan: You don’t have to wait until the end of the year to review your farm goals or plans. Observe how your business is following through with certain tasks and be prepared to make adjustments to your plan on the fly.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

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