Here’s what successful farms do, and why you should try it, too.
It’s exciting to read about the success of farmers like Randy Dowdy, who has astonished us with a record-breaking 171.8 bushels/acre soybean yield this year. Along with this success, Randy achieved 500 bushels/acre corn yield in 2014. We want to know how he achieved such feats and what techniques were used.
Along with growing higher yields, many farmers are asking how they can grow successful operations. Do you have the staff? What’s the risk? When’s the right time for growth? Your operation’s growth can be a balancing act. Managing the equipment demands, labor, buying vs. lease, and your own reluctance to take on more risk can be overwhelming.
Managing Growth Systems for Success
In the spirit of sustaining our legacy, let’s look at how we can experience successful growth in a challenging ag economy.
Delegating is not simple for any of us, yet it is critical to a farm’s success. As operations evolve, day-to-day activities divert our focus from business growth and other priorities. To find out how those ever-increasing daily demands affect family time, just ask your family. As farm owners, it’s subconsciously a source of pride to take on as much work as possible. After all, working harder will bring more success, right? Plus, the employees may not do the job the way you would, and the farm would fall apart without your overseeing every detail.
In today’s environment, we have to look at where we need to focus our efforts and develop or acquire the staff you can depend on. Steps such as these allow you to free up time to give attention to the areas of your farm you may have been neglecting and ensure all areas of your farm are growing at the same rate.
Evaluate Your Weaknesses
The areas of success on the farm are typically the areas we enjoy and therefore where we place our focus. Do you think Randy Dowdy would have accomplished staggering yields if he didn’t enjoy agronomy and crop management?
Areas we don’t enjoy so much become the areas of weakness on the operation. Research, outsource or search out expertise when it comes to those weak areas, and one day you’ll look back and see that weakness has become a foundational strength of your farm.
Your farm’s growth will depend on the management you have in place. Everyone should have a defined role, and everyone needs to be clear on their duties and responsibilities. Employees need to know who reports to whom and have established goals defined to ensure accountability.
With proper organizational charts and reporting structure, you will build a pyramid of staff with job descriptions and benchmarks you will continue to refine. Capable managers and employees will help position your operation for growth.
As your operation grows, inconsistencies and systematic problems can become evident. A typical family operation involves father, son and other family members functioning in various segments of the operation. Many of them admit to difficulties in communicating with others in the operation, especially as the older generation attempts to share wisdom gained through years of experience and the next generation prepares to take over responsibilities on the farm.
In order to combat these difficulties, control systems and standard operating procedures should be implemented on your farm. Ensure the success of the next generation by documenting your knowledge and putting in place systems designed to help with inventory control and other issues. This will help your farm’s future leaders gain wisdom, and they can then enhance those techniques, utilizing the knowledge and technology that will be developed in their lifetime.
Every operator has a passion for their farm. Many have a legacy reaching back to generations of rich family farming history. However, a passion such as that must be balanced with financials to determine the best way to move forward. Accounting tells the story of financial health and capability of the operation; a tool underutilized by many producers. When used correctly, financials will alert you to something amiss and changes that need to be made in your operation. Use your numbers to pinpoint the areas where there are issues, and develop a system to address problem areas.
Learn How to Keep Balance of Your Growth
There is an art to balanced growth systems, and you run the risk of being buried without the proper control. Learn how your peers have implemented successful growth systems. For more expert advice, contact Chris Whited and download your free guide to growing a successful business: