I came across farm management when I was researching my how to get money as a new farmer post. At first, I didn’t think it was that important. I mean as a new farmer, how much are you managing. In reality, if you have created a business plan, you have already started managing your farm.
What is farm management?
It doesn’t need an epic plan. It needs a direction that you want your farm to go into. It is how to best manage the skills you have, to meet the goals you set.
It is about identifying the gaps that you have as a farm, and addressing those issues. It is about seeing what other farms are doing, and seeing if you can do it better by setting goals and measuring results.
You can take a fun approach to management. You can think about things like what are we doing? How can we do it better? What are you good at?
When you are new farmer, your management plan gives you the opportunity to sit down and check what you’re good at , and what you’re not. It allows you to make decisions based on your strengths and weaknesses. This is an opportunity to talk to your peers about your management plan. Because you’re starting from scratch, getting a friend to look at what your plan is important. Your peers can give you ideas about things you never thought of, and can help make your plan stronger
Questions to ask yourself about farm management:
- What are my strengths?
- What are my weaknesses?
- What are the areas I am missing in my plan, and how can I fix them?
- What is my competition doing?
- What can I do better?
- What are my goals?
- What am I doing to measure results?
Farm Management Canada is also a great place for a number of topics about management.
As a young farmer, where do you start?
It’s about identifying the gaps that you have at your farm and addressing them. You need to think about your farm as a business. This is where it really comes to play. By thinking about your farm as a business, you will treat it as such, you will do things like a SWOT analysis, which helps you find strengths,weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
It’s also about setting goals. Think about using a business tactic like SMART goals. Smart goals are about setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
According to Joe Dickenson one of the most important things you can do as a young farmer when creating your management plan is, to talk to other farmers. Talking to your peers is a powerful tool. It gives you the opportunity to check your plan. You will get different perspectives, new ideas, and a second set of eyes. This is another reason community and farming go together.
When it is all said and done, it boils down to having direction. As a new farmer, if you have made your business plan, you should already have an idea about where you want to take your farm.
Does every farm need a farm management plan?
Not every farm needs to have a management plan written in stone, but every farm needs to have some sort of plan. As I mentioned before, having direction is important. You don’t have to have your whole plan down on paper, but if you do, it shows you exactly where you want to be.
As a new farmer, you’ll need direction. Because you are starting your farm from scratch, knowing the direction for the plan is very important.
Let me reiterate, not every farm needs a plan written in stone. All you need to have is a direction that you are heading.
Farm management on a large-scale
When you are dealing with a large-scale farm, it becomes much more important. You need to manage your staff, you need to manage what type of crops to choose, you need to manage your investments, and need to manage yourself.
However, in our case we are just new farmers, so it is unlikely that you are dealing with a large-scale operation.
What do other farmers have to say
I asked them the same questions I discussed here.
- What is farm management?
- As a young farmer, where do you start with farm management?
- Does every farm need farm management?
Here’s what they had to say:
If you can’t see the video, click here.
One aspect that we talked about in the video was measurement. Measurement doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be crunching numbers all the time. What it really means is, having an idea about results. Think about return on investment.
Questions about measurement:
- Did I get enough bushels per acre?
- Did that tractor I bought perform well enough?
- How can I improve the yield of my crops?
Thinking about the results are important. If you have direction, but you don’t measure the results, why bother with the plan.
Consider this information when you are creating your farm management plan.
Are there other things that you are going to consider when you make your plan?
Further reading for new farmers
- How to get money to start a farm
- How to buy farmland
- How to write a business plan
- Soil management for new farmers
- How to select a piece of used equipment with these four essential tips
- How to choose what type of farm to start