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Any New Year's farm business goals?

Jeff Caldwell 01/04/2012 @ 10:41am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

For a lot of folks, the arrival of a new year means one thing: New Year's Resolutions.

But, a new diet plan, money-saving scheme or general path toward self-fulfillment typically falls off the radar once holiday shine rubs off. So, how about coming up with some resolutions that could more profoundly affect your farm management?

"Many of us develop resolutions (lose weight, stop smoking, spend more time with family) yet fail to achieve the impact we wanted. Why? Perhaps our resolutions are too vague or broad, not written down or too difficult to reach," says Ohio State University Extension educator Mark Mechling.

So, how do you do that? Consider them goals, not resolutions. As such, make them specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding and timed, or "SMART," Mechling says. "Goals should focus your attention, energy and action on desired results," he adds.

Start with small things and write them down. And, keep track of your progress toward those goals, or lack thereof.

So, want to establish some goals for your farm's management in the next year? Here are a few places to start, according to Mechling:

  • Conduct at least two family business meetings to discuss conflict resolution, job descriptions, succession strategies and other long range plans.
  • Complete a will. Surveys show that over half of Americans do not have a will. If you have one, review and update it with your attorney and family members.
  • Get to know at least one non-farming neighbor that I didn’t already know.
  • Convene an advisory group of key business partners- lender, tax advisor, attorney, Extension educator, grain or livestock marketer, feed representative, crop consultant, veterinarian and others- to discuss our current farm business status, marketing plans and future business strategies.
  • Maintain the farm business records on a regular basis so that decisions can be made using the best available information.
Talk: Big stories this year?

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