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How to start your farm plan for this year

Q & A with an expert

Q: It’s a new year. Where do I start when making a farm plan for 2021?

A: January and February are often the months we think of as a new start on crop production, protection and financials for the upcoming spring season.

No doubt this winter has been unique with the COVID-19 protocols in place, making our daily business considerations anything but normal. However, many of us have adapted to the new lifestyle, taken the time to reflect on our priorities and made changes to our core values.

Over the next few months, the best way to start farm planning is to identify those core values for your business and personal lifestyle. Do you want to focus on efficiency and time management so you can take that Sunday drive with the family, and be in the truck not only physically but mentally?

Is managing that work-life balance on par as a priority with production and profit? Consider if there were ways you worked last year you’d like to change, or new ideas you’d like to incorporate.

The next step after identifying your core values for 2021 is to invest in yourself. ’Tis the season to update and invest in new technology,whether it’s technical equipment, trying out a new variety or booking/purchasing new pesticide chemistries. Educate yourself on new products, rewards programs, agronomic practices and equipment and create a budget.

Next, consider what was successful on the farm last year and your goals for the future. Everyone has wants and needs, but it can be a challenge to separate these two. Assessing your short- and long-term budget with a focus on agronomics will segregate needs and wants much easier. Discuss and create farm plans with your retail representative and consider other conversations with a financial advisor, accountant and family.

The ability to look at the big picture can increase awareness and initiate conversations to better the business. Farming is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. Throughout the year, continue to evaluate your successes and make note of the deficiencies in the farm plan. Adjust each term and continue to evolve.

Success is defined as the accomplishment of one’s goals — start your farm planning today.

Jade Delaurier is a manager of agronomic services for eastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba with Nutrien Ag Solutions.

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