Spring is an exciting time in agriculture. It represents renewal and opportunity for farmers, the start of a new crop season. After spending the winter months reviewing last year’s harvest results, Spring is when farmers put new, improved plans into action.
The goals of farming are much the same as every other business: sustainability, efficiency and profitability. The decisions farmers make for each crop year are extremely complex and involve for example, selecting seed varieties and crop input products, deciding on crop rotations, and investing in new equipment, technologies or innovations. They also need to consider diversifying the crops they plant to mitigate risks related to pests, weather or markets. In addition, farmers leverage relationships with other specialists – agronomists, scientists and equipment dealers – to provide them with expertise to make the right decisions for their farm business.
Throughout the growing season, farmers must remain vigilant, continually checking their crops for weeds, insects and diseases, and issues related to moisture or soil nutrient deficiencies/imbalances. During harvest, there are also a number of other critical decisions that come into play: when crops should be harvested, the best machinery to use for harvesting and crop storage options to prevent spoilage – to name only a few.
Agriculture inspires us to re-examine our business practices and strategies on an on-going basis. When was the last time you conducted an operations review or a strategic planning session? Just as farmers need to review every agronomic decision on a day to day basis during the growing season, what fine points in your operation are missing the mark and negatively affecting your bottom line?
Consider spring a time to implement new techniques and adopt new technologies. What innovations are available that will make you more efficient and sustainable both in the short and long terms? What might give you a competitive advantage over others in your industry? What’s new in the marketplace that might make your business more profitable and just might be worth adopting?
How can you capitalize on and build relationships with experts to support your business goals? This could include seeking support from financial institutions, community influencers, government initiatives, thought leaders, or other people in your industry who could provide mentorship advice. Leveraging the local knowledge and skills of people within your business community can help you make more informed decisions for your company.
No matter the type of business or business model, take inspiration from farming’s momentum this season to critically assess your operations. It might offer a fresh new perspective to reinvigorate your practices and elevate your bottom line.
– Kim Kennett and Jean Clavelle, co-owners, Magpie Marketing, a Saskatchewan based communications firm that provides services to agriculture businesses and organizations.