If you run any business, you have to plan for the future. But if
you run a farm - especially a family farm - planning for the future
is a must. Your family's well-being, financial security and,
honestly, sanity could be on the line if you don't look ahead. Now
is the perfect time to plan the year ahead and beyond.
You can't predict the future. While we take every precaution for
safety and security, it is not guaranteed. Mother Nature may have
other plans. An illness can strike a family member at any time. You
never know what is around the corner. Having a plan, in writing,
helps alleviate stress should something unexpected arise. This will
ease your mind and the other members of the farm family
If you do not already have the following items in order,
consider starting on them immediately. It is vital to the farm
business that the following be done and in writing.
Update your will or trust. Communicate the information in
the will or trust to your family members now.
Create a list of any farm contacts with names and contact
information - from accountants to plumbers to insurance agent to
suppliers - anyone important to the farm business should be
Have deed information recorded, and if you ever change
ownership, complete a new deed.
Any goals or future plans, such as expansion or hiring,
should be discussed at the beginning of the year. These goals
should include timetables and steps to accomplishing them.
Schedule regular meetings with the important employees on
the farm and keep them in the loop - at least quarterly. This
should happen each year, not just this year, as plans and goals are
constantly changing and the farm is adapting.
Discussing the future is not always easy and can certainly get
emotional, especially as family is involved. But now is the time to
get your plan in order so that you aren't scrambling in the case of
an emergency or an unexpected situation. If you can put the time
and energy now into a secure plan for your future and the future of
your farm, you will have peace of mind for years to come.