Episode from the podcastThe Beginning Farmer Show

TBF 092 :: My Farm Business Plan Update, News From the Farm, and a Hard Lesson Learned

Released Wednesday, 3rd December 2014
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If you ask anyone that has know me for even the shortest amount of time they would probably tell you that I am a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of guy. I like to come up with an idea and then just start doing it without putting a lot of thought into how it will get done, or rather more accurately what it will take to get it done. For example there have been more than three or four times when I have brought livestock home to the farm because I really wanted them or because they were a "really good" deal with no plan on where to house them or what will keep them from deciding to hang-out in the neighbors cornfield. The same can be said for my "business planning" up until this point.

Unfortunately I haven't been too concerned with the business of the farm over these past six years and I'm starting to understand that it probably has hurt my decision making along the way. It's not that I haven't been thinking of the dollars and cents, but rather that I didn't dig down deep into what those numbers were saying and how that impacted various things on the farm. All of that is changing though because I am about 1/3 of the way through my business plan workbook and I've been doing a lot of writing, answering questions, and assessing the farm, labor, enterprises, values, and marketing. My business planning isn't exactly flying, but I am finally making some steady progress and along with that progress I'm beginning to recognize a few things that have me thinking ...

My Business Plan Insights So Far ...
  • There is room for growth in my markets ... especially when it comes to hogs.
  • The Meat CSA and our Whole/Half Hog sales need to receive more of my focus
  • I really need to hone in on our shared values for the farm and make some cut-backs in other areas.
  • Pigs truly are the centerpiece of our farm ... by a large margin.
  • Not every enterprise on the farm is a good idea judged purely by the numbers, but that doesn't mean they don't have an important place on the farm
Have you ever made a business plan? If so, what surprising things did you find? What should I be looking for as I do all of this evaluation and planning?

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