Dwight D. Eisenhower said “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Today, my friends, we are going to talk about the importance of building a workable farm plan for 2014. I know, I know. Most of you already do farm planning to one extent or the other, but this type of planning is more encompassing and inclusive than maybe most of us are used to. There are similarities to the battlefield and the fields you work with everyday. The information and situation is always changing and influencing our decision making processes. There are unforeseen threats to our crop health and safety that we need to defend against. Lastly, the conditions in which we conduct this operation are ever changing as well…and failure is not an option.
So why is farm planning with the agronomists, banker, insurance agent, and marketing advisor in the conversation important? Well – long answer short – we don’t want you to feel like you are in this battle alone and the more information we know the better decisions we can help you make. Speaking for myself and the United Farmers Cooperative Agronomy team, ensuring your long term success is our goal each day. Quality farm planning with those involved in your operation also eases communication during the busiest of times throughout the year. Just like on the battlefield, that communication sometimes could be the difference between mission success and a not so desirable outcome. For all of us here at United Farmers Cooperative, that communication on what is going to happen, and where, will help us get people and assets in place to best serve your needs when the time to strike comes; as well as build a long lasting relationship with you, our grower, for missions in the future.
The other important thing to keep in mind is that your battlefield has many different scenarios and AO’s (Areas of Operation) that we might have to plan for differently depending on the situations we may see. Fields with hard to control weeds and insect population may take a more aggressive management plan than ones that may not. Additionally higher yielding fields will take on a whole new plan with the implementation of the newest weapons in our arsenal. All this planning and decision making takes two things time and information. In the next few weeks I will lay out the frame work for what a farm plan could look like, and how one might go about doing it. Please take the time to talk with your local FSA if interested in completing one for your farm. Planning is only the first step throughout the winter. I will be talking about implementation and flexibility in future articles, because like Mike Tyson said “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”