Time to Reevaluate the Plan

Katie Micik Dehlinger
By  Katie Micik Dehlinger , Farm Business Editor
(Getty images; Photo illustration by Barry Falkner)

Hopefully by the time this magazine issue lands in your mailbox, your corn is growing in weed-free rows, reflecting its timely planting and perfect early fertilizer application. Everything this spring went exactly according to your plans.

Or, did it?

It's incredibly unusual for anything to go exactly as planned, especially something with as many variables as planting a crop. Mother Nature's pretty good at throwing curveballs, too.

Now that the rush of the season is past, it's a perfect time to evaluate where you are, not just on your agronomic plan but also on your business plan.

"Are you still on the path to achieve what you hoped?" asks John Maman, senior director of business development at Nutrien Financial. "If you are, fantastic. What other ways can you gain success? If you are not, what conversations should you be having now that will help you gain the outcomes that you were looking for?"

For some producers, that will mean reevaluating fertilizer or fungicide applications. For others, it means a deeper look at the markets. Farmers across the country will be making space in their bins, but is this the right time to make cash grain sales, or would it be better to sell the physical bushels and re-own them through futures contracts?

Some may need to scrutinize their spending so far this year. Where's the budget? Will that unplanned chemical application result in enough yield savings or growth to justify the expense? How much is on the operating note, and what's the interest rate?

These are all important questions farmers should be asking themselves as the crop grows.

Maman says there is a way to be profitable in every type of environment, even when commodity and input prices are challenging, such as they were this year. "It's about managing the variables that drive uncertainty and not having the variables manage you," he says. "It starts with support networks and keeping close to trusted advisers who are invested in your success."

Whether it's your crop consultant, banker, grain marketing adviser or someone else, now is the time to gather, assess and pick a path forward. Even though things rarely go as planned, the old adage remains true: Failing to plan is planning to fail.


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