Whole Farm Planning
(Lesson 1. Planning a Grazing System continued)
Before you start improving a particular area of your farm, it is important to evaluate that area in the concept of the WHOLE FARM. You have a certain amount of resources (time, money, enthusiasm, etc.), that you will split among several objectives, not only for your farm, but for your family life as well. Developing a whole farm plan consists of assessing resources, writing a plan with specific goals, developing monitoring tools to measure progress made towards goals, and finally, evaluating and re-planning as needed.
If you have written farm goals, and devised alternative strategies to reach them, you can make proactive and informed decisions of how to allocate your resources. Without a plan, you will only react to situations, and might regret your decisions later on. For example, you allocate money to farm improvements and also family expenses. What is the appropriate amount for each item? When resources are limited, you use them for what seems most important at that time.
First of all, bring together the farm team, that is, people that participate in, and/or are affected by the farm: spouse, children, partner, workers, landlord, etc. Picture the farm not only as a resource to generate income, but also a place to raise your family and a site of natural resources. During the assessment and planning process, be creative but don’t overestimate or underestimate your potential and goals!
Don’t let yourself be a victim of circumstance. If you plan, you can dodge market, price, and weather changes and also take advantage of opportunities.