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Setting goals for your homestead.

Goals--every homestead should have goals! This applies to the smallest hobby farm up to the largest row crop producers. Goals help guide and point the way to success. Without goals, your farm is stumbling in the dark toward an unknown destination ... most likely, failure. Setting goals is easy. (It's accomplishing them that takes the dedication and hard work!)

Ok, let's set some goals. First, goals should be set in terms of:

Daily goals

Go to your planner, bulletin board, or grab a piece of paper and write down three goals you will accomplish tomorrow. Remember, your goals are in addition to your daily chores and will rarely include these routine duties.

Example: After feeding the rabbits, hens and cattle, I will accomplish the following goals:

1. Begin mowing the pasture for three hours (a 12-hour job to be completed by next Monday).

2. Drive to Charlevoix and buy 20 bags of feed oats from the Sneathen Farm, one hour away.

3. Call Ellsworth Farmers Exchange and place feed order for delivery this Friday.

Daily goal setting is an outstanding way to supercharge your farm operation and kick productivity into overdrive. If you keep it simple and accomplish tasks in small increments, you can almost move the earth!

In agriculture, seasonality lends itself to goal-making. The daily routine on our farms can vary drastically as seasons change. This is a perfect scenario to establish a set of goals and work toward accomplishing them.

Seasonal goals Winter:

* Research vegetable market trends and purchase seeds for the "hot selling" items

* Establish three new direct market accounts for vegetables

* Overhaul tractor engine, fix manure spreader

* Clean out garage

* Research methods to reduce farm expenses by 10% over last year

* Remove old fruit trees; cut, sell as firewood


* Begin planting early season vegetables in hoop house

* Fertilize pasture

* Purchase feed oats, mineral licks, oyster shell, fuel and other nonperishables for upcoming season to lock in costs

* Purchase put/call options to hedge crop, cattle, hog prices

* Spot seed pasture with alfalfa, red clover to add nitrogen to soil

* Pour concrete floor in Port-a-Hut


* Monitor costs and don't exceed limits!

* Maximize time, energy and labor when on task

* Stay ahead of weeds

* Write daily goals to increase efficiency

* Take time to "smell the roses" and enjoy our lifestyle


* Clean out poultry barn, spread litter on pasture

* Buy, transport, apply new sawdust in poultry barn

* Fix rabbit cages, fences, windows, doors, etc.

* Cut, haul, stack firewood for following year's heating or sales

* Design better signage for farmers market

* Contact computer design company and set up farm website

* Purchase building supplies and begin barn renovation

Long-term goals

Long-term goals can be thought of in terms of "where do you see this farm operation in the years ahead?" Perhaps you need to think about setting up a trust, will or other legalities to insure a hassle-free transition to the next generation. Maybe you should focus on house, landscaping and building maintenance to sell the place and take advantage of high land prices. Maybe you'll want to move into new enterprises as market conditions change. Or perhaps purchasing additional land and expanding your operation is a good long-term goal.

Long-term goals focus on the "big picture" and are, therefore, of critical importance to the ultimate success and profitability of your farm. They can be thought of as "crossing the finish line." Each day, small strides should be taken to advance long-term goals. Daily and seasonal goals must compliment long-term goals and aid in the accomplishment of the big picture.

It' never to late to start goal setting for your homestead.


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Article Details
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Author:Edwards, Steve
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Previous Article:Efficiency vs. quality: improving your techniques in a home craft business.
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