Making a multitude of decisions every day is common practice for farm managers of all kinds. Whether you’re a livestock farmer, organic produce focused or managing farm land that’s been passed through your family for centuries, you have many decisions to make.
Use these 4 tips to ease the stress of making big farm management decisions and begin to cut down on every day farm management priorities.
1 Prioritise your priorities!
Making a list of all the decisions that need to be made does have some benefits. Firstly, you’re not going to forget anything if they’re all written in a list and secondly, you can put the most important at the top. However, to really utilise your priority list you should take it one step further.
Prioritise your list into smaller lists. One way to do this would be to separate it into lists for each area of your farm, e.g. one list for equipment maintenance, one for crop storage (more on these types of lists a bit further down). Or a better way to do it would be to split your list into 3 sections: immediate, important, desirable. Immediate decisions should be made straight away, important decisions need time to think through and desirable decisions are the ones you really want to do for the benefit of your farm, but really they’re not essential and maybe you should leave them for a rainy day.
2 Delegate decisions
Using your lists that have been divided up into farm management sectors means you now have the chance to delegate some of those decisions. Train up responsible employees in specific areas, “grain storage” for example, and making sure they have all the knowledge needed to store and manage grain correctly. This now means you can trust them with making decisions about the grain – you’ll just need to give the decision the ok before it goes ahead. This frees up time for you to make other decisions and make serious farm improvements.
3 Record decisions
Keep a record of the decisions you’ve made. It’s easy to lose track when you’ve got so much to do each day, so save the decisions you make in a spreadsheet or create a tally chart of decisions or areas you’ve made decisions in. You may notice that you’re having to make the same decision about broken machine equipment every couple of months, or that one decision you are making is in fact causing more problems a week or two later. Now you can prioritise that decision ahead of time and work on finding a way to solve the root cause.
4 Aim for long term solutions
Think about the kind of decisions you’re making. Is the task you have come up with going to provide a long-term solution or is it a stop gap until you can fully address the issue? Prioritise long-term solution decisions because they will free up more time in the future for making everyday decisions and should hopefully improve your farm for the better.
An example of this would be spraying your fields for some extra irrigation because the soil moisture drops every couple of weeks. This is a short term solution and prone to problems like evaporation and drift. Try making a long term decision to combat this problem. Consider investing in other irrigation methods that are more effective and once set up are a lot less time consuming.
Hopefully these 4 tips will make decision prioritising a breeze for you in the future! Try not to get too bogged down in the decisions and management of your farm. Take some time to get back to the farm work you truly enjoy and take a holiday every now and then to refresh your mind. If you don’t take care of yourself then you won’t be able to make clear, informed decisions when they could be most vital.