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Four Keys to Creating, Maintaining a Successful Farm Business

December 1, 2011
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor

You don’t just want to survive in business; you want to thrive. That was the message Jill Eberhart, agribusiness group leader for Kennedy and Coe, shared with a group of around 130 women at Top Producer’s first-ever Executive Women in Agriculture event.

Eberhart outlined four key areas farm operators must master to create and further a successful business.
  1. Clarify your goals. She says you must have a plan for your operation and work toward that with every decision you make. To truly identify your goals, put them in writing.


  2. Collaborate with others to meet your goals. You’re not always going to have the perfect skill set on hand to accomplish your goals. Eberhart suggests finding peers, outside advisers or other business experts to turn your weaknesses into strengths.


  3. Strategize. "Think out into the future, but act in the present," she says. To do this, you must take your outlined goals, then communicate them with your team. Together, you can determine the plan for the future while still making smart business decisions today.


  4. Assess to make sure you’re meeting your goals, and continue to adapt. "Your strategic plan is a continual process," she says. The more generations and people you have involved with your operation, the more likely it is you will need to update or modify goals.
Eberhart says production agriculture has continued to dramatically evolve to become more productive over the last few decades. She suggests ramping up your business planning to match.
The Executive Women in Agriculture event is being held Dec. 1-2. You can follow news and coverage from the event by visiting Top Producer’s Executive Women in Agriculture site. You can also follow it on Twitter under the hash tag #ewa11.


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