For many families, mine included, the impending holiday period promises to be a season of contrasts. We will be delighted by the opportunity to rekindle years-long relationships, eat good food and bask in rest from our labors. Simultaneously, we will be daunted by the long to-do list that precedes such festive occasions, stirred to wrath by unusually voluminous traffic and—dare I suggest it?—miffed by errant words intended lovingly but delivered poorly.
The same kinds of contrasts apply to farm businesses. The end of the year marks a time to celebrate accomplishments, even if they pale in comparison to former years of higher profits and lesser expenses. At the same time, it’s an appropriate occasion to look at what lies ahead and to cast a vision against which you will define progress in the next 12 months. There will be anticipation and plenty of taut nerves.
What Matters Most. In all of this, choose your priorities wisely. Author Seth Godin, a marketing expert and mega proponent of doing work that matters, describes three types of work to which business leaders can commit themselves: important, popular or viral. Whenever he references “audience,” substitute it with “casual observers” or “neighbors” and you’ll see the application for your operation.
“Important work is easily dismissed by the audience. It involves change and risk and thought,” Godin explains. “Popular work resonates with the people who already like what you do. Viral work is what happens when the audience can’t stop talking about what you did. Every once in a while, all three things will coexist, but odds are, you’re going to need to choose.”
You know what is important for your operation. It’s the history, vision and values of your farm. It’s the destination you are headed toward and the journey you’ll enjoy, albeit with ample blood, sweat and tears along the way. It’s the family you get to come home to at the end of an 18-hour day.
This fall, the Top Producer family delightedly welcomed a new addition. Editor Sara Schafer and her husband, Eric, had their first child on Oct. 9. Her name is Ivy, and she weighed 6 lb. 2 oz. and was 20" long. Mom and baby are doing great.
Make Your Move. For those who know Sara, you won’t be surprised that she and our events team haven’t skipped a beat when it comes to investing tremendously in what will be the best Top Producer Seminar yet. It happens Jan. 23–26, 2018, at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, and we truly hope you can join us. This year’s theme, “Make Your Move,” underscores the spirit of optimism producers bring to the agriculture industry day after day in spite of tremendous economic headwinds. Use this prime opportunity to build your business knowledge, network with peers from across the U.S. and scout out your next big opportunity.