TEPAP - Day 6 Morning Session

Published on: 12:15PM Jan 14, 2011

The morning session of Day 6 of the TEPAP conference was presented by Allan Gray, professor at Purdue University. This session focused on strategic management for farmers.

Strategic management for farmers usually requires us to wear both hats – The General Hat (the leader) and The Troop Hat (getting the work done). We seem to spend too much time wearing the troop hat and not enough on the general hat. 

Strategy is all about change:

  • Anticipating the future 
  • Shaping the future  
  • Capitalizing on the future 


If you do not acquire the skills to anticipate the future, you will have a hard time either shaping or capitalizing on the future. It requires us to be proactive not reactive. Strategic thinking means looking outside our business to see how it affects our business. You must do your PEST analysis:

  • Political 
  • Economic  
  • Social 
  • Technology 


Strategic management requires hard work, but the effort will more than pay for itself if the process is taken seriously.

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis will help assess the current situation of the farm. The TOWS matrix will then take this analysis match external opportunities and threats with the internal strengths and weaknesses. Just doing the SWOT analysis does not create a strategy. A farmer needs to implement their TOWS analysis to create the farm strategy.