Our world is occupied with the immediate, labour availability, supply chain frustrations, floods and inflation, to name a few? Where’s the long term discussion?
I picked up a quote from Professor Bill Malcom that resonated with the current environment, ‘one of the most important decisions in farming is to have 20 year goals’.
Agriculture has been, and will be a long term play. Our budgets and planning are dominated by 12-month planning horizons, and as in most cases, wealth is created over time, and sits on the horizon. How far does your horizon stretch and what will unfold between now and then?
We are dealing with the immediate impacts, and creating short term plans to manage long term assets, look up, look ahead.
A method to keep in step with changing seasonal conditions, markets and labour supply is by adopting a 5-10 year planning model. We can list the sights and factor in long-term considerations, specifically inflation growth in livestock numbers, and climate volatility. Very significantly it highlights to us what is possible.
After years of seemingly relentless drought, much of the Eastern Seaboard is currently facing floods and the uncertainties of La Nina. As rivers and creeks swell, tributaries fill and you look for a couple of sunny days to get the jobs done, remember to look beyond the now.
If you’re inundated and working through flood and the ensuing damage, I feel for you. It’s a long and messy slog. Try to focus on what you can do hour by hour, day by day. Be patient.
It’s a good time to lean on the fence and check in with mates too. Think about your community and where you’re heading together. Ask yourself, your family and your management team to consider some ways you could manage and mitigate risk together:
Ask yourself, ‘what do I want the future to look like?’
Look up again and see if you can pull it into focus. Then ask if it is possible and what it will take to get there? Again, be patient; look up and ask for advice from those who know where you’re at and can see the horizon with you.
The best time to build a long term plan was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.