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The Management Calendar

Farm Business Management Update, April 2008 - May 2008

Gordon Groover (, Extension Economist, Farm Management, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech

I’ve been traveling a bit this winter and the discussion begins with the uncertainty of prices and costs and what that means to the bottom-line and then there’s the drought question. If you are looking for reasons to worry this year, there are plenty to go around. I recall one of my relatives making this statement, “I have to worry because no one else is going to.” He was a grand worrier, and in the tough times he could summarize all the possible negative outcomes to any event or scenario. This approach is very useful, yet it is only the first step in managing risk. There is a chance that by listing out all the negatives that you end up wanting to hide in the barn or spend all day in the cab of the tractor with the cell phone turned off. The most important factor is not to dwell on the downside risk, but to go back to your long term goals and the business and family goals to reacquaint yourself with why you are in this business. Then systematically work through the downside risks, estimating their likelihood of occurrence, use your records to measure the fiscal impact to the business, and possible alternatives and/or strategies to address each concern. This process helps you gain perspective and control over the backlog of items that need to be worried over. Make sure you include everyone in the business to consider alternatives to the current way of doing business and have them look for ways to improve revenue and cut costs. Make sure you consider all suggested items and react positively to all comments and suggestions. Reward people for making suggestions. There’s plenty to worry about, but try to put that effort to good use in addressing alternatives to the current way of doing business.

Selective information available that might be useful:

Listed below are the items that need to be included on the farm business managers' calendar for spring of 2008.

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