Farm Horizons, February 2013

Goal setting for 2013

By Nathan Winter, McLeod/Meeker County Extension Office

The end of the year is a great time to reflect on 2012. The end of the year is also a great time to set goals and plans for 2013.

I look forward to thinking back on the previous accomplishments of the past year, and trying to accomplish more in the next year. Hopefully, one can look back on 2012 with positive thoughts and have some great goals for 2013.

My position and work over the last eight years with the University of Minnesota extension in McLeod and Meeker counties has been extremely rewarding. I have tried to set goals for myself that were achievable, but have also tried to set some goals that are difficult to achieve. Setting those lofty goals and plans of work has helped to push me and my work forward.

My role entails providing education to farmers in McLeod and Meeker counties, through educational programs, field days, news releases to the media, radio interviews, e-mail listservs, and technical service. Fulfilling all of these areas is needed to make sure that the education is available and provided where the public is looking for it.

As I reflect on 2012, I have tried to bring high-quality educational programs to the area that can best help producers with their decision making. I have also worked toward weekly communication to area media that insures that the public is aware of educational programs and timely information for their decision-making process. E-mail listservs have been utilized extensively to get information out to clientele. Finally, providing timely feedback to the public regarding their technical service requests is another area that helps to insure that the public is connected.

Some of the educational needs I see in 2013 and beyond include helping farmers with their farm business needs. The price of corn and soybeans has been strong for the last four years. These higher prices, low interest rates, and higher profitability for farmers has also led to increased land rent and land sales in the area. Input prices have also increased in recent years, and these increases, along with land access, have led to increased costs of production. The increased commodity prices, along with the increased cost of production, have increased the amount of money it takes to farm, which can be troubling for current farms, but even more so, for transitioning farms and new farmers.

Strong prices of agricultural commodities, such as corn and soybeans, have also made it more difficult for the livestock sector. These higher prices have led to higher feed costs for farmers in recent years, through either purchasing feed or from higher land access costs. Higher feed costs without higher prices for milk and meat can be detrimental to livestock farmers and the livestock industry.

One of my goals for 2013 is to make sure that farmers are aware of educational programs and resources to better help them with their farm business. Helping these farmers make decisions that can help strengthen their business and lowering their risk is imperative for sustainability.

One of the other goals I have is to make sure that farmers know of the education and resources that are available to them when making farm business decisions.

What are the average farmers goals in 2013?

Setting some goals and putting the pieces in place for them to succeed, having a goal and a plan can help if one becomes a farmer or not. Where does one want to be in 2013 and beyond, and how does one get there?

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