By Gary Pahl
Have we got our business plan in place? Are we prepared for the new season? What are our options for a successful new year?
The seed has been ordered. Our crop rotation has been determined. Our marketing plan is in place. We just have to sit back and wait for spring to begin planting…..wrong. This past month is always one of the most interesting of the year. Why you ask? We find out we are not as smart as we always think. After pouring through the previous year’s costs we find out if we could have saved ourselves a lot of money and if we are going in the right direction. Labor costs are always at the top of the list because we harvest a great majority of our crops by hand. We try to be efficient in many respects but when we are in the heat of the battle sometimes we end up making rash decisions by putting a bandage on something when if properly planned out we already have a remedy for the solution if thought out beforehand.
We go through the previous year’s trials and tribulations to put in place plans of action if they occur again. Due to numerous different weather circumstances it is not always the same but at least we have a good understanding what we should do if something similar happens again. The problem could be as simple as plant population, row spacing, right chemical at the wrong time or drinking while planting. Glad to see you are paying attention.
This past month we have attended numerous trade and buying shows where we pick up bits and pieces of what is happening in our industry. This also gives us a chance to mix with other growers and bounce things off of them to compare and hopefully come up with solutions in our industry. There are many challenges facing us today with the ever growing concern of regulatory requirements, immigration, food safety and rising commodity prices. For the American public to continue to receive food at reasonable costs these things must be addressed otherwise American agriculture will become dependent on foreign sources, a road we do not want to go down.