ALL CHANGE FOR FARMING AND THE REST OF US part 5
Updated: Jan 31, 2022
All farmers should start with themselves. Consider and write down any changes you would like. Then consider and write down any changes that you are going to have to deal with.
Now the tricky part, you need to consider any barriers to change, including whether you yourself, or other business owners or even employees are a barrier to making change happen. Keeping a business, especially a farming business, the same is a comfort blanket of familiarity. However, especially in farming, external events are liable to change this cosy environment.
Because of this you need to proactively educate yourself about changes. This can be done simply by reading the farming press, listening to farming radio or podcasts. However, the best way is to seek out people who have changed their own farming business, become their ally, and learn from them.
Think before following other people’s changes or actions. Think about the negatives and positives of any change. If everybody starts to grow onions the price of onions could fall!
Understand the causes of change. Be curious. The most common causes of change that are farmer will experience are:
Death accident and disaster;
Social change, how farmers are viewed and how people view and consume food;
Fashion – an example of this are potatoes where consumption has dropped as pasta and rice consumption has increased;
Economic change – such as Brexit, Covid 19 and the withdrawal of the Single Farm Payment;
Technological change – for example GPS, quickbooks online, electrification of machinery.
Legislative change – animal welfare laws, withdrawal of chemical usage.
Political change – environmental policy and a switch of subsidies from farming to manufacturing and services.
Understand the key groups of people that can change: yourself; key employees; your suppliers of goods and services; your customers.
Understand the different types of change and determine how you will manage them:
Gradual change – such as phased withdrawal of single farm payment;
Radical change – such as the sudden commercial unviability of growing certain crops;
Crisis management – death, accident and disaster – this should be managed in part by having a simple and accessible written contingency plan;
Growth or contaction of the business – both can be positive actions.
This exploration can help you understand internal and external change to your business and help you with the next stage of planning to manage that change.