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Dairy Business Farm Planning

Stage 1: Thinking about where you are going

There are three steps in completing Stage 1 of the farm plan.

1. Why are you farming?

Most dairy farmers know what they do…many know how to do it…but very few are clear on why they do what they do. It all starts with clarity…you have to know why you do what you do. Your inspiration comes from the clarity of why.

Once you know why you do what you do, you can decide on the actions you will take to achieve your desired future position (the ‘how’). The ‘what’ is the result of those actions.

Too many people start with the ‘what’, then the ‘how’ and leave the ‘why’ until last or ignore it altogether. Without clarity, there will be no motivation for action.

Some reasons for answering the ‘why’ may include: maintaining or increasing income, to match input price inflation, for retirement, to cope with milk price volatility, for farm transfer / succession, for expansion, to employ labour, for family life, for lifestyle, etc.

Use the first part of this worksheet to record your vision statement (your ‘why’).

2. What are you thinking of doing?

Dairy farmers are continually changing. Everybody has their own idea or vision of where they are going. It could involve changing enterprises, renting extra land, increasing or reducing stock numbers, retiring from farming, employing labour, building new facilities, re-organising farm finances, setting up a new farm, increasing farm stocking rate or a combination of any of these changes.

Whatever your situation, your plan must take into account your current position, your desired future position and how you are going to get there. Focus on the outcome you want, not on what may happen due to external influences or your current position. Don’t confine yourself or limit your thinking to where you are now.

Complete the second part of the worksheet by outlining what you are thinking of doing in the next 5 to 7 years.

3. How is this going to deliver on why you are farming?

Having completed the first two parts of the worksheet, you should check that what you are thinking of doing will enable you to meet your vision (will your planned changes allow you to meet your ‘why’?).

stage1 (28KB, PDF)

>> Go to Stage 2.1