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Dairy Business Farm Planning

Stage 2.2: What are the main issues you must focus on?

Once you have fully evaluated your current situation, it is useful to look at the strengths (S), weaknesses (W), opportunities (O) and threats (T) for your farm as it is currently operating. You can complete the SWOT analysis for yourself (personal), your business (farm) or a combination of both. Completing this exercise honestly will help you to build on your strengths, take advantage of opportunities, correct your weaknesses and avoid threats.

Fill in the next stage2_2 (29KB, PDF). If you would like somebody else’s view, ask a family member, friend, or fellow discussion group member to fill it in for you.

  • What is working well on the farm?
  • What are you good at? What are the positives about the farm?
  • What advantages do you have?
  • Where can improvements be made on the farm?
  • What is limiting production or profit?
  • What is not working on the farm?
  • What personal traits/ skills do you need to work on?
  • Where do you see opportunities for yourself and your farm?
  • What trends can you take advantage of?
  • How can you take advantage of your strengths?
  • What are the big external threats/ trends that could harm your current farming system?
  • How could these affect your plan?
  • How could your weaknesses expose you to these harmful threats?

On completion of your SWOT analysis, you should identify four key focus areas for attention if you wish to succeed in your plans. These can be for you (personal) or for the farm business. These are the areas that you need to work on – that you must become really good at - over the coming years.

Your focus areas should be more than just the elements of good technical farming i.e. grassland management, breeding, nutrient management, stock management. Technical competence will not be enough in the future. Think of the other skills which you will need in the future e.g. negotiation, cash flow budgeting, forecasting, networking, managing labour/ contractors. Ask yourself if you need to focus on some of these areas.

>> Go to Stage 2.3