What farmers and landowners need to do to have a successful 2023
The calendar has turned over and it’s time to put plans for the new year into full focus. New year, new you, as the saying goes.
Hopefully, 2022 was a good year for your farm and your family in which you were able to not only meet, but also exceed the goals you set for the business and on a personal level. Better yet, hopefully exceeding those goals set you up for an excellent 2023.
Though it’s always recommended that you celebrate your successes, the coming and going of seasons doesn’t leave much time – if any at all – for farmers and farm land owners to sit on their laurels. You’ve got to keep an eye on the coming months at all times.
But seeing as it’s early in the year, now is as good a time as any to make sure you set goals for your farm and business that align with your vision for success. Here are a few areas of focus that we recommend you keep an eye on in 2023 so that your farm operations are as successful as possible this year.
Increased land productivity
If 2023 is to be successful, then you will want to evaluate what methods and practices you or the farmers you lease to are using to work the land. While balancing land health, it’s important to identify ways to increase productivity, see better yields and realize better financial results.
One of the ways to increase productivity, especially given recent years of heat and drought affecting yields, is to research and plant the right heat tolerant crops for your land. As the name suggests, these crops are better able to withstand higher temperatures and less water while still providing a good yield.
Another method is to reexamine what fertilizers are currently being used to encourage crop growth and protection. Soil health, as we will discuss in further detail below, can be improved through better fertilizers that meet the land’s current needs.
In addition, a more optimized fertilizer can work to promote better yields for your farm this year. Be sure to have a soil test done to determine what nutrients should be added during application.
Contract and lease negotiations
For those who own land and lease to tenant farmers, or are farmers themselves and also lease land, contract and lease negotiations must always be a priority.
Not only should you be evaluating whether current leases and contracts that you are a part of are functioning in a way that is allowing you to meet your financial goals, but you should also be planning whether the current setup allows that to occur in both the short and long term future.
Take a look at how those agreements between you and your tenant farmer and determine whether they are working well for both parties. Now would be a good time to have a conversation with all parties involved and ask for their input.
Discuss any ideas for how the operation might become more efficient or successful. Also, consider whether current levels of success are sustainable. Finally, be sure to smooth over any areas of opportunity to increase success.
Soil stewardship and sustainability
Regarding success, no farming operation can sustain any high level of performance unless the landowner prioritizes soil stewardship and sustainable practices. These efforts are often some of the better ways to ensure a farm can continue to produce high results and high return on investment for many years.
There are many other conservation practices that also affect soil conservation, such as water conservation. Efforts to use water wisely can have a great impact on overall soil health because they:
- Reduce nutrient runoff.
- Allow healthy soil to capture and retain more water.
- Promote organic matter and organisms that carry water to plants.
How might your farm incorporate practices that can help both soil and water conservation in 2023? Some methods to discuss could include reduced or no-till farming, growing cover crops and rotating what crops are grown and animals are raised on your land.
The past few years have, at times, been a roller coaster for the farm economy.
With that in mind, carefully consider your budget, with a sharp eye on working capital and debt. As Successful Farmer notes, 2023 may not be the year to push the limits as to how much debt you are currently capable of taking on.
Financial smarts will be of the utmost importance this year. Be sure to know what your operation’s break even prices are and have a solid marketing plan this year.
Make sure your crops are protected
Now is also the time to make sure your crops are protected with the right type of insurance for the coming year. If recent years have been any indication, weather events may throw more curveballs that can only be prepared for with proper crop insurance.
Hopefully, you have already been working with a knowledgeable crop insurance provider who has plenty of industry and local experience working with farmers or landowners in situations or with goals similar to your own. That is the best way of approaching these decisions in times with potentially high uncertainty.
Let Midwest Land Management guide your farm forward
This post has only brushed the surface of ways farmers, landowners and tenant farmers can make sure that 2023 is a successful year for business operations but also personally.
To dive even deeper into best practices and receive the kind of guidance and support that only years of combined farm management experience can deliver, get in touch with the professionals at Midwest Land Management.
Located in Spencer, Iowa, and serving the surrounding counties – plus Minnesota and South Dakota – our team is fully capable of developing completely custom plans that meet each of our clients’ individual needs.
From farm management, to farm real estate and insurance services, Midwest Land Management is the area’s premier full-service option for helping clients succeed in their farming endeavors not only now, but also well beyond for future generations.