Foresight for Successful Cropping Systems:
Resolutions for Crops Production in 2002
By Zachary Fore, U of M Extension Cropping Systems Specialist,
The start of a new year is a good time to assess what went
well and what didn’t in the past year. It is a good time to think about what we need to do differently to make the next year better than the last one. Some people think of this
process as making “New Year’s Resolutions.” A resolution is a promise or a determination. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions have a bad reputation – they are
made, then often forgotten. Maybe that is because these resolutions are promises we usually make to ourselves, and we don’t feel so bad about breaking them because we won’t disappoint anyone else. (I’ll let
you decide if it’s faulty logic to disappoint yourself).
Some people don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, and some people don’t make them because they don’t want to break them. That’s fine.
When it comes to making improvements to your farming operation, you can call it resolutions, making management decisions, or whatever you like. One
thing we know for sure: Using good information, making plans, keeping those plans in front of us and implementing them is an effective design for success.
Below is a checklist of things you might plan—or resolve—to do on your farm in the coming year. Read them over, think about them, check the ones
that apply to you, then tear it out and post it on your desk or somewhere that you will see it often.
Oh, and about that last resolution, making sure that you are master of your farm, not a slave to it. To explain, you are a slave to your farm when you
are not in control, when events happen to you and you respond. You are the master of your farm when you have a plan and you implement it. Your
plan should be based on good information about what has worked and what has not worked. It should be based on knowledge about what your major
profitability limiting factors are, and how you are going to deal with them.
I resolve (or determine) to:
• Become more informed about factors and trends that affect my
• Make thoughtful plans, then put the plans into action.
• Know my costs of production.
• Use my cost of production numbers to:
1. Help determine what I am doing that is making money so that I can do
more of it.
2. Help determine what I am doing that is not making money so I can fix it
or quit doing it.
3. Market grain more effectively.
• Focus my energies on activities and events over which I have control.
• Not focus my energies on activities and events over which I do not
• Be wise enough to know which activities and events I have control over
and which ones I do not.
• Identify and prioritize primary profitability limiting factors, and begin
managing them from the top of the list on down.
• Join or organize a marketing group.
• Create a grain marketing plan.
• Use the grain marketing plan I have created.
• Get and keep my equipment costs in line.
• Use inputs only where needed and avoid using them as ‘cheap
insurance’ when possible.
• Scout my fields, or have them scouted, so I can make timely, effective
• Know my risks and manage them – price, frost, excess water, disease,
weeds, insects, etc.
• Enjoy days when the weather is nice and I get a lot of work done.
• Forget days when things just won’t go right.
• Make sure I am the master of my farm, not a slave to it.
• Other resolutions or determinations: