I have always thought the ” going forward” phrase was a little pretentious. You can go backwards, meaning that you have made a conscious decision to follow production strategies that are older technologies, leading a farm/ranch on a heading or a different path which can be successful if the business plan is well thought out. However if you are on the path of the more common larger scale commodities production we think of in the Midwest US, there are likely to be opportunities for you to change the scale and organization of your operation. Danny Klinefelter, professor and Extension economist, Texas A&M University recently spoke about the changes to commodity agricultural production that he sees coming. These changes are in part due to some operations that are under financial stress but he sees these changes also coming from the demands that commodity purchasers are making on their supply chain.
We all know about companies who are asking questions about the way their food supplies are produced and sourced. Gestation crates, antibiotics, growth promotants, BST, layer cages, farm identity preservation, a wide range of small specialty cheese manufacturers, vegan and vegetarian, trans-fats, grass fed and pasture raised are just some of the topics that ag commodity suppliers are dealing with. Some will disagree with Klinefelter on where ag production is headed, but his point about the farm/ranch producer needing the best business management skills to thrive is correct. Most all farmers have high technical production skill levels but those don’t necessarily translate to profitability. Take time to read Danny’s comments. And think about where your farm/ranch is headed the next 5-10 years. Is it on a defined path or not?