Smart Choices in Agriculture

Smart Choices in Agriculture

Smart Choices in Agriculture (Figure 1) is a process designed to provide agricultural producers with a solid foundation for consistently making good decisions in a very challenging environment. Besides operating in the presence of an incredible amount of uncertainty, farmers and ranchers typically make decisions with multiple short-term and long-term objectives in mind. They have a lot of things they are trying to accomplish with the choices they make on a regular basis.

Sorting through information to arrive at the best choice can be a bit of a challenge when information is deep and time to process seems short. It has been proven that people can learn to make better decisions (Spetzler, et al.). Smart Choices in Agriculture presents an opportunity for agricultural producers to build those skills so they can consistently implement the best decisions for their operation.

People make thousands of decisions every day. Very few of them require in-depth analysis but all of them are made to accomplish something. When I want to quench my thirst, I usually get a drink of water. I don’t need to think about it but the reality is I have several choices I could make to accomplish the objective of quenching my thirst. Given the time of day, the fact that I do not want to drink my calories, and there is a good safe source of water nearby, it is an easy choice to make most of the time. Not all decisions are this easy but they all have the same fundamental components:

  1. the opportunity to make a choice;
  2. a context in which to make it;
  3. the opportunity to generate alternatives if I want to consider them; and
  4. at least some opportunity to assess those alternatives more deeply if desired.

In the end, a choice is made and we move on to experience the consequences.

Read more about the process to make smart ag management decisions in the May 2 Cornhusker Economics by Jay Parsons, Nebraska Extension farm and ranch management specialist.

Process diagram for making smart choices in agriculturev