The Importance of Strategic Planning for Farmers and Ranchers

Men look at phone in front of grain silos
Strategic planning is a dynamic process that requires continuous adaptation to changing circumstances and is most effective when it includes input from stakeholders, including family, partners, employees, and even customers, suppliers, and buyers. (CAP photo)

The Importance of Strategic Planning for Farmers and Ranchers

“God will not suffer man to have a knowledge of things to come; for if man had a foresight of his prosperity, he would be careless; and if he had an understanding of his adversity he would be despairing.”  This quote by St. Augustine contains the essence of why managers plan. The future is uncertain, and planning is a process for developing a stratagem for taking an offensive position regarding the future.

Planning, or more specifically, strategic planning, is a process of defining long-term goals and objectives of an organization and determining the best course of action to achieve them. It involves such steps as defining the current situation, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and developing a plan of action to take advantage of opportunities and overcome challenges. Parsons (2018) outlined six key components of a business plan and why a farm or ranch should make the effort to develop a business plan (Parsons, 2015).

In this Center for Agricultural Profitability article, CAP Director Larry Van Tassell discusses two steps that make planning strategic: defining the mission of the business, and assessing the external environment and its implications for the farm business.

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