Farm Management Minute: Outcomes in life

By David Koupal
Instructor, South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management, Mitchell Technical Institute

In our short life here on earth, there are goals we want to achieve. It might be to raise 200-bushel corn, have a 100 percent calf crop or maybe 500 head of cows. We all have those goals both big and small that we would like to achieve. Nevertheless, how are we going to achieve those goals? Here is a list of things we must always consider in every goal.

1. You need to understand what make you happy in life. For some people it might be a relaxing home. Others might be financial benefits. You need to find what makes you happy.

2. The goal should be realistic to our personal or ranching operation

3. Understanding the outcome with the goals and the benefit to your family or ranch. An example might be to own a $150,000 combine but if you have 100 acres of corn, it is probably not financially a good goal to have.

4. The time frame of your goal. If you are 55 years old and plan to purchase new land, taking out a 30-year loan might not be the right time to do so, depending on your financial situation. However, if you are 25 years old then the time period is more achievable.

5. Do the personal and ranching goals work well with each other? Many of our goals will affect each other. The financial highs and lows with your goals can affect each other. Talk this through with your spouse or other family members to see what their thoughts are.

6. Be flexible in your goals. Things will change in life. Marriage, children, up and down of market cycles and financial needs. Even if you do not meet the time line of your goals, it does not mean that they are not achievable.

7. Be patient. Opportunity occurs when we least expect it. That does not mean to sit and wait for opportunity. Nevertheless, create opportunity for the future. Have a strategy to set yourself up for success.

8. Most important. Write down your goals. If you are a married couple, my suggestion is that your spouse right down both their personal goals and business goals. You do the same also. Once they are complete, review them together. The reason to complete them separately is that occasionally a married couple will agree with one spouse to avoid a disagreement.

9. Review those goals sheet annually. From year to year, your goals will change. Even if you do not achieve a goal, document it for the following year.

When the time has come to pass on your legacy, you have to ask yourself what was important in your life. For some it might be a certain financial status, religious comfort or other accomplishments in life. This is not a topic that we can wait to think about. As we get older, it is something we should think about every day. Part of our job at the South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management is to discuss these goals with our clients. If you need assistance with your operation, contact us at 1-800 MTI-1969 or contact David Koupal at 605-995-7193 or [email protected] Visit the center’s website at