By Thomas Driscoll, Director of Conservation Policy and NFU Foundation
Whether growing grain and hauling it to the same elevator your grandparents did, raising vegetables to sell to your neighbors, managing a small herd or a big one, beginning producers seek greater efficiencies for their farms and ranches. Running an operation efficiently is critical for a beginning producer to successfully expand or add an enterprise, as well as maintain work-life balance and make time for family.
Many efficiencies are very specific to each operation. Folks engaged in a lot of field work, for example, may find it efficient to arrange their work around the availability of shade or breeze in different areas at different times, working the hottest areas early in the morning and reserving indoor office tasks when the sun is strongest. For others, efficiency might involve a call to a veterinarian or agronomist to consider a particular treatment or crop protectant application based on the conditions on your ground. Some farmers may organize a cooperative to more efficiently use resources and access markets.
Even though the ultimate call on a particular efficiency can only be made by those working the farm or ranch in question, there are certain themes that are well-suited for discussion here at the Beginning Farmer Forum. We will discuss technological developments, innovative models for securing access to equipment, what conservation practices and programs can do for beginning producers, and ways to save on your power bill through energy efficiency and renewable generation. Utilized properly, these efficiencies can save beginning producers time, effort, and money.
What efficiencies have you implemented on your farm? Are there efficiencies you’d like to learn more about? Please share your thoughts and experience, and stay posted to learn more from your peers at the Beginning Farmer Forum!