More than running numbers

Farming is a lot more than running numbers. It’s about the daily grind, the twice a day feeding and watering of animals. The constant pruning and harvesting of vegetables. It’s processing chickens on the farm, it’s scheduling feed delivery, it’s a hundred different things that have nothing to do with running numbers, but if you never ran the numbers than the rest of the farm would eventually collapse.


The business side of farming is essential, maybe at it’s core if it’s not being supplemented with some outside income. Because unless you can see the numbers, and see the income and expenses, run a balance sheet, see your assets and liabilities than you never know if you're actually profitable. And let’s be honest, unless you’re making profit, it’s not a business. So it can be a fun hobby or a pleasurable past time, but if it’s a farm that is selling product to pay for feed, labor, and expenses than you have to know. You have to know what is selling and what is not. How much it actually costs to produce the end product you’re selling.


I’m often reminded just how much ‘business’ it takes to run a business. It takes a lot. You either are big enough or not skilled enough and hire it out, or you figure out on your own how to do it, or at least scrape by. Most of what I know has been me watching others, doing it myself, and lots of reading. I also realize how much more business is involved with selling farm products than a lot of other businesses. There are a lot of low level entry jobs and businesses that are easy to start and low to maintain, farming is not one of those. The reason most of us are getting into farming is because it’s what we love. The desire to work with the land is greater than the hard part of making money from it. These desires often fight against each other in me and I struggle to find out what I need to do when. I’m committed to getting the farm to a certain point though, and I’ll do what it takes. Learn the skills I need to learn, hire the people I need to hire, I’ll do whatever it takes. There’s certainly times to just cut your losses and throw in the towel, but at the same point there’s the perseverance and endurance that so many success stories have in common. They kept at it through the hard, and they endured, and after the drought came rain. I’m holding out for the rain.