Long Term

Long-term farm business planning

Long-term planning tends to be neglected for many reasons in dairy farming businesses. Uncertainty about the future of returns from selling milk, changes in government support for agriculture, consumer health issues centred around milk and dairy products and a variety of family and personal concerns tend to result in good short- and medium-term planning at the expense of a strategy for the longer-term.

However, due to the nature of dairy farming and farming in general, many management decisions taken now, such as capital investment in new buildings or a change in breeding policy might have limited short-term effects and may only be fruitful in the longer-term. These considerations, coupled with important fiscal issues such as the financial implications of forming partnerships and inheriting land and property only accentuate the need for longer-term goal setting.

Defining goals

Essentially, farm business owners have to define their own goals by asking some difficult questions and acting on the answers. Are they in a position to adapt quickly to newer, more efficient management methods by making new investment? Can the farm business cope easily with changes to milk consumption patterns? Does the farmer or his family want to be 'tied to a cow's tail' for the foreseeable future? Do they have a growing family with whom they wish to spend more free time? Do they have children who they are certain wish to continue in the family business? Do they want to diversify?