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Planning for Change

We all know that change in farming is hardly anything new.

Terry Betker"Over the years, I've come to respect that there are some things, from a management perspective, that are really challenging for farmers to do."
- President and CEO, Terry Betker.

"I talk to farmers who have identified the need to make changes in how their farms are being managed. They will have come up with ideas on what the changes might look like and will often express their frustration in the difficulty in their implementation.

There are a few reasons why I think this happens:

One is procrastination. There generally isn't any real urgency – as in 'this needs to be done this week' – to the adjustments. But, soon a month or two slips by with no action and soon a new production season is looming. This is the second reason. The production season for farmers is critical, justifiably filled with urgency and stress. In these situations, human nature causes people to revert to what's worked in the past. When the production season ends, it's back to the drawing board when it comes to adjusting management plans. So, if you've committed to implementing some changes in management, what do you need to do this summer – during the busy season – to ensure that you don't lose focus?

There needs to be a plan, and this is the third reason management changes take time. The lack of a plan is a significant stumbling block to change. How simple or complex the plan is can become a factor.

The last reason is related to the ownership and management structure of the farm business. Management and ownership are almost always one and the same. So, if the person who is responsible for making the changes in management isn't getting the job done, who do they report to? Themselves? The lack of accountability can be a major issue and at the same time, one of the easiest to remedy. Accountability to a third party can be a very effective way to maintain focus during the busy season as well.

Read this article and more from Backswath team members in the Winter 2017 edition of Backswath's 'Shop Talk' Newsletter.

Coming Events

Farm Progress
- June 21-23, 2017

Farm Business Development Initiative

We have Backswath Consultant Associates registered with the Government of Saskatchewan Farm Business Development Initiative (FBDI).

Visit our TEAM BIOs to find an FBDI registered Backswath consultant.

Want to know if your farm management needs may be eligible for funding? Contact a Ministry of Agriculture Farm Business Management Specialist, or visit

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