Any job creates stress, but farming is one of the hardest. Your livelihood depends on many factors outside of your control. When tough times hit, what are you supposed to do? Throwing in the towel doesn’t work. That just leaves you without any income. What can help, though?
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Keep reading to learn the top ways to get through the toughest times in farming.
Look at What you can Do
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with a decrease in revenue. Instead, figure out what small things you can do now. Little things add up to big changes. Nothing will make things change overnight. But, if you come up with five small ways to turn things around, they will amount to bigger changes down the road.
The smaller changes help you feel in control and less overwhelmed. Every step you take toward financial recovery will make you feel better.
Talk with Vendors and Creditors
If you fall behind on your debts, get in touch with the vendors and creditors. Just ignoring the bills only makes things worse. Instead, swallow your pride and call them. Ask what arrangements you can create. Chances are they’ll have many options available to you. The more open and honest you are, the more options they may provide.
Talk to a Trusted Advisor
Vent your frustrations and difficulties to a trusted friend, preferably someone that understands farming. You never know when they may have suggestions or ideas for you. If nothing else, they can empathize with your situation. Sometimes just getting it off your chest is enough to give you the clarity you need to take steps to move forward.
Diversify Your Investments
If you didn’t diversify before your tough times, do it now. Think of other ways to bring in income that don’t’ depend on the same factors as your current crops/livestock. Having multiple streams of income help avoid the tough times you may be experiencing now.
Use Your Records
If you keep good records, use them to determine when and where things start to fall apart. While you can’t go back and change the past, you can fix the future. What are the factors that led to the downfall? What could you change this time to make things right? It could be as simple as diversifying like the above step. But, you may discover other ways as you peruse your records and see repeating patterns.
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Try to be proactive in your planning. Don’t wait until equipment dies to replace it. Keep careful track of the maintenance and condition of each piece of machinery. Try to time replacement during off-seasons when you have more time to shop around for the best prices. The same is true for crops and supplies. Planning during the off-season gives you more time for level-headed thinking. Maybe you’ll offset those bad times moving forward with a few different decisions.
Don’t Overschedule Yourself
Tough times in farming isn’t a time to overextend yourself. As you try to pick up the pieces and make a plan moving forward, you need time. It’s okay to say ‘no’ to the commitments you just don’t have it in you to handle.
Take ‘me’ time. During this time, fill your own cup. Do what you love doing (aside from farming). Make yourself feel good. It will be that much easier to make the plans to pick up the pieces of your farm and hope for a more successful year.
Most importantly, get help if you need it. Whether you need a financial advisor, farm advisor, or just some good old-fashioned counseling, do it. You are going through tough times and you are entitled to time to yourself. The more you make yourself feel good, the easier it will be to move forward.
Handling tough times in farming may seem impossible, but look at the big picture. The tough times won’t last forever, as long as you take the right steps. Figure out which steps you can do right now – they will immediately help you feel better. From there, put together a plan to keep moving forward. Eventually, you’ll put the tough times behind you and have a successful farm.
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