Mr. Macher takes a little bit different approach than some of the other books or articles I have read on the subject. Carol Ekarius in, "Small-Scale Livestock Farming" takes quite a bit of time explaining planning and management. That book, which I have read and will post some book reports on later, is full of the whys and hows and nuts and bolts of how to go about writing and planning. Mr. Macher gives a brief introduction on planning and goal setting and ends the chapter with some thoughts on achieving your goals and developing a farm plan. Sandwiched in between is a set of sample goals. I found it pretty interesting to read these hypothetical goals and his thoughts on each one. Also, he broke the goals down into groups of ... "Long-Term Goals" ... "Medium or Intermediate-Term Goals" ...and... "Short-Term Goals"
I thought I would choose one from each of the sections that stuck out as I was reading. Remember these are not my goals ... but they do make a lot of sense to me...
- Long-Term Goal: We are from the city, so I will work part time for a farmer, maybe on weekends, to learn basic skills and ask questions, questions, questions, so that I can gather an idea of what I want to do. I will work for free if necessary to achieve this goal.
- Medium or Intermediate-Term Goal: I will purchase breeding stock, machinery, buildings, and such on as low-interest loans with 3- to 5-year terms.
- Short-Term Goal: We will figure in time for rest and recreation this fall.
-I think that is a great goal for the beginning farmer and I do it as often as I can when I go and work for my uncle and other family. That isn't any better learning that doing around someone who does ... or something like that
-Debt sort of scares me like the plague ... we have never had any, and I think we would be perfectly happy to live our lives without any. But, with that being said I know that there is a place for debt when managed and accounted for properly. I think one key to handling debt is to have a good set of goals and a great business plan in place. Not just a good enough business plan to convince the banker ... but, something good enough to convince yourself!
-I think the reason that this one stuck out in my mind is because it is something that I'm not very good at doing. We have not taken a vacation or real break from my job in a long time ... it is just something that has been difficult for me to do for many reasons. But, after writing about the "farmer burnout" article, and looking at my own life I think this is an essential goal for the small scale farmer ... or anyone!