Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Making Farm Decisions...
Yesterday evening I wrote about Holistic Planned Grazing as it was laid out in Greg Judy's book, "Comeback Farms." One of the things about holistic management is the idea that your decisions impact everything involving your farm. That is very true when it comes to all the decisions I make on the farm ... not just the ones that have to do with livestock and grazing. For example ... this is the first year since we moved to Knoxville that I'm not coaching soccer. I loved coaching and working with the girls on my team, but a decision to continue coaching while trying to begin the farm would have had effects felt beyond just my busy schedule. Of course my family suffers when I'm gone for games and practice only to come home with chores piled up. But also, it is difficult to keep your focus on so many things at once and I would find myself at practice with my mind wandering to the farm or the other way around. So ... I guess I had to look at the whole picture and make a decision that was best for my family and the farm and look at how that decision would impact everything else. Plus, it was a decision that I couldn't make on my one (like all farm decisions).
The decision to not coach soccer was a fairly big decision and it's easy to see how whether I coached would have a far reaching impact. But, taking a look at how far reaching the effects of a decision may be is even important to think about when you are making what seems like relatively small decisions in the whole scheme of things. Like right now ... I'm thinking about getting a truck because there are numerous times when it would come in handy on and around the farm. What I need to do is look at the whole picture and decide if it is an investment that would help the family and the farm or if it is something that is not a "need" because the expense or addition would hamper things somehow.
So, here is how my thought process is moving right now. Of course I'm looking at the financial aspect of the decision. How much will it cost? Where will the money come from? Are the places where that money would be better spent or saved? But, that is only part of the story. The vehicle I'm using right now is an SUV which is great for hauling the family around and does great pulling trailers, but isn't as handy going to get wood/feed/stopping at an auction among other things. On top of that since it doesn't get the greatest gas mileage we don't use it for family trips. Would we be better off with a more useful farm truck and a family vehicle? Or is it just too much hassle!?!
On the surface I look at a decision like this and think, "Just make the stinking decision and get a cool red truck!" But, reality dictates that I don't have an endless supply of funds and time so I need to look at the hows and whys of every situation to best use the resources I have. As you might guess my mind rambles over the decisions that have to be made (much like the writing in this post), but I think making a decision based on reality rather than a knee-jerk reaction will help sustain the farm.
**Just an FYI :: My Expedition is for sale now ... I've decided a truck would be a plus, but only after I sell my current SUV and then shop with the money in hand. You can click on the link if you're interested ... consider it helping a beginning farmer if you purchase it ;)