News & Events

Farm Management Minute: New Year, New Goals

by: Nicole Tonak, Instructor

There’s just something about the turn of the calendar that causes us all to pause and reflect a bit about the year that was – it’s victories and failures – and dream about the one that is to come. Each January, I spend time thinking about the big moments in my personal life (in 2023, these included a career change, and the growth of our family with the addition of a son-in-law and two more grandchildren), as well as in my financial and professional life. I think this is a good practice for farmers and ranchers, too.

Each person’s assessment of the previous year and goals for the coming one will differ. Likewise, so will those thoughts vary by operation. However, it is important that you assess what has changed within your farm/ranch operation in the past year that will affect the one upcoming. The 2023 crop year was a challenge for most. No rain vs. too much rain, spring input costs did not reflect the downturn in the commodity markets, and interest rates are something we’ve all had to deal with and budget throughout the year (and we will continue to do so in the year to come). What went well or what needs to change for the year to come?

As you work on closing out the books for 2023, it’s a time of preparation for your farm business. It’s also a time of balancing the books, working on financial forms for your lending institution, preparing for income tax, and looking ahead to what is needed for the new year. Do you have equipment that caused issues all season? Are you able to make a trade or purchase and still manage your cash flow? Planning your spring crop planting intentions and your crop rotation needs to be considered. Are there operational changes such as a college student coming back to join the farm/ranch or a partner that is looking to retire? All of these are questions that you may need to answer and implement a solution.

Everyone needs to prepare and think ahead in order to position the  farm for changes and successes the new year may bring. The Center for Farm/Ranch Management at Mitchell Tech is dedicated to assisting ag producers in South Dakota to become better business managers. We work one-on-one with you at your farm to assist with recordkeeping, cashflow management, identify strengths and weaknesses within the business, and help producers compile and analyze their farm business. Whether you are struggling with balancing out the year or wanting a fresh start for 2024, contact the South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Management at [email protected] or 605-995-7108 or visit for more information. We would like to work with you to continue the success of your farm busines,


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