...these will allow you to transform your farm forever
We are living in a world of almost unlimited opportunity. For many people, running farm businesses today, this will seem like a strange thing to say because many farm businesses are focused on an all consuming fight to survive. However, we are living in the best time there has ever been to be alive and the best time there has ever been to be a farmer.
There are opportunities that will present themselves to you as a business owner in the next few years which, if you are able to capture them, could have a transformative effect on your business and your life. Your major challenge is to have sufficient awareness of the changing world around you to be able to recognise these opportunities when they present themselves.
What your farm does, what it looks like, what your working day looks like, the number of hours you work, how much time you get to spend with your family, the frustrations that you feel on a daily basis - none of these things have to be permanently fixed. Maybe in the past they did, but in the future they do not.
In the future, they will only be there if you choose to allow them to remain. The biggest danger facing the farm is not that you have a lack of opportunity, but that you have a lack of imagination.
THE FUTURE STARTS AS SOON AS YOU WANT IT TO START
There are two things you can change this week which could be the first step towards a bigger and better future for you and your family.
You can change your awareness of how you spend your time. How many of the activities that you do on a weekly basis do you really love doing? How many of the activities that you do on a weekly basis absolutely 100% need to be completed by you? The reverse of both of those two questions is also important. How much of your time each week is spent doing things that you find irritating or exhausting? How many things do you do every week that could be done just as effectively or even better, by someone else?
As a first step towards increasing your awareness of this, do this simple task, something I learnt at Strategic Coach.
Write down a detailed list of every single activity you do over the course of a year. For a manager of an arable business, this list might include planning field work, issuing instructions to team members, driving the sprayer, scheduling grain collections, attending conferences, researching the markets, making selling decisions, opening the post, recording operations, paying invoices , etc. I would be surprised if your list is shorter than 60 or 70 items.
Next, go down this list and mark them as A, B or C.
An “A” task is an irritating task. You hate it, it’s exhausting or boring, but you feel like you have to do it. For me this is administrative tasks like filing or data entry. I’m bad at it, it exhausts me. Other people would be better at it.
“B” tasks are ‘ok’ tasks. They don’t set you alight with excitement but they are fine and they need to be done. For me, this is things like budgeting and cashflow meetings.
Important tasks, probably tasks that need to be done by me for now, but not wildly exciting.
“C” tasks are tasks that you love. They are hugely energising and motivating and you could do them for 12 hours a day and feel more energised at the end of the day than you did at the start of the day. For me this is mostly based around conversations with people. I love explaining the potential for technology to improve farming and working with others to develop a vision for a better form of food production. For other people, it will be entirely different activities.
The trick is to be aware of the things that energise you and the things that exhaust you. You have to be honest with yourself about this. Then you have to be honest with those who work with you. Over time, if should be your objective to give all of the “A” and “B” tasks to someone else. You will not be able to it all tomorrow, but you may be able to shift one or two and it will make you feel amazing! The more time you spend on things you love doing, the more enjoyable your working life will be. Remember that you can give tasks to people that you don’t employ full time, for example through outsourcing, contracting or automation.
I’d be fascinated to hear how you get on with this task - please do send me your feedback.
The second thing that you can do this week which could massively change your future is to increase your awareness of the technologies being developed in the world and to spend some time thinking about how these technologies could change farming and the way we live our lives forever.
You need to develop a mindset which embraces the future and the technology it will bring.
In next week’s blog, I will focus on three technology trends and explore in more detail the impact that these could have on farming. Firstly, I will look at Robotics and how farm robots could enable us initially to automate many of the repetitive tasks we do on farm, but ultimately how robotics could enable us to have a fully digital view of our soil and our crops. The second trend is Aritifical Intelligence, and I will discuss how I believe this technology will rapidly accelerate best practice on farms. The third trend is Blockchain, which will have huge impacts on our lives on and off farm, but which could have a particular impact on how we manage and sell food.
As a farmer, you cannot afford to passively sit by and allow the way that these technology trends impact your farm to be determined by someone else.
Small Robot Company is offering a way for farmers to get directly involved with designing a service which will maximise the way that we use technology to produce food.
We are currently accepting applications to join our Farmer Advisory Group, which is a select group of 20 farmers who share our frustrations with the shortcomings of farming in its current state and our vision for creating a better future for farming.
All of our members pay a £5,000 deposit on Small Robot Company services.
The single most important factor in us accepting new members into this group is our belief that they are farmers who are actively looking to expand and improve both their mindsets and their businesses.
This is an elite group of farmers who are actively engaged in making a positive impact on the world.
Being part of this group gives you:
Access to the very latest technology being implemented on farm
The opportunity to design this new farming system around you and your farm
The chance to be right at the forefront of shaping how these technologies impact the entire industry
A competitive advantage through an increased awareness and understanding of how robotics and AI work at scale, putting you in the best place to take advantage of the opportunities they are going to present.
If this sounds like something you would like to be involved with, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also support our ongoing IndieGoGo campaign which is helping to fund our development.