Strategic management is just as important for a one-family farm as it is for a larger farm with many employees, according to Kent Olson, farm management economist with the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

“All farms can benefit from strategic thinking and management,” Olson says. “Much is written about strategic management for businesses, but very little is specifically targeted for farmers.” Olson has just completed a 47-page paper, “A Strategic Management Primer for Farmers.”

Crafting a strategy can help the farmer-manager focus on what is truly important when making decisions — even day-to-day decisions — that will affect the success and survival of the business.

Olson says short-term opportunities such as a good deal on a piece of machinery or threats (“sign now or lose this chance”) may create distractions.

“Paying attention to short-term events is part of scanning the overall farm business environment,” Olson says. You can find his paper at http://agecon.lib.umn.edu on the Internet.