It is a brand new year with renewed hope, goals and aspirations. The central questions that would drive these aspirations should be: how do I do more with less?
Do I need a different approach? How do I learn from my shortcomings of last year?”
My take is that one has to be practical with whatever approach you take. While books, magazines and articles on farming and agriculture are vital, it is putting the acquired knowledge into practice that separates the men from the boys.
New Year resolutions are good, but if they are unrealistic, too ambitious or simply not within your means, they would serve no purpose. Perhaps you would want to add to your breeding stock or introduce a new bull to sire your cattle – the best approach would be to do simple calculations of how much funds you need and the source of funds. That is the practical approach that works.
Starting to travel from farm to farm, looking at possible bulls you could buy while you have not secured funds or made plans to secure the funds is akin to counting your chickens before they hatch – and we do it a lot as farmers. Trust me, it takes more than khaki pants and a matching shirt to claim to be comfortable in your skin as a farmer.
If small-scale crop production was always your dream, then go for it. Get enough knowledge on the matter by reading literature on the topic, attending exhibitions and shows depicting such products – and most importantly, learning from those already in the field. Spare the daydreaming for when you are actually off the ground; be practical by putting things into place that would drive your enterprise.
I can never emphasise enough the need to keep the right company when attempting such missions. It will never work if those you associate with do not see the wisdom of the initiatives you are about to take on. Trust me, the negative energy that they would throw at you over your ambition is more detrimental than actually failing in the business itself. It is, thus, important to keep close to those who share your ambitions and equally support you.
As a footnote, however, it is not wise to completely isolate yourself from general, fair criticism. If no one criticises your plans, you will never learn of your shortcomings and could be heading right into runaway training. Learn to listen.
Be fast to hear and slow to respond; it’s an age-old nugget of wisdom that usually comes in handy.
Perhaps your plans this year are to broaden the market for your fresh produce. After several years of only serving the extreme northern areas close to your production hub of Etunda, you now want to go further south as far as Oshivelo – why not?
I trust that for you to consider such a move, you have already determined that there is, indeed, a market for your product in that area. Next will be to work out the logistics of transport, operating venue and so on.
In all you do, keep the faith by hoping for the best, for it is by faith that we live and farm.
But never forget to plan for the worst, for difficult days lie ahead.