Farming is a business and so farmers must treat it as such. This starts with proper planning and diligent execution of all on-farm and off-farm activities. If you intend to make farming your business then keeping records is a very important activity to note. Tracking your income and expenditure, weather trends, the efficacy of applications and treatments on the farm, efficiencies of various technologies, among others, can determine your success or otherwise in farming. You cannot ignore records keeping from your daily chores on the farm.
We have elaborated various tips that can help you in good records keeping on your farms for a very successful farming business.
1. Have a long-term vision
This is for those who have decided to be in farming for a long time. It is important to have a clear picture of where you want to be, as a farmer. A vision, as in any business, will be your long-term guide and motivation. Whenever you pause to ponder over your farms, your vision is what you weigh against progress to see if you are on the path to achieving what you envision. Altogether, your records will be a vital guide.
2. Set goals for your farms
Now, break long-term vision into short-term goals. Do not be too ambitious. Keeping records of various activities will help you track progress. Make sure the goals you set are in line with your vision and set up activities that can address the goals. Think of your resources and which farming enterprise to start with, in which season. Decide how to use your capital and how you intend to generate profit. With your knowledge of records keeping, you will steadily get to your vision.
3. Track money coming in and going out
It is very important for farmers to track their income and expenditure. Keep all your invoices, receipts and all documents on income and expenditure on your farm. Moreover, keep a journal to record all the monies spent especially on labour. Where there are more that one enterprise, you may keep records separately to be able to track progress on each enterprise. Do not forget to record dates of various transactions. Your records will tell you, which months have the highest demands for money.
4. Learn from your data
The records you have kept will be your greatest tool moving forward to achieving your goals and ultimately your vision. From the records, you can compare the cost of inputs and their efficacies. Moreover, you can know from the data if you are truly making a profit. The data should be able to give you all the vital information you need, to make all the necessary changes or improvements. If you do not find any information you want, that in itself is enough information to know what to add to your records the next time around. If you want to get your records keeping right at the first attempt, we are glad to help.
5. Cost your own labour time and where to use it
We are referring to your labour against hired labour. Most farmers think that their own labour used on the farms are worth no money. However, keeping records of your own labour will help you know how to distribute it to maximise profit. Costing your labour will give you the true picture of the real cost of production in a particular enterprise. Data on your labour will help you decide when or if you need to hire. Besides, it helps to take up other responsibilities in your farming enterprise.
6. Make use available resources
You do not need to be good at maths or an expert accountant to keep good records. In fact, there are lots of resources available that you can use. You can dwell on your personal experience or that of other farmers. Furthermore, you can seek the help of an Extension Agent from the nearest Department of Agriculture. Agrihome offers lots of information on its blog that can help you along the way. Best of all, Agrihome also offers free support all the way through your production on MyFarm Community. Just start your inquiry in any area of choice.
7. Develop successful habits
Keeping good farm records is obviously one of the key habits you need to develop, as well as a focus. With a focus on the set goals and vision, you are always bent on learning from the data and improving. Develop the habit of organising your records very well and making your plans for them. Set times to look at your books. Either weekly, monthly or quarterly. This will help you concentrate on other activities and evaluate your data at other times at specific intervals.