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As winter settles in, farmers are quickly turning attention to 2022 farm planning. Factors like farm labor availability and supply chain disruptions potentially complicate some normally straightforward purchase and planning decisions. Planning ahead is more important than ever.

This year’s “off-season” decisions could have lasting financial implications for many farmers. It’s time for a deep-dive into your 2022 farm planning and how you’ll make the most of every dollar of your planned spend.

Crop inputs

Crop farmers could see disrupted availability and higher prices for crop inputs like fertilizer herbicides and pesticides in 2022. As you firm up cropping plans for 2022, act quickly to capture any possible price discounts. Think about product bundling discounts and alternate products or practices in the event a specific herbicide isn’t available, for example.

“Talk to your suppliers early to identify challenges and buying opportunities,” said Nationwide Agribusiness Risk Management Consultant Derek Hommer, CCA. “Consult your agronomist, extension service or weed scientist on programs that will fit your farming operation.”

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Livestock management

The cattle and hog marketplaces have been disrupted in the last two years by processing delays and logistical logjams that have sometimes challenged producers. Because the supply chain has been slowed by things like occasional temporary processing plant closures, Hommer recommends having a “Plan B” in place for both how you’ll support your beef, dairy or hog herd and how you’ll get your animals processed when it’s time to market them.

“Knowing that the supply chain is slow, plan ahead. Cows can and will calve before their due date whether you are ready or not, and even the most closely watched pigs can scour. Make a list of the supplies you will need to take care of your animals and order them well ahead. This will be especially helpful if you face processing delays,” Hommer said. “Stay in touch with your veterinarian on your upcoming plans, so that they too can be well stocked.”

Develop plans for the following components of your livestock management as you consider your 2022 strategy:

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Business operations

The farm labor shortage has gotten a lot of attention since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and it continues to be an issue for many farmers moving into 2022 and beyond. Ensuring smooth operations also will depend on the right insurance coverage in the new year, especially with so much volatility in values for farm assets and things like crop inputs. It will be important to plan for how you’ll manage both moving into the new year, Hommer said.

“Now is a great time to look at labor efficiency as you plan for 2022,” he said. Are there jobs that you can custom hire to cut down on your labor needs? Would an investment in equipment or automation cut down on labor required?”

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