Goal Setting for Organic and Alternative Farms

As we move into the new year, this is a time of reflection for farm and ranch families. A time to celebrate successes, acknowledge the difficulties, and plan for the new year. This reflection can allow for goal setting to be prioritized as well. It can be easy to talk about plans for the future without taking any direct steps to achieve them. Below are a few tips on implementing steps to achieve your goals. 

When creating goals, evaluate your farm, where it is now, and where you want it to be. Whether your goals are expansion, soil improvement, increased production, purchasing new equipment, or others, it pays to plan. Think about how goals often overlap. By making short-term and long-term goals, you can use your short-term goals as measurable steps toward achieving your long-term goals.  

Many things in the organic and alternative livestock world involve goals and planning. Organic certification is a major goal for farmers looking to transition to organic production. This goal takes a significant amount of time and planning. For other farmers/ranchers, better pasture management or decreased use of antibiotics may be sought-after goals.  

Using the SMART  method can help set achievable goals and plan for the future of your farm or ranch. SMART goals are: 

–      Specific: focus on a particular need or problem 

–      Measurable: include numbered amounts to show progress/results  

–      Attainable: be realistic and achievable.  

–      Relevant: What is the purpose behind the goal, and why is it being set?  

–      Time-bound: include a realistic timeline and completion date 

When setting goals, include family members and other members of the farm workforce  who may be able to provide ideas for change and improvement. Working with others can provide a different perspective, add accountability and allow you to celebrate your successes together. 

Whether you are setting large or small goals, take time to create a SMART plan. Check out the resources below to learn more about goal setting. 


Farm and Dairy: 5 Tips for Setting Farm Goals 

OSU Extension: Goat Setting for Farm and Ranch Families 

Rutgers: Writing SMART Goals for your Farm 

NDSU: Personal and Business Goals 

OSU: Developing Goals for the Agricultural Business 

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