Too much clutter on the farm?

Is there too much clutter in your finances, farm and personal life?

I was with some clients recently completing some strategic planning and big picture thinking. These clients were very busy, nearly anxious and running at the end of their tether with very little stopping distance.

My discussions with these clients revealed that they had a lot of clutter in their lives, which need to be sorted out. Here are some of the issues we face every day:


Do you have multiple loans, all of different amounts, with varying maturity dates, plus an overdraft, bankcard debt, principal repayments, hire purchase payments …? The bank will love you because you are giving the bank the maximum return they can get. On top of this there may be family loans, all gobbling up fees and interest not to mention your head space.

You could remove the clutter by restructuring all your debts into one loan. You could even borrow enough "working capital" so that you can run your business accounts in credit. Who is in control now? You! The clutter has gone and you can focus back on the business of farming.

Do you have complicated information and data entry? Do you do the GST yourself, or do you pay an expert to get it done as part of your accounting package? Accountants tell me it costs very little extra to get them to do the GST bi-monthly. They only have to press a button at the final GST period to get the cumulative answer to your balance sheets. Sounds easy? It probably is.


Looking at the farm: how is the clutter there? Is the yard full of rubbish, unused plant, empty containers and stuff you might use one day? Do you have many classes of stock, i.e. cows, yearlings, carry-over cows, some steers, a few sheep, a couple of pigs, 2 dogs, 20 chooks, 3 cats plus a goat at the gate on a chain. Could you get rid of the clutter? Why not just run the milking cows and replacements plus your pets?

I see it all the time. We do not stick to our core business. We bring in clutter and then before you know it, we don't know what is important. Get rid of what is not important (clutter) and focus on your core business.


This is a big one to me. As farmers, you are bombarded with information, brochures, must buys, this is urgent, staffing, feeding, feed budgeting, data entry, Dexel, Fonterra and not to mention all the other personal clutter.

This stuff loading up in your head, without a break or respite, can fry your brain and your logic. How can you make good decisions when you are tired, grumpy and overloaded? When you get to that point, you go onto "auto pilot" and trust the decisions you make are nearly right.

Our "chatterbox" (mind talk) is incessant and with all the rest of the business chatter, your mind can easily go into overload and that's when problems start. Clutter can make you start looking backwards, which may result in depression.

In summary, get rid of the clutter from your farm, your finances, your personal and business life. Clutter robs you of vital energy and makes you grumpy. Go for simplicity, logic and common sense. Simple means no clutter.

As farmers, your core business is growing as much grass as you can, efficiently converting it to milk or beef, then selling the product for the maximum return, whilst minimising all costs of production. The difference between the two is profit, available for debt servicing and drawings.


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