Bring Standard Operating Procedures On-Farm

Quality SOPs are flexible to change based on feedback and process improvement. Ongoing training is critical to ensure SOPs are followed regularly.

Absolutely! And,A Handbook for Ranch Managers policy and procedures should be written and copies provided to all managers and employees. As a business consultant, I have seen managers that solve the same problems over and over simply because they had no written policy. — jtl

Bring Standard Operating Procedures On-Farm

 Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual In the middle of the night, you wake up with excruciating pain. The next thing you know, you find yourself in a hospital intensive care unit. You have a medical condition that will require specific treatment in order for you to recover from an ailment.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewThe doctors and nurses use standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure the precision and accuracy of the treatment they administer. For example, they might be required to give you a specific medication critical for your recovery or even survival. The SOP they use to administer the treatment correctly is commonly known as the five rights: right patient, right medication, right dosage, right route and right time.

Combat Shooter's Handbook Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsIf any of these steps is missed, the consequences could be catastrophic. Attention to detail in human health care is obviously critical, yet this example is analogous to the health of your farm. As your business grows, procedures can enhance economic success.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)Why They Work. Although technology has brought us many conveniences and much economic value, it also has increased our need for sophisticated processes. In farming, seasonality is also a consideration. Settings on planters, sprayers and tillage tools must be revisited annually, and the same is true for fertility decisions and yield monitor calibrations. More important is the fact that many operations have employees whose jobs overlap.

Without SOPs, you are at risk of having issues with all of the same problems I described in the medical analogy. Failure to pay attention to processes comes with a cost, whether damage to equipment, compaction or off-target herbicide application.

Moreover, SOPs bring value to the administrative portion of your farm. For example, crop insurance can be the most complicated decision we deal with once a year. Putting together a standard format for decision-making can make this process much more productive. Employee reviews, lender presentations, cash-flow projections, payroll management and many other office duties all stand to benefit from standard procedures.

Implementation Strategies. Identify the areas of your farming operation that would benefit most from SOPs. Think about how those processes are accomplished. How will you change or improve them, and how will you measure whether a new SOP is effective?

Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to develop the procedure. The No. 1 rule is to keep it simple. As you create your first draft, involve people in the operation who are working with existing processes. At each step, ask yourself why things are being done a certain way. It might be possible to eliminate some steps.

After establishing a new process, share it with someone outside the farm or with a younger family member within the operation and see if they can understand it. Sometimes we don’t do a very good job of simplifying processes so others understand it. It can also be beneficial to have a third party come in and work through the process to see whether the steps are accurate and listed in an understandable way.

Once basic testing is completed, go through the process yourself to ensure it makes sense and meets the necessary requirements. When you are comfortable with the SOP, review it personally with all employees and document the procedure by laminating a printed copy and posting it in the workspace.

Quality SOPs are flexible to change based on feedback and process improvement. Ongoing training is critical to ensure SOPs are followed regularly. These days, the old saying “If you want it done right, you’ve got to do it yourself” no longer applies.

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

You might also be interested in the supplement to this Handbook: Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual.

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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