Let Your Values Guide You

Now that you have a sense of the skills and assets you bring to the farm, let's focus in on why you're farming. If you're not clear about this, you may feel like quitting once the 16-hr workdays of spring arrive. Understanding how the farm supports the quality of life you need to feel fulfilled and happy is essential. Otherwise you'll feel like you're just milking cows or weeding endless rows of onions, without a clear sense of the bigger picture to buoy you through the difficult parts of farming.

The statements you draft with the farm's other decision-makers provide a framework for evaluating the choices you make. Note that many of these will have nothing to do with farming per se; they need to reflect what you as a human being care most deeply about. From these "values" statements (like "We are paid well for doing work we love" and "We value strong family relationships and spend lots of quality time together), you can begin to construct more specific goals.

To help you clarify your values, ask yourself the questions in the worksheet below. If you are logged in, you can enter your responses in the worksheet and save it for later. Ask everyone who will play an important role in the farm business to respond to these too, and compare your answers.

Concepts around articulating your quality of life in a "holistic goal" come from Holistic Management International, an organization that helps people, especially land managers, make better decisions.

Click To Start Identifying Your Values.

Identifying Your Values
  1. The purpose of this exercise is to help you reflect on your values, beliefs and aspirations.

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