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Extension > Agriculture > Livestock > Dairy > Grazing systems > Knee deep in grass: A survey of twenty-nine grazing operations in Minnesota > Long-term goals

Long-term goals

Brian Loeffler, Helene Murray, Dennis G. Johnson, Earl I. Fuller
Reviewed 2008

Respondents were asked to list long-term (10+ years) goals related to their farm business, family, personal lives and community service and public affairs. They were also asked whether or not their goals had changed since they began grazing their cows.

Number Farm business
5 Expand herd size
4 Remain profitable with present size herd
4 Plan and implement farm transfer between generations
4 Increase profitability
3 Increase farm self-sufficiency; reduce input purchases
3 Quit milking in favor of alternative enterprises
2 Convert to organically certified farming
2 Switch to seasonal freshening
2 Reduce physical labor
2 Decrease debt load
2 Build new milking facilities
Number Family and personal life
12 Provide children the opportunity for post-high school education
6 Improve family's quality of life
6 Provide children opportunity to farm
3 Build new house

The family goals were centered on the children. To spend more time with the family was the only common reply to this question.

Number Community service and public affairs
8 Greater involvement in church
5 Greater involvement in school and township
5 Increase involvement with grazing clubs, Sustainable Farming Assn.
4 Become volunteer in local groups
3 Find more free time for further involvement
Number Changes in goals since grazing
9 No changes
7 Less emphasis on production level goals
2 Now have time to set goals
2 Now set aside more free time
2 Incorporate many considerations into single goal
7 No response

Several graziers reporting no changes in their goals stated that grazing has not changed their goals. Instead, grazing was viewed as a tool to reach their goals. Graziers who have reduced emphasis on production-oriented goals said they are now focusing on the bottom line. A holistic approach of combining several goals into one was now used by some graziers. One grazier said, "I now look at my farm as an entire system... all our goals must work together in order to be successful."

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