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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

heart of Ag

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Amanda Radke

 Eight Ways to Sharpen the Family Ag Business in 2024

Resolutions – nearly one-half of Americans make goals for the new year, but very few actually stick to them. As we welcome 2024, let’s make it our goal to follow through on our resolutions.

To accomplish this, we must first set our resolutions. Then, we must determine ways to realistically follow through with these goals.

1. Prioritize projects and actually finish them.

My husband Tyler and I were talking about improvements to the ranch we want to make in the upcoming year. After Tyler rattled off a list of a dozen projects he wanted to accomplish, I told him we needed to make a list and prioritize.

Which ones should we tackle in the first quarter? In the next six months? The next year? The next five years? The next 10? 

How much money will each project take, and which projects are in the budget to finish sooner rather than later? Which should be put off until a later date?

Now that we’ve finalized what we can realistically accomplish in the next 12 months, it’s time to put the plan into action and actually get these plans completed so we can move down the list to loftier goals in upcoming years.

2. Find a way to increase productivity.

There are always ways to improve efficiencies, increase yields and get more out of each blade of grass and every cow in our care.

Identify areas where improvements can be made and follow through. Let’s accomplish more with less in 2024!

3. Spend more time with family.

At the end of our lives, it’s not our jobs that matter, but the people we get to enjoy each day with.

Carve out more time for loved ones. Make memories together as a family. Don’t get so busy with the hustle and bustle of ranch life that you forget who and what really matters. 

And, the great thing about working in agriculture is we often get to do it alongside our families. 

Memories can be made outside – in the barn, out in the pasture, in the combine – just as easily as they can be made on a beach or a cruise. 

4. Make better financial decisions.

Save. Invest. Reduce expenses. Adjust family standard of living. Make frugal choices, but spend where it counts. Invest in assets to move the needle. Be aggressive in those investments where and when you can. 

Whether you’re in agriculture or not, this is a common resolution for many each year. This year, stick to your guns, and by 2025, your bank account will reflect these new habits.

5. Focus on healthy living.

The average age of the American rancher is 58 and climbing. As we age, more health problems tend to creep up. 

Take care of your health by making wise dietary decisions. Focus on quality protein and fats. Skip the sugary drinks and snacks to avoid the afternoon lull. Prioritize sleep and pencil in rest as needed. 

Your body and mind will thank you, and your kids, grandkids and great-grandkids will love having you around for decades to come.

6. Network more.

Attend the cattlemen’s meeting you’re always too busy to make time for. Set up a regular coffee date with neighbors. Make it a habit to engage with customers more often. Reconnect with old acquaintances. 

We are the sum of the people we spend the most time with, so network with people who make you better and enrich your life. It’s worth taking the time to do so.

7. Learn something new.

My dad received a drone for Christmas, and he has high hopes he’ll be able to check fences, water tanks and calving cows from the comfort of the house. 

But first, he has to figure out how to fly the thing.

Learn something new in the upcoming year. This could be finally mastering social media, improving mechanical skills to cut down on the costs of equipment breakdowns or investing in genomic testing and using the results to make better keeping and culling decisions. 

The sky is the limit, and there is plenty to learn with so many advancements in agricultural technologies.

8. Schedule more office time.

Whether it’s a family business meeting, filing paperwork, tracking inputs and outputs, organizing records or updating the will and estate plan, dedicate more time in the office to manage your business. 

Making this a priority will help with tax preparation, daily decision-making in the business, long-term sustainability of the ranch and keeping all family members on the same page.

I’ve listed my top eight areas any family ag enterprise could focus on in the upcoming year, but I would love to hear your additions to the list, as well. E-mail me at

Amanda Radke is a rancher, author, motivational speaker and podcast host. For more from Radke, visit

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