Happy New Year! The new year always seems to get people into the mindset of starting fresh, setting new goals or maybe just reflecting on the year that has passed. Many times, people set personal goals, such as improving their health, but they it is also the perfect time to set resolutions in the barn. Here are some of my ideas to reflect, set goals, and maybe even start fresh.
1. Reflect on production records. What went right? What went wrong? Where are areas you can improve? Use the new year to motivate employees and yourself to focus on one area and try to make it better. Perhaps you can set a goal to keep better records or review your records more often. It’s hard to know where you are going, if you don’t know where you’ve been.
2. Update diets. It’s a good time to meet with your production consultants and nutritionists to discuss current and future diet needs. Nutritionists will appreciate you coming to them during a time when it is not as busy. This is especially true if you have set some production goals that feed and/or nutrition will impact. Share your production goals with others; they can help you stick to it.
3. Review safety and biosecurity protocols. It’s a good time to open up these records and review them. Has anything changed that needs to be addressed? Do you have any new employees that need to be trained? It is also time to check any certification needs for employees, such as PQA and TQA, and set up time to get that completed. You may also want to check your manure management plan to make sure it is up to date with current regulations.
4. Test and clean equipment. Sometimes we forget about equipment that isn’t used very often. For me, I use January to test fire alarms, flashlight batteries and other things around my house that I want working when the need arises. Start fresh in the new year with supplies you will need. Buy some of the extra supplies you’ll need when your current supply runs out. Check your rodent bait and pest traps. Test equipment that you’ll need at a later date. Clean equipment and fixtures in the barn that aren’t cleaned very often, such as light covers, and maybe you’ll get an extra year of use out of them.
Hopefully these thoughts will help you reflect on the previous year and plan for the year ahead. You may have other ideas as well. If you need help with any of your resolutions reach out to your local Extension agents or other service people. I wish everyone a successful 2021!