April 1, 2022

DrKohl_color The Ag Globe Trotter

Dr. Dave M. Kohl

Welcome to the weekly edition of The Ag Globe Trotter by Dr. Dave Kohl.

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Evaluating the macroeconomic landscape can be very intimidating to say the least. Inflated costs, supply and marketing chain disruptions, war, trade uncertainties and weather all signal headwinds appear to be mounting. What are five solid decision-making strategies that have been used over the decades to combat uncertainty and take advantage of the opportunity cycles?

Your North Star

One observation when working and engaging with agriculture producers and professionals is to base your decisions on your “North Star” or your core values, mission and goals. Dr. Don Jonovic, who I had the pleasure to work with over the decades, used this term in transition and business planning. As a naval officer he was responsible for providing guidance to ports by following the North Star before technology was available. The same can be said for business decision making.


One aspect that the pandemic has taught all of us is that adaptability is a key attribute for success. Business strategy must be tested for its ability to adapt to the external environment and shocks that are full of unpredictable events. From the balance sheet to the operating strategy and business mindset, being able to shift will be imperative.

Focus of energy

Every individual and business owner has a finite amount of energy. The ability to channel that energy and focus on productive outcomes will be critical for the bottom line, but also when carving out positive niches in the marketplace and giving back to the community and society.


Being collaborative and interdependent will be a critical skill set and strategy for success. The power of engagement with individuals who both challenge and affirm your business model and mindset will keep you ahead of the curve in both business and life.

Inner focus

Remember, change occurs inward out, not outward in. Staying ahead of the curve requires a mindset shift. A good coach or facilitator is only effective when an individual decides that change is needed!




Dr. Kohl is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Dr. Kohl has traveled over 8 million miles throughout his professional career and has conducted more than 6,000 workshops and seminars for agricultural groups such as bankers, Farm Credit, FSA and regulators, as well as producer and agribusiness groups. He has published four books and over 1,300 articles on financial and business-related topics in journals, extension and other popular publications.

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