Stage 1: Vision,Mission,Culture

The first stage, which is the beginning of the journey to farming success, views the point where the farming business is currently, what it is doing (the mission), and where it is headed over the longer run (the vision), as well as the culture that drives the farming business in achieving success. At the end of this stage the farmer/management team will be in the position to formulate a mission and vision for the farming business.

The stage is now set to state what kind of farming business is going to be used, how it is going to be managed and who the customers are that need to be found (mission) to achieve success (strategic vision).

The mission consists of the following:

(a) the description of the kind of farming business involved and why does it exists;
(b) how it operates;
(c) how the farming business is managed during the journey;
(d) where the farmer/management team is heading or in which direction they want to go with the farming business; and
(e) who are the clients and how can they be satisfied.

The strategic vision is the envisaged final destination of the journey to farming success. The strategic vision can be changed at any time during the strategic management process (the journey), if and when required.

This is why the farmer/management team will experience the strategic planning and management process as an ongoing, dynamic process.

The terms strategic vision and mission are easily confused. The mission describes the farming business’s product, market and technological areas of emphasis in a way that reflects the values and priorities of the strategic decision makers (Pearce & Robinson 1997). The strategic vision can only be formulated by farmers/management teams who are familiar, not only with potential future events and trends, but also with the prevailing circumstances, or the point of departure of the journey, as well as the existing capacity and capabilities of the farming business (the mission).

The strategic vision may vary between two extremes, namely vague and obscure as a dream, or as specific as an objective. Thus, a strategic vision could be seen as the farmer’s/management team’s dreams in action.

The strategic vision is a situation that the farming business strives for in the future, having a clear picture of how the farming business will change over time. The mission, on the other hand, is the statement of the core business, the clients and how the business will be conducted or managed. The future (i.e. success or long-term goals) therefore forms the focus of a strategic vision, while the present (i.e. the point of departure) in the case of the mission statement, forms the basis.

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