Seeing Beyond The Horizon Vital In Tough Times

Farm meeting season gets a bit frenzied. I have heard concerns this winter about weather, about markets and about big problems in production agriculture like herbicide-resistant weeds.

The facts are often challenging, sometimes daunting.

One of the most important things I’ve heard lately was a quote from John Phipps, an editor with U.S. Farm Report. Phipps, at the North Dakota Soy Expo, observed that one of his lessons from the 1980s was that it was his friends and cohorts in farming — people he could talk to, who knew what he was going through — that allowed him to survive through a farm credit crisis.

Phipps is right. It’s people that get you through.

Sometimes we starve our imaginations reaching for the wrong things. People need a certain amount of money, of course. (Farming is supposed to generate that.) But to be successful human beings we need to have the imagination and listening to the colleagues who have multi-generational goals in mind.

Along the same lines, Carl Peterson of Peterson Farms Seeds, hosting a Regional Weed Resistance Symposium, talked about how he became aware of the weed resistance challenges facing other parts of the country, and about his concern for tomorrow — what kind of weed protection farmers will have available to them in the future.

John and Carl  deal with agricultural issues in the long term, but their messages sunk in with me. Farm meetings get the agricultural community together so we can get through.

A glimpse of the future near West Fargo, N.D. on June 23, 2015. -- Photo by Mikkel Pates
A glimpse of the future near West Fargo, N.D. on June 23, 2015. — Photo by Mikkel Pates

1 Response

  1. The 80’s sucked. Hail storms, drought, interest rates, $2.50 wheat and an issue with alcohol all contributed to a fourth generation youngest of five boys having to discontinue farming in 1989. When I think of it and your article reminded me, I’m bitter and cynical. Weather, bankers and government policies (JC and his wheat embargo) are things beyond any farmers control.

    Whew, I snapped out of it. On the bright side Mikkel. I haven’t taken a drink in over twenty years and I went on from farming to successes in other businesses. I’m still in North Dakota and I managed to hang on to the original quarter of land that my Great Grandfather started out on in 1882. I see tough times ahead for farmers and as usual the young ones are probably ill prepared.

    Clyde

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