Editor's Notebook: The Power of Connection

March 19, 2016 02:21 AM

One of the things I love about farmers is your individualism—you don’t think the world owes you anything. You know your success or failure is determined by your own hard work (OK, and perhaps a little luck from above). 

But that stoic attitude can be harmful in a season like this one, when it might require your hardest work and keenest brain power just to get by. I have to be honest; I worry about my more stoic farmer-friends these days.

I recently heard our own John Phipps discuss how important his close friends were in helping him get through the rough 1980s. Who’s helping you this year?

My message here is to get connected. There are so many ways farmers can help each other get through the most challenging season. Look into sharing equipment—heck, some operations these days share employees. Think about opening up to your neighboring farmers about the prices you are all paying for inputs and compare notes. One of the best things about our free-market system is the power of consumers—including consumers of agriculture inputs—to make a significant difference. 

I know full well it’s not natural to a lot of farmers to open up about their worries and their work. I’m certainly not suggesting anyone try to take on radically different behaviors just to get through trying times. 

What I am suggesting is your closest friends, the ones who also make a living off the land, can play a big role in lending you the support—in real or intangible terms—to power through until the ag economy recovers again, which we know it will invariably do. 

Good luck as you set out on the 2016 season. Keep in touch, and let us know how you are doing. I’m glad we can share the ride with you. 

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