By the time you read this, spring fever will have crossed Midwest farmers’ minds. It sparks an instinct in most farmers that is unique compared to any other industry, as we feel a sense of a new beginning, life, or simply an end to the winter doldrums. With spring just around the corner, we will once again engage in the ritual many of us have been involved with for nearly forty years of our lives: growing a crop.
I, like many others, may talk about how we need to treat it as a business. Our goal is to utilize each and every tool we have access to in order to manufacture more from less, while protecting the resources we are privileged to use. But the bottom line is, each and every year we take the challenge of working with weather extremes, commodity market volatility, input price cost variations and public policy—not only here but around the globe. It is the farmer’s commitment to feed, fuel and clothe our growing global population while protecting our resources and preparing to hand them on to the next generation so they can continue to produce more.
The American farmer has achieved recognized success, producing more by leveraging science and technology, but the gap continues to widen with global demand growing at nearly 1.7% while supply grows by only 1.4% annually. These numbers explain why nearly 1 billion people go to bed each and every day chronically malnourished. The solutions to solving this are complex and diverse whether you look here at home or across the world.
As you ask, "What can I do differently this year to produce more with less?" also ask yourself, "What can I do differently than any year before and really make a difference?" Make a change to your routine, act on your thoughts like I have, and become active in supporting Farmers Feeding the World. You do make a difference and I challenge you to be a part of it.
Kip Tom is president and CEO of Cereserv, Inc., and managing member of Tom Farms LLC, headquartered near Leesburg in Kosciusko County, Ind. The family business is the leader in seed corn production and provides services globally to Monsanto and DuPont. Tom also serves on the Farm Journal Foundation Board.