The Top Line

August 1, 2008 10:30 AM

Look Back, Look Ahead

A favorite story my father tells about growing up on an Iowa farm is the day my grandfather reluctantly sold his final team of draft horses. He farmed with horses as long as he could and certainly longer than he should have.

My father and his older brother loaded the Percheron team on the truck as my grandfather watched from the kitchen window. It was the only day my dad ever remembers his father not leaving the house all day.

Grandpa resisted this change as long as he could. The reality of the situation, though, made him realize it was necessary and he could not afford to not make the adjustment.

In the words of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, "I skate to where the puck is going to be." He never skated to where it was at that moment. My grandfather was where the puck was; he could have benefited from anticipating where it was headed. Looking back and looking forward can help predict what direction to move.

25 years of change. In 1984, there was a need for farmers to go where the puck was heading. U.S. agriculture was just beginning to emerge from the farm crisis, interest rates were correcting and "PIK" gave farm support critics their most famous rallying cry, "Farmers get paid for not producing anything."

It was also a pivotal time in which producers were honing their business skills and transitioning from laborers to managers. The editors at Farm Journal recognized the need to move forward and launched Top Producer to serve farmers and their business needs. In other words, they saw where the puck was headed and went there to serve the producers who did the same.

The next 25. Much has changed since the mid-80s and changes will continue to come—indeed, at an accelerated pace.

We're celebrating our quarter-century anniversary by reviewing the most influential events of the past 25 years in our December issue. In January, we will publish our top 25 people, events and trends that will impact agriculture and your business in the next 25 years. After rolling out this theme in January, we‘ll build on it at the Top Producer Seminar, Jan. 21 to 23, 2009.

So what should be on the list? Send me your ideas, and we‘ll look ahead to the next 25 years of agriculture‘s exciting future!

To contact Greg Vincent, e-mail

Top Producer, Summer 2008

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