Always Take the Helicopter Ride

Published on: 23:35PM May 20, 2010
As editor of a national farm magazine, one of the best parts of my job is traveling to out-of-the-way places and looking at agriculture from all directions. This week I’m in Amarillo, Texas, talking to local producers about a damaged wheat crop, the exhaustive water situation, wind energy and cattle feeding.
Today I visited with Paul Engler, founder of Cactus Feeders, the nation’s largest cattle feedlot business. While out at one of his expansive feedlots, I was having trouble visualizing the size of the pens, its overall capacity and the ways the alleys worked in relation to the feedmill. Paul offered to let me go up in his private helicopter to take some aerial photos and gain perspective.
I jumped at the chance. I’ve never been one to shy away from an experience that might give me new perspective or offer a unique way to look at a problem or idea. Indeed, the view from 5,000 feet is different than the view from the edge of a steer pen. Seeing all those head of cattle and knowing that Panhandle fed cattle prices took a hit this week gave new meaning to risk management.
A Kansas farmer friend of mine lives by the motto: “Always take the helicopter ride.” Today I began to better understand what he means.
I hope that when you read Top Producer it offers you the kind of perspective that takes you above and beyond your own operation. My goal is to provide you a new vantage point for looking at issues facing agriculture today and to give you tools to think differently about the business of production agriculture. Enjoy the ride!