One thing we know about living in the 21st century is free advice is everywhere. Typing “farming advice” into Google will land you 47 million links in less than half a second. (Try it!) That’s why we asked Farm Journal’s experts across agronomy, machinery and technology, risk management, government policy and business strategy to have the last say in 2016. We asked them, out of all the advice you could conceivably offer Farm Journal readers preparing for next season, what are your most valuable words of wisdom? We hope, as you prepare to navigate the choppy waters of 2017, you’ll take these messages with you, along with our best wishes for a successful and safe new year. - Susan Luke Skiles
Get Ready to Adapt to a New Era
Your mission this year will be to refine your work habits to a significantly different economic, political and cultural environment. The objectives you strove for in 2016 will not necessarily suffice to keep your operation viable, so adaptation will be paramount. Some values have changed, such as lower environmental concerns and higher competitive pressures. Above all, the arena of economic conflict is much wider and varied. Accumulate data and act on it as rapidly as possible, and above all, evaluate every relationship for usefulness and relevance—historical analogies might prove deceptive.
This is a year where experimentation can yield disproportionate reward as well as devastating risk. Avoiding the choice will be difficult for all but a lucky few. It will not be a year that will pass routinely or without trial, and at the end, your achievements will be bought at a high price. The coming year could also be an accurate sample of the decade to come.