Road Warrior

Enthusiastic About the Future of Agriculture: Top-10 List, Number 2

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To continue my top-10 countdown, here is my number two reason to be enthusiastic about agriculture.

 

Number 2: Three G’s: Generosity, Goodwill and Giving Back

The other day in a seminar in the Midwest, I probably irritated some landlords in the audience. My point was that some landlords are becoming greedy by seeking the highest land rent. I further commented that a person leasing your ground is like a long-term annuity. Are they just “milking” your asset or are they attempting to maintain or improve it? Then I commented that some may consider assisting a young person getting started so that the legacy of your business or the industry can be carried on. Given the nods and “elbowing” between couples and business partners in attendance, these comments resonated with some in the audience, particularly those representing the older demographics.

Generosity or giving back is a unique quality that I have observed throughout my years of working with the agriculture industry. Here are several examples that demonstrate this quality.

  • Successful, experienced farmers and ranchers volunteer to be mentors to a group of young producers. They teach them production, finance, and operations, and mentor them on how to avoid mistakes and build on successes. These individuals truly are an invisible hand to those seeking to learn and better themselves.
  • Landlords provide an economic break, offer use of their assets, or co-sign a note to get a young person started. This is being played out often in the agricultural community.
  • Those who host urban or suburban youth and families, or people from other countries, cultures, and religions, and listen to their stories allow for a bonding experience that is everlasting, particularly in a global society.
  • Lenders and agribusiness professionals go beyond their normal job responsibilities and requirements to assist people in business and life endeavors. This is often seen on the agricultural landscape.
  • In times of tragedy, such as a barn fire, untimely death or accident, rallying around and joining together to lift people in a “can do” manner is played out each day in agriculture and rural America.

Each of us involved in agriculture must seek ways to engage and work together, using our time, money, and other resources to make our industry and the world a better place. If we do this, then there is a good chance another Super Bowl commercial like the popular Dodge truck advertisement will be played in Super Bowl LXXV!

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What's Road Warrior?

Dave Kohl is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He can be reached at sullylab@vt.edu.

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