As a continuation of my series on being enthusiastic about agriculture, here is the third reason in my top-10 countdown.
Number 3: Raising the Best Crop
In my speeches and seminars, eyebrows will raise and glances between people will occur with nodding and a look of fulfillment when I make the following comment: “The best crop you raise will be your children, grandchildren or youngsters you take under your wing as a mentor.”
Sometimes the focus of the business world can become too oriented toward moneymaking and profit. Granted, you must earn a profit if you plan to stay in business; however, some of the greatest satisfaction and joy agriculturalists experience comes from raising their families. Of course, there are times of discontent, anger and failure to see eye-to-eye, but that is part of life.
Agriculture can be a great industry to for youth to experience a connection to nature, learn about life and death of animals and plants firsthand, and understand the effects of weather, in the form of too much or too little rain on crops. All of these experiences can demonstrate that life is much more than a videogame or a text message.
Being involved in 4-H, FFA and other agricultural groups can be a tremendous way for youth to build emotional intelligence. Having human and animal interaction, learning to work as a team, and learning how to compromise to solve problems are all good skills. As a side note, wouldn’t it be nice if our politicians had some of these skills? Good, old-time work habits can be developed and enhanced by working with livestock, crops, machinery and being outdoors.
Many people involved in agriculture learn the principles of financial management early. Whether it is through 4-H and FFA projects, or youth loans from banks, FSA or Farm Credit, budgeting and responsibility in management of debt and finances is a skill that is useful for a lifetime.
The fun times in my youth, whether it was playing pickup basketball, football or baseball, taught me the art of organization, human relations skills and the fact that sometimes you lose and you just have to get over it and attempt to get better. Attempting to lead a stubborn show calf, picking up stones or cleaning calf pens after a late night out on the town can be activities that build character, pride and a sense of accomplishment when achieved. Yes, raising the best crop of your life has its trials and tribulations, but it is a nice way to carry on a legacy in an industry that can provide excitement in one breath, yet humble you in the next!
Editor’s note: Dave Kohl, Corn & Soybean Digest trends editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.