A New Risk Every Day

BY Gregg Halverson

How would it feel to live in a business environment whereby every day was different? And in some cases, the differences were uncontrollable? In the field of production agriculture, I see the trials and tribulations of each day (and night) changing as often as the clock ticks.  When there are challenges occurring, it feels like the clock slows down, and when life is good…presto…the sun is going down and all is well…and unfortunately, the day ends all too quickly. Life on the farm is full of risks, some large, some very impactful and some, not so much.  Some risks can be planned for, and some seemingly come right out of left field. Black Swans appear very rarely, but the nuances of the seasons happen regularly. 

The black swan theory is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.

So, the question I have for today: How do we cope?

I would argue it just may take a special mindset to work in the arena of production ag. There is market risk to think about and plan for, there are the influences of the human component that sometimes mess with that perfect plan. And of course, that old nemesis that we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out is that thing we call “the weather”. Yes, the weather seemingly has a habit of appearing and forcing a change of plans at the most inopportune time. That said, I believe it takes a special mentality, a distinct faith that backstops those negative attitudes that sometimes appear. There is nothing more special than a beautiful sunset over a field of blooming potatoes. Or…that soft spring rain that settles the dust and makes the soil smell especially wonderful. Who else but a farmer has the faith to plant a small seed with the expectation that it will grow, reproduce, and at the end of the cycle, might even result in a profit!

Successful students of agriculture, in most cases, have a resolve to work though the potholes of their chosen profession, coming out the other side with a smile, a positive attitude, and the willingness to do it all over again…..tomorrow. Every season is different, and because of this fact, school is always in session. A positive mental attitude, fortified with a big smile, backstopped with a farmer-style recipe including a large dose of faith, and that ag business environment I just described....just may be some of the secret sauce that resides within a farmer. 

Enjoy dinner tonight, for it was at least partially prepared....by a farmer.