Every year, we work hard to put the plans with the proper tools in place to be successful – but most importantly – we must have the farmers in place. We don’t all drive a tractor, or check pivots, or are able to identify Late Blight, or even come home dirty – but we all play an important part of growing a crop and delivering it to our customers – safely, efficiently and consistently. We are all farmers.
Last week, we invited about 150 of the best farmers we know to set the stage for 2013. These farmers all have different functions in their different locations. Even with these individual job duties and skill sets that it takes to be successful, there are several things that all farmers have in common, and these were evident last week.
Farmers have a passion for community. A huge source of passion comes from our families and our communities where we live. This year, we put a bigger emphasis on giving back. We believe keeping programs local is critical to the sustainability of these communities.
Each farm or team participated in different projects throughout the year in their area. We believe that everyone won – however, as voted on by their peers, the Sales & Transportation team was chosen as the team that really had the “essence” of giving back.
Farmers are friendly. Especially when they have a good year. At this year’s planning conference in Grand Forks, ND, friendships were made and strengthened. Each farm has its own story. Each farmer has his or her own experiences. Farmers may be known to generally stretch the truth, but at the end of the day – they learn from each other and make each other better farmers.
Farmers like to have fun. After long days of learning about the latest technology, potato research programs, crisis management issues, customer relationships and on and on – farmers need to loosen up. We all had a great time with the 2012 Black Gold’n Globes and Spudlympics.
Farmers are realistic. Looking back at this past season, we are blessed with a great year. However, we cannot be satisfied with the status quo. We are farmers. We understand that good years don’t happen every year. We understand that farming is like – a Rubix Cube.
Farmers live in a constant puzzle. Eric Halverson, in his opening address explained that our strategic plan is like understanding the steps to solving the complicated puzzle. However, the weather can mix it up when we almost have it solved. Mechanical issues, people issues, market issues, safety concerns – all of these things can mess up your puzzle at a moments notice. So even if we can figure out how to solve it – it won’t stay solved forever – and we’re back to putting it together again based on the steps or the plan that we know to follow.
Farmers want to farm. Now that we’ve caught our breath, and we generally have our Rubix Cube solved for the moment – the first load of seed is being shipped today and is headed to Texas. It’s time to farm. We’re done relishing in 2012, and now we focus on 2013.
That’s just what farmers do, and we are all farmers.