What’s in your Control?

As you look at agriculture today, the landscape looks much different than it did even ten years ago, with talks of six major seed and chemical companies merging into three. Equipment manufacturers are consolidating as well as many retail companies and cooperatives just seem to be getting bigger. It is evident that things are changing. It is too early to see the full impact many of these moves will have on you at the local level or how it will affect the decisions you will make on the farm. Regardless, the way you do business will change and these are just some of the interactions you see. But what about the ones you don’t?

I must admit, I am not a big follower of the markets. I know the ebbs and flow of the commodity markets are something that has a direct impact on you and your business. It always has had some impact on me, but not as direct. I have always been a believer in pushing production vs cutting costs, even when times are lean. There are many things in business that you can’t control, but there are also many things that you can control.

As you look at your business, what are the things you have some control of? I know much of your life is weather related, so you may think you have no control. But I would challenge you to look at things a little differently. If you have not created an account yet and started your first campaign, I recommend you do so. Because each category that we are capturing your information on tells the story of how you farm and how well you work with landowners. Each one of these areas you have some control of. If I were to pick one question in the whole questionnaire that would sum up who you are, how you farm and how you interact with you landowners, it would be this one question: which is more important to you, cutting input costs or increasing production? Are you driven to push for more or save your way to prosperity? This question tells a lot about how you think about your business, and it also tells landowners how you will treat their farm.

So if you are to think about what is the most important area you can control, it is first your mind. How do you think about your business? Who do you surround yourself with? Do they push you to think differently and when they do, do you listen and think through what they are saying? I am reminded of a quote I heard recently that said, “If you are a person who doesn’t listen, you will soon be surrounded by people with nothing to say.” I have experienced this personally in the past several years. This reminds me of a customer I have worked with and I have always been big on trying to bring value beyond the product or service I happen to bring the client. This particular grower was always resistant to anything that was different from the ways he had always done things. After several years of being shut down and every suggestion not worth hearing, I eventually quit sharing the things I thought were of value and just stayed focused on the business at hand. This producer was not someone who wanted to listen and when he did listen, didn’t put it into practice.

Do you look at the growth of your farm the same way? Is it something that you can have some control of, or do you allow the environment around you to dictate your future? Do you just choose to say, I have never been one to try to pick up ground, so I will just let things happen? Or do you follow the words of Abraham Lincoln, “the only way to predict the future is to create it.”? It starts with the mind. Do you have something that is of value to landlords, or are you just the same grower as every other? At Bird Dog, we think you are different. Different is a good thing! Different, you can control!

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