Adaptive management is a constant theme in agriculture, and it's something we must subscribe to. As farmers we're always adapting to whatever Mother Nature throws our way. And in some cases, we have to adapt to man-made problems.
An example on our farm is the grain handling and dryer project we began working on earlier this year. The hold up seems to be that one of the equipment companies is not building a vital part of our project. This equipment was scheduled to be built July 7th!!
Sooooo… I guess this blog is really about the constant need in agriculture to adjust to changes and events.
What happened? Everything was going smoothly and on schedule through early July. The dryer was installed, the main electrical and natural gas was in place, we had finished our agreed upon project to install the pit and concrete, and the grain legs had been delivered. Life was good!
A vital component to our project was scheduled to be build July 7th, then delayed to July 20th, then delayed to August 20. And here it's mid September and we still don't have it.
We took advantage of a very attractive basis for some delivery to the nearby ethanol plant for September delivery of new crop corn. Because of previous experience with major building projects, we sold less than we normally would have and negotiated a one-week extension into October at contract signing. It looks like we will honor our commitment on this contract by utilizing some outdated grain bin dryers and the fact that the corn crop is ahead of normal maturity. Still, I think that one week negotiated extension for delivering the corn may be needed.
This is just one example of the adaptations farmers must continually address.
Mother Nature continues to be pretty volatile and our seed corn technology seems better adapted for too little water, as opposed to too much water we received this growing season.
Farm Bill changes Another arena where we must be quick to adapt is farm policy. The changes on the horizon for the upcoming farm bill should cause those of us in agriculture to pay attention. There will be less government support and more rules and restrictions for agriculture.
Farmers as a group need to join together to remind our fellow citizens and thought leaders of the value that agriculture brings to them. It appears to me that more and more, special interest groups are influencing farm legislation and we must adapt to their influence. Anchoring ourselves in the sands of change probably won't work.
Adapt or become insignificant.