….and special that in agriculture we tour each other’s businesses (our farms), so freely.
Think how great that is. Really. It’s great! Something that just doesn’t happen in most other industries.
To be able to visit other farm businesses and listen to the owners tell the story about how they got started, how they evolved to where they are today, and what makes their business work is very inspiring and helpful, especially during the present day farm economy. It’s all about stimulating the ideas in other farmers minds. Many, many practices are implemented as a result of what is shared on a farm tour.
Typically, especially in dairy farming, I have seen progressive and diversified farmers be very open about their financials and benchmarks, knowing off the top of their heads what their feed costs are per cwt, the dry matter intakes, and average production per cow per man hour are, etc.. It’s pretty impressive and very transparent.
I have to wonder; do other industries so frequently and honestly tell these things to their competitors? It certainly doesn’t feel like it.
Farmers share their mistakes and their wins. Allowing all to learn what they had to do through the school of hard knocks. Part of our agricultural culture is to share, and we do.
I can’t count the number of farm tours I have been on in my life….especially because my days of farm touring started when I was very young.
And this is why I think that the farm tours are even more special, which is why I started to write the topic of this column to begin with.
We share very intimate pieces of farm business with our children, through the farm tours.
I couldn’t help but wonder, last Sunday, when my kids went on a couple of farm tours with our 4-H club, how many other kids between the ages of 8 and 18 would spend their Sunday touring businesses and learning about the inner workings?
Not many. In fact, other than kids in 4-H, FFA or who had some connection to agriculture, I couldn’t come up with any other person or group that would be doing anything similar to this. Instead, as I thought about it, I figured that most were probably home playing their xboxes and play stations or watching a video on their phone.
Technology has certainly infiltrated the farming community too, farm kids being no exception. But I like to think that the farm has brought balance to our children.
It is the simple fact that our farm kids witness hard work every day. They know what working together as a family is, they know what working together with employees is. They know first hand, about the harsh realities of hanging on tight during a bad economy. They watch and observe the twists and turns of making business decisions because they listen to it every day. And then they use their technological savvy (which is far more advanced than their parents) to pull up on youtube how to change an oil filter on a 4020 rather than wait for their dad to show them how. (Productivity is what we call that!)
Our farm kids are so smart. 🙂
And yet there is still another question that I have that lies in wonder; does all of this sharing happen in publishing? How about among tech companies, grocery store chains or other clothing and retail businesses? And certainly the sharing hasn’t happened to the young ages that we start our kids at. Does it? Am I missing something?
As an industry we have fostered this openness and sharing. Our farm kids have been working in and visiting other farms for ages.
Getting ideas on how to diversify, grow streams of income, and increase profits are all topics that are usually hit upon at a good farm tour. Learning other farm’s best practices, listening to farm financials, and seeing newer technologies is critical. This information along with the ideas will ultimately keep our youth involved in agriculture and their farms alive.
This is what farmers and their kids live for; they love to see, they love ideas, they love to talk…and they love the milk and cookies at the end of the tour.
So with that, I will say have a great weekend! Maybe you will be going on a farm tour. If you do, just think about how special it is. 🙂
Cheers to Friday!