This past fall I was fortunate to be invited on an agronomy tour of Eastern Europe organized by Horsch LLC. We toured several different farms in SE Ukraine, the Czech Republic and some manufacturing plants in Germany. While on this tour, Michael Horsch, founder and co-owner of Horsch LLC, challenged us to rethink the way we make decisions about our farming business.
This challenge made me think of the saying “if it isn’t broken, then why fix it?” Why do we continue to choose the same practices in farming while hoping for different outcomes? It’s easy for us to stay in our comfort zone and carry on year after year with what’s familiar and what seems to be resulting in an “okay” job.
Fear of missing out or making a mistake leads us to the safety of doing what we’ve always known and done
But what if we could be doing even better? What’s holding us back from trying new practices or procedures? I’m not saying we shouldn’t learn from our past experiences, however relying on past achievements can lead to stagnation. Fear of missing out or making a mistake leads us to the safety of doing what we’ve always known and done.
We often hear producers comment that they know they should be trying or doing certain things but can’t find the time. Given the size and complexity of today’s farming operations, most managers may not have the time or resources available to properly evaluate a situation and make the best decision.
Uncertainty = STRESS
Uncertainty is one of the most destructive obstacles for any business. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about which brand of equipment you use, which row spacing on a planter is better, your tillage practices or any other farm decision you make. When we know the numbers or facts, we can make better decisions, which reduces stress and lets us focus on other parts of the business or personal life.
You might be asking yourself, if I can’t base my decisions on experience, then what can I base them on? Perhaps creating a culture of change on your farm means assembling a team of specialists and/or peers that you know, like and trust to help you find answers. Place yourself in an environment where you can question the current status of your business and your industry.
At Antara, our focus is solving problems for our clients. We accomplish this by facilitating on-farm research and agronomy benchmarking. We leverage the power of group learning and the sharing of ideas to find answers faster. We spend as much time evaluating new practices as we do old ones. By encouraging your team to approach daily decisions with careful consideration, you can convert “But we have ALWAYS done it this way!” to “What can we do better?”
About Jennifer Sabourin
Jennifer is driven by curiosity and has a passion for science and education. Along with her husband Brunel, she is a partner in Antara Agronomy Services where her primary role is Research Manager. Antara launched their own peer group On-Farm Research Network back in 2018, based in the Red River Valley, and have facilitated over 100 field-scale research trials over the past three years