Growers are a diverse bunch of people, but as I talk with you all as the season progresses, there is one refrain that I hear from every corner: “If I could do just one thing over, I’d…”
I’ve mentioned before that the typical grower desires to make around five changes to his or her operation every season. The corn matures and we see the repercussions of some decision and grumble and think, “Next time.”
I feel you. While I’m not managing hundreds of acres myself, I do have my modest little projects at our RD sites. Like you, I want my fields to be big and green and full of giant ears and so I make decisions to achieve this goal, while, like you, keeping costs under control and trying to balance and manage the rest of life as well. And sometimes, my calculus is just a bit off and things don’t work out like I thought they would.
The difference is that it’s much easier for me to look at the crappy outcome of a decision and see it as a learning opportunity. I encourage y’all always to do this same thing, but I know that it’s tough when you’re looking at a poor outcome and the calculations start: the money, the time, the thought.
So visit one of our RD Innovation Days and learn something at my expense. This is exactly what the RD sites are for: laughing at me trial and error. Trial and error is a painful thing in your own fields. I mean, it happens every season regardless, but it’s tough to put that error piece into perspective when you’re so personally invested. Not so much when it occurs at an RD site, right?
All three sites are imperfect. All three have a roughness that is ripe for discussion, and maybe a little chuckle. I think that there are definitely some decisions I made regarding irrigation management that I would take back if I could.
But also, maybe not. And here’s the other discussion to have: when you say you’d change something, why? Because, and this is truth, friends, just because you feel that you would have changed things if given the chance, it doesn’t mean that that impulse is correct. Consider why you made the decision in the first place. Consider if the change you think you want to make is actually the right change after all.
These are tough considerations to make alone. There is beauty in discussion and the best answers really do come from a group, not from individuals. So bring it. Bring your questions; bring your thoughts. Meet me halfway at an Innovation Day and we’ll talk. I have no storyboards this year and as few fliers as I could get. I do have a few healthy regrets (irrigation!) and a few lessons to share. I’d like to hear yours and I’d like to have those important discussions that will give us a good bearing as we start to wind down the beast of 2017 and look toward a new year.