ReachOut: Evolution not Revolution

ReachOut: Evolution not Revolution from United Farmers Cooperative on Vimeo.

Mike Zwingman

Mike Zwingman

It’s that time of year again when we here at United Farmers Cooperative start to plan the RD Summer Series.  We brainstorm presentations, schedule dates of tour stops, and make important decisions about what to feed y’all for lunch, but where it all starts is with a theme.  And that, we most certainly have nailed down.

This year’s theme is “Evolution not Revolution” for the truth it speaks about our age.  Because the world in which we perform our daily duties is ever changing: the climate, the economic outlook, trends in how we utilize technology, all of it.

There’s only a one letter difference between Evolution and Revolution, but it makes all the difference in the world.  Evolution is defined as “a process of gradual, peaceful, and progressive change.”  Revolution is defined as “a sudden, complete or marked, change.”  Evolution takes time.  Revolution might make your head spin.

And not everyone wants their head to spin.  Wholesale changes in tillage systems or crop rotations and the adoption of new technologies aren’t only hard but can be expensive and carry a certain amount of risk.  Most people I know aren’t necessarily comfortable with this and would rather adopt change in slow, gradual, and progressive steps.  This kind of change might mean small tweaks in your tillage operations (rather than a total overhaul), adopting new products, or upgrading equipment for greater flexibility and the option to make other changes in the future.

During the RD Series, we are also going to spend more time on the cause and effect relationship of every aspect of crop development, from seed to grain, plant to harvest, and everything in between.  We will emphasize small, fundamental changes that any of you may choose to make to your operation in pursuit of your goals, dreams, hopes, and aspirations.  We’ll talk more about the mechanics of water and nutrient uptake, for example, the impact of compaction, fertilizer timing, plant health treatments, harvest decisions…the list goes on.

For those of you who embrace the (controlled) chaos of la revolution, do not be dismayed.  There shall still be talk of cover crops, tillage systems, and the introduction of new crops into your rotation.  My greatest hope for the RD Summer Series events is that there is a nut for every bolt, an answer to every question, or at least a plan for how we can partner together to answer those whose solutions are not quite easy.

The RD platform itself will embody our theme of evolution over the coming year as well.  In the months ahead, you are going to see more collaboration between basic manufacturers and our distribution partners to create greater value for you, our owner producers, through productivity driven innovations.  These innovations will come to you not only through new products and processes but also via a greater understanding of the situations that lead to big returns from existing products.  We’ve already selected a few past cooperators to work on some of these new and exciting projects this season.

Header1Evolution is brought about by our internal drive to be better at what we do.  It happens when we look around and see that even small changes can make huge differences and learn to use those small course corrections to help us reach our destination.  Revolution, on the other hand, is often brought to our doorsteps by external forces, but it too can help us reach our destination.  Both can be good.  Both are manageable.  Evolution, friends, is far more peaceful.