ReachOut: Opportunities

ReachOut: Opportunities from United Farmers Cooperative on Vimeo.

By Mike Zwingman
By Mike Zwingman

Today, I’m not going to drop a Star Wars reference.  Or make a sports analogy.  Or tell you a story about a gyro.  I do have an African proverb about a spider (or maybe it was a hippo?) that I’d like to share, but I’m even going to shelve that for now, because I can’t help but feel a little serious today.  The season is starting to feel heavy, isn’t it?  The weather has been difficult.  The markets have been difficult.  The whole thing started uncomfortably late anyhow, and we’ve been playing catch up through some bogus obstacle course ever since.

It’s tough to know where to start when there is so much to do and so much to distract you.  It would make for a bang up article if I could say that you should do this, then this, then this, and viola!  But that’s not the way this works.  The way this works is this: you decide what needs to be done, then you put your head down and you trudge, which is to walk with purpose, and get this crop to harvest.

Because you, friends and dear growers, are absolutely equipped to succeed this season.  Regardless of the market, regardless of the weather, you have in your possession the knowledge and know how to see this through.  Shut out the noise and focus on the present, on your hands at the work.  Move one foot and then the other.

Header12But don’t be blind to opportunity.  Shutting out the noise of the markets and weather doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention.  It means delineating between what you can control and what you can’t.  You can’t control the price of corn, but you can jump on a good price should you see one.  You can’t control the sun, but you can take advantage of a cool and lovely day to irrigate a solid half inch.  Keep your eyes open for such openings and tackle them aggressively.  Make your own luck.

We are entering a stressful period for our corn.  It is a time of high demand from our plants and the cost of failing to attend to this demand is very high.  I know that this doesn’t sound fun.  It isn’t.  But it is an opportunity that you can take advantage of.  (Opportunities, though so exciting and potentially beneficial are, unfortunately, so often clothed in the ugliest get ups.)  This is a time to catch up.  To get back to even.

Header1On the steep curve of demand from our plants, we are yet on the low end.  Soon, as we climb this curve, we’ll enter a dangerous game of water in/water out, when even the slightest miscalculation will cost us yield.  At this moment though, we can still change the rules of this game.  By taking the opportunity now to irrigate to sufficiency, we can give our plants and ourselves a great advantage: we can start ahead.  When that dangerous game does start then, our typical watering habits will maintain that advantage, rather than keep us dancing around that bottom line that means stress and loss to both you and your plants.  Taking the opportunity to irrigate now, and to irrigate well, will put your plants in the black and take the sharp teeth out of the water game that you are about to play.

Opportunities surround us, even in this weird and compressed season.  The tools for success are at your disposal.  Everything that you know about the condition of your plants and soil is a tool.  Your focus is a tool.  Your energy and open eyes.  UFC.  Make your luck, friends.