I write a lot in this article about taking control, gaining control, controlling the things you can, etc., etc.,etc., but you don’t have to think too long before you can start poking holes in the idea of control. You know well that any person who might declare that they are “in control” of their lives, their business, their kids, their dog, whatever, is actually the hottest mess of a person you’ve talked to that day. It’s like declaring that a joke is funny—any joke that has to be prefaced with the claim that it’s funny is in fact not funny at all.
This thought is still a messy one, but I think I’m invoking Rule 51 (Sometimes, You’re Wrong) for a second time in the history of this article here. I talk a lot about control, but control is only an illusion. Perhaps, in fact, the greatest.
That we have no control over the weather is something that we know all too well, and the last few years have taught us too that we have no control over the grain market or input prices either. Then there are government policies and regulations that tell us that we can or can’t do certain things and over which we have no control. And people—we don’t control them either. And science—another thing we don’t control.
As an industry, we’re continually challenged by these external, bigger-than-us kind of forces. Therefore, I often exhorted y’all to control what is in front of you. To watch your hands. But if I chase even that idea a bit further, here come the holes again: think of all the things in front of you right now that you think you control, but actually don’t. (If you’re not thinking about your kids, then you must know something I don’t. I’m raising mine to be future presidents, but I’m pretty sure that they’ll grow up to be English majors or something like that.)
So I’m taking a new tact this year. This year, the wind is going to howl, the sun is going to shine. The rain is going to fall, maybe too much, maybe too little. Something is sure to happen in Brazil or the Ukraine or the Middle East. A plane will probably crash. Somebody will make a documentary. Markets will either be bearish or bullish. Politicians are going to huff and puff and perhaps blow a house down. In the past, I’d tell you to pay attention to your hands. Today, I’ll tell you to listen up.
These larger-than-us events that often thwart our very best laid plans—they are a lens we need to look through. Our daily operations look different viewed through that lens, and we have a lot to learn by looking through it. What might happen if we looked at our chemical programs through the eyes of an environmental activist? Or if we looked at our fields through the eyes of a thunderstorm? They would look different, and we would learn something new.
Does this mean that we have to agree with the activist? No. Looking through that lens doesn’t mean we have to change our tune. We simply have to look and be open to learning.
The title of my article today is “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Above, that’s all the “Think Globally” part. The “Act Locally” part starts at that point of learning, when we take what we learned and use it in our daily operations. I don’t have to write another page on that, because acting locally is something that you do every day. However, I do think that we still have perspective to gain on it because here’s the awesome part: just as the activist affects you so do you affect the activist, just as the thunderstorm affects you so do you affect the thunderstorm. Life is reflexive. Your actions matter.
Because ladies and gents of Central Valley Ag, you are a global force. You are sons and daughters of freaking pioneers! Let’s stop feeling afflicted by global forces of the 21st century and claim our rightful place as one. Let’s change the world this year through the actions we take in our fields and the cabs of our tractors.
Let’s make a living.
Let’s feed our families.
Let’s feed the people of the world.