Southern Spotlight: I Believe In The Future of Agriculture

James Banahan

James Banahan

Man oh man.  It is February. We’ve got crappy weather.  We’ve got depressed corn prices.

But this week is National FFA Week which is a beacon in the winter for us growers.  Like many of you, I grew up with FFA in my blood and during these dreary February days, the FFA Creed gives me perspective and encouragement and reminds me that all is well.

I believe…in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.

February is a time to remember, to reflect on our past struggles and set plans to avoid encountering such struggles again in the future.  February is a time to read, to think, to tinker, and to fix.  With spring planting less than 60 days away, now is the time to imagine what this season might be and plot your course there.

I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging, for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.

We’re in this industry because we’re passionate about it.  It’s that passion that we need to draw on when the challenges start to overwhelm the pleasantness of our profession.  Sure it’s February now, but March is well on its way.

Which means that there’s a lot to look forward to, and even some good things happening right now.  Right now, calves are being born and with cattle at an all-time high, you might even catch yourself smiling among the muck and grossness.  Right now, we have new snow helping to replenish some much-needed sub-soil moisture.  Right now, corn prices even are at a five week high as I write.

I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.

In these depths of winter, you might feel like hunkering down rather than going out, but even now—especially now—there is socializing to do, meetings to attend.  Grain marketing meetings are already underway, and though harvest might seem light years away, it isn’t: get out and learn some information that will help you lock in the best price this year.  In March, RD meetings will gear up.  Attend them.  Nearly three quarters of growers try at least one new thing with their operation every year: go out and find that thing that gets you jazzed and dreaming of the warm May sun.

Very soon, our world is going to be set on fire with activity: equipment preparation, field scouting, buying, fueling, fixing, planting.  Make use of this blessed calm before the storm to plot and plan, and even on the coldest of days, remind yourself that ours is an excellent profession and that you believe, wholeheartedly, in the future of agriculture.