Learn Or Let Someone Else Farm

Nor' east Thinkin'

Pokey oldsters need to get out of the way and give youngsters opportunity

Published on: July 9, 2010

During the last few weeks, I’ve been visiting young farmers and younger wanna-be farmers. I’m happy to report that there’s a rock-solid generation of better-educated young people becoming next-gen farmers.

Of course, the upcoming generation will make mistakes. Didn’t you?

But my almost 20 years involvement with Pennsylvania Farm Link has taught me that far too many older farmers still think they’ve got to die gripping the farm’s title in their gnarled hands. The truth is: Those people have failed in their primary goal – to plant their next generation.

August’s American Agriculturist will feature several of these young people. One is from an exceptional family that’s wisely and joyfully transitioning to the seventh generation.

The other was a young woman who fully intends to be her farm family’s next generation. Now in her final year at Penn State, she’s already captured key elements of her education – always be open to learning new ways to do old things.

Who are they? You’ll have to wait for the August issue to find out.

The point of this commentary is . . .

If you ever think you are as good as you can be, you just as well give up, retire to whatever and give somebody else a chance to succeed or fail. You’re already played out.

Years ago, a young ag writer told me: “I’m as good a writer as I’ll ever be.”

And I fired back, “If you really believe that, you’re dead. You have no future in this business.”

Fortunately, it must have sunk in. Today, she’s one of the best ag communicators in America. And there’s a good chance you’ve read some of her work.

So when you lose your excitement about planting new “oats”, you’ve gone to seed. Give over the job to someone with new “oats” and ideas. Be there to advise, but not get in their way.

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