Learning From The Masters

Inside Dakota Ag

I've been learning the secrets to farming success, to reducing stress, to getting your sons in the business and to combining your passions.

Published on: October 26, 2012

I’ve been learning from the Masters this past week -- the 2012 Master Farmers, that is.

We are going to reveal their identities in the December issue of Dakota Farmer.

Master Farmer is one of the oldest recognition programs for active farmers in the nation. It recognizes individuals for their farming and ranching success and their contributions to their family, their communities and their industry.

White interviewing this year’s Masters, I have learned one man’s secret to farming success. It doesn’t have anything to do with smart marketing or getting lucky or picking the right crop to grow. He says the secret is to invest in yourself.

Another Master told me how he discovered how to sleep better at night, even though it is easy to be consumed with worry about all the things you can’t control in farming and ranching -- the weather, prices, disease outbreaks, politics, etc. He found comfort by doing all that he could do for his crops and livestock and then putting the rest in “God’s hands.”

The only downside, he said, laughing as he told me, is that you can’t take credit for anything that turns out right. It was really God’s doing.

I learned from a proud grandfather how he got five sons started in farming. He didn’t just buy more land or cattle. The key was having the boys use his machinery to do custom work. Many of the people they custom harvested and planted for eventually had them rent their land.

And I learned from a clearly religious man that there’s great joy when you can combine your passion for farming and for helping others. He’s discovered how the soybeans he grows on his farm can be used to feed those who are hungry a half a world away. It has filled him with powerful sense of purpose.