Jim here. This will be my second opportunity to author the Pinicon Blog. After I wrote the inaugural message in June, this communique has been penned (keyboarded) by an assortment of Pinicon personnel. It has been interesting for me to step back and read their stories. I try my best to know each individual team member, but I was often surprised and always entertained by their unique perspectives. Hopefully you were as well.
Technically, we did not reach our goal to have all the corn harvested by Thanksgiving. However, at 98.4% complete and scrambling to find room for the record yields, we elected to take the day off and celebrate our blessings. No one complained.
There are many highlights from 2015. Here is my Top Ten List in descending order:
10. Completion of shop addition (no more power washing manure tanks next to the visitor lobby).
9. “Martin Farm” Extreme Transformation” completed. This farm was truly a diamond in the rough.
8. “Frustrating 15” waterway restoration completed. After 2 seasons, all the waterways damaged in 2013 are repaired.
7. South African worker experience. Getting to know John & Theo really made us appreciate our good fortune to be Americans.
6. Low commodity and energy prices (nuff’ said).
5. Sow farm investment (hope springs eternal).
4. Pending arrival of first grandchild (resisting temptation to rank this #1).
3. Son Alex joining Pinicon Team (my days are numbered).
2. Linda’s retirement (can you say jealous?).
1. Best crop ever
In terms of immediate impact, the magnitude of our crops was the biggest story. It would be nice if we could attribute this accomplishment to fertility, drainage, management, and precision technology. Reality is that weather is still the primary yield determinant. The most surprising observation was the tendency for low performing farms to produce the highest yields. This result was not unique to Pinicon. We still have much to learn regarding the maximization of crop yields. However, 2015 gave us greater confidence in the productive potential of our farms.
Looking at 2015 from a multi-year perspective, Linda’s retirement and Alex’s arrival to Pinicon may be the most significant changes. Linda has been a great asset and her departure leaves a void. Although he will have different responsibilities, Alex has the opportunity to provide impetus for further progress. His law degree has already come in handy more often than I expected.
As we look ahead to 2016, we were able to complete most of the fall fertilizer and tillage operations thanks to the favorable harvest weather. Pinicon is well positioned to replicate the progress of 2015. My message to the team is “to visualize another record breaker.” Wish us luck.