2018 Taking Shape


Hard to believe but 2018 is 25% over, the millennial equivalent of a 22 year old. And just like that tech savvy, civic minded, pot legalizing young adult, we are beginning to get a sense of how the life of 2018 will unfold.

Here are my top 10 predictions for the year:

1) Our President will continue to insult, exaggerate, confound, and occasionally succeed. I believe the country will look back at this administrations tenure as a watershed moment.

2) After three seasons of record yields, weather conditions will be less favorable. Who wins and who loses in this growing season sweepstakes is anyone’s guess. You feeling lucky?

3) Interest rates will only increase another .5% this year. Not burdensome yet but the writing is on the wall. The rules of the game are changing.

4) The long anticipated mass exodus of farmers will not materialize. The attrition rate will be around 4-6% which is average for about the last 100 years

5) The level of accountability for business and the citizenry (regulations, codes, oversight) will increase. This mega trend goes back over 3000 years. The tipping point is coming but I will be climbing mountains with St Peter by then.

6) Iowa State will beat Iowa and I will collect an eight month supply of cheap tequila.

7) Bert will demote Jim to head trash burner after getting tired of his daily suggestions for revolutionizing Pinicon. OK, just putting this out there to keep my self in line.

8) Pinicon will install drainage tile, restore waterways, and clean up farms. How can so much fun be legal?

9) Jim will summit last 6 of 56 14’ers in Colorado. The window is closing for the old man to pull this off.

10) New Bar and Restaurant in McIntire will increase community pride, create momentum for additional investment, and become a gathering place for local residents.

The current weather forecast is not as promising as my annual outlook. It appears we will not be in the field until May based on the 15 day. The list of projects left to be field ready is short so do not be surprised to see us washing windows and polishing door knobs.

The extra time has allowed us to improve our employee training program with out the guilt of putting aside a repair or improvement project.

As farmers, we get much satisfaction from seeing the immediate tangible results of our efforts, working the land, maintaining and operating equipment, building, fixing and breaking. (ooops!)  If we did not enjoy being physically active, we would probably not be well suited for agriculture.

However, we have come to realize that one of our best opportunities for improvement is instruction for our employees. We will not achieve the best results if our workers do not follow best practices.

Depending on the job description, Pinicon has a written procedure for how it should be done.

Like the football coach who expects every player to know their unique assignment when a certain play is called, we have the same expectations of our workers.

So the last few weeks our upstairs break/class room has been busy with safety, spring planning, tillage school and truck inspection meetings.

This initiative will be a long term proposition. Results will not occur overnight. But we have confidence that as our teams skill level increases the safety, quality and enjoyment of work our will increase.

On a final note, our six seasonal H2A workers have arrived and are settled in to their second home in McIntire. Theo, the senior member of our South African team, will be participating in his fourth season at Pinicon. Their enthusiasm to return every year is encouraging and reminds us how fortunate we are to be from here.