Opportunity in Adversity


(Inhale deeply)



Well, it’s June 5th, and all the corn and beans are in the ground.  Most years, this is not something to celebrate.  This is a “bare minimum” type of expectation.  Then again, we aren’t snowbound for 75% of April most years.


As many of you realize, Mother Nature was a bit hostile to farmers across the northern plains this spring.  Unseasonably late blizzards were followed by heavy rains, and our entry into the field seemed at times like nothing more than the blindest hope.


But sure enough, the opportunities to work the ground began to show themselves.  This is the part where you quit bitching about what you can’t control, and grab that which you can by the throat.


Not a fit moment was wasted this spring.  The moment the rain stopped, Bert and Jim were vigilantly searching for fit ground.  As soon as it was found, the rock picking crew mobilized.  Within several hours the tillage team was lapping us, and a couple hours behind them, the planters were rolling.  The close of each window found every crew regrouping, maintaining their equipment, and positioning themselves to move the moment the next window opened. At the risk of being insensitive in this current climate, I’d like to think that the architects of the Blitzkrieg would take some pride in knowing that their ruthless efficiency in the name of conquest was still being practiced by ethnic Germans in a much more socially productive capacity.


At every turn this spring brought, we were ready.  It was no accident.  The entire winter is devoted to creating the crop plan, assigning team members to the tasks for which they are best suited, and training the team in what we believe are the best practices to implement the plan.  Our support staff was as sharp as ever, making sure seed, parts, and lunches were always ready, and always on time.


There is little doubt in our minds that we put more acres in the ground per day of work than ever before.  In a “normal” year, we would have never felt the pressure to find those limits.  That’s the beauty of hardship. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone and truly test your capabilities.  The lessons you learn in times of struggle are the innovations that allow you to leap forward in times of comfort.


As we move into summer and continue to guide the 2018 crop along to maturity, we can take a moment to reflect on the lessons of this spring.  Then we grab the gears of fresh knowledge and slam forward into the future.