A Dandelion Break

This is by far the most bizarre set of circumstances I’ve seen going into a new year in my decade of covering this industry. I’m sure those of you who have been bumping around the industry for multiple decades have experiences that match or exceed our current situation. But this fall has to rank among the strangest of all time.

It was only a few scant months ago that I was predicting, along with many others, another two to three years of higher input prices, higher crop prices, and an extra big slice of profitability for everyone. Suddenly, the news anchors are hearkening back to 1929 and wondering if the country, as well as the entire world, might be headed in that general direction. At the precise time that agriculture is experiencing a renaissance, everything else goes to hell in a handbasket.

As Eric Sfiligoj points out in the Up­Front editorial, agriculture is one of the few industries that has (despite the challenged stock prices of some of its largest companies) avoided melting down at some level. And there may well be cause for concern, and the need to be vigilant, against state, local, and federal initiatives designed to extract more from the industry.

It’s easy to get yourself down and out with worry. But I like to take a page from the old comic strip, “Bloom County.” When things would get really bad for the characters in the strip, they’d head out to the nearby open field for a “Dandelion Break.” Everybody’s got a place to take a Dandelion Break — most of you I talk to also utilize the Dandelion Break, but with shotgun and duck call in hand.

Anyway, I got a Dandelion Break of sorts this week — I was invited to attend a dealer meeting hosted by The Mosaic Co. in Florida. For me it was the best of all worlds — educational, entertaining, and warm.

The first part of the trip was a visit to one of Mosaic’s phosphate mines, including a “ride” on one of the massive diggers. There’s a picture of it here, but you can’t possibly understand the scale of this thing until you see it. If I’m reincarnated as a machine, that’s the one I’m going to be.

But by far the most uplifting part of attending this meeting was the opportunity to hang out with about 30 really smart, progressive retailers for three days. Mosaic brought them in to share their stories on how they are successfully marketing its MicroEssentials brand, but that’s not the only thing they do well. They are simply on another plane when it comes to making their business successful. Talking with them opened my eyes, gave me new perspective, and best of all, made me feel optimistic about the future.

If you have an opportunity to have a similar experience, whether it’s at a faraway place or the state ag show this winter, find some smart people and take inspiration from their success.

After my Dandelion Break, I’m going to be ready to face the upcoming winter issues with even more vigor. Hope you find yours, and you can make the 2009 season a rousing success.

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

OpinionTaming Data Overload
July 15, 2015
For the past couple of months, a significant chunk of my professsional efforts here have been dedicated to getting a Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More
Paul SchrimpfWill The Merger Of Wheat Growers And North Central Farmers Elevator Be A Good Thing?
April 2, 2015
When crop prices started heading south last year, we knew the industry was headed for a dynamic season of consolidation Read More
Paul Schrimpf Group Editor
Paul SchrimpfBig Tech Takeaways
March 11, 2015
Farmers should not be allowed to point to a lack of obvious return-on-investment from data as a reason to not collect it. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Feed Division Facilities Receive Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification
July 13, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Feed Division, a marketer and distributor of value-added feed ingredients for the aquaculture, livestock and pet food industries Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Expands To Brazil With Acquisition
July 8, 2015
BRANDT has acquired a majority interest in Target Brasil Fertilizantes Ltda. through its Brazilian subsidiary. Target Brasil manufactures, distributes and Read More
Latest News
StewardshipOhio Grower: Why Water Quality Matters To Me
August 3, 2015
Fresh off the first anniversary of last summer’s unfortunate Toledo Water Crisis — which was largely attributed in mainstream media Read More
Young soybean field
Industry NewsH.J. Baker To Build New Facility In Emporia, KS
August 3, 2015
H.J. Baker has announced the expansion of its Animal Health and Nutrition division with the ground breaking of a new Read More
Young corn plants
Crop InputsNufarm Reorganizing Ag, Industrial Vegetation Managemen…
August 3, 2015
Today Nufarm announced a reorganization of its Agriculture and Industrial Vegetation Management sales and marketing organizations effective August 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipExcellence Through Stewardship Reaches 30 Members
August 3, 2015
Excellence Through Stewardship, a non-profit that promotes the adoption of best practices and stewardship in agricultural technology, reached the milestone Read More
CropLife 100Southern States Coop Hosting Drone Flight This Friday
August 3, 2015
Southern States Cooperative — No. 9 on the CropLife 100 — is hosting an FAA-approved drone demonstration at Grandview Farms Read More
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More