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

Crop Protection Products in storage
Paul SchrimpfCrop Input Selling: Return Of The Price List
February 2, 2016
It was a good 15 years ago, shortly after I first started writing for this esteemed publication, that it all Read More
Paul SchrimpfWater: Keep Watching
December 12, 2015
Last year about this time — that is, late fall as we put the finishing touches on our editorial calendar Read More
Confluence of St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers in Minnesota
Paul SchrimpfRoads, Rivers, And Rail: Improving Infrastructure At Every Level For Agriculture
November 2, 2015
October is a wonderfully predictable month of naturally recurring cycles here at Meister. Our baseball team draws the curtain on Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
Paul SchrimpfBuilding Relationships With Farmers During Tough Times
October 9, 2015
“So, other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” Most of you I’m sure will recognize this as one Read More
Top 100 Articles
Elburn Cooperative
CropLife 100Elburn Cooperative Members Vote To Join CHS
December 28, 2015
With 81% of eligible producers voting, 94% cast an affirmative ballot for Elburn Cooperative, a diversified agricultural retailer based out Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Farmers Cooperative-West Central Merger Approved
December 21, 2015
The members of Farmers Cooperative Co. (FC), Ames, IA, and West Central Cooperative, Ralston, IA, have both approved the merger Read More
Wheat Growers Innovation Center, Bath, SD
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Opens Innovation Center
December 21, 2015
Wheat Growers’ commitment in providing its farmer-owners with the latest in technological advancements now has a one-of-a-kind focal point, as Read More
CropLife 100ARA Selects The Andersons As 2015 Retailer Of The Year
December 9, 2015
The Agricultural Retailers Association today named Maumee, OH-based The Andersons as its Retailer of the Year for 2015. The award Read More
CPS Washington Court House John Deere Sprayer
CropLife 100Application Equipment Report: It Is Easy Being Green For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 5, 2015
On The Muppets television show, Kermit the Frog is famous for singing a song about the troubles he encounters in Read More
Fertilizer Bin
CropLife 100Fertilizer Sales: Another Down Year For Top 100 Ag Retailers
December 4, 2015
In pure number terms, the fertilizer category still dominates all crop inputs/services among CropLife 100 ag retailers. In 2015, for Read More
Latest News
Crop Protection Products in storage
Crop InputsNewsweek: World Is ‘Awash In Glyphosate’
February 11, 2016
The world is awash in glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, produced by Monsanto. It has now become Read More
Crop InputsEPA: Let’s Talk Imidacloprid, Bees On February 18
February 11, 2016
EPA will hold an online technical briefing on its preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, on Feb. Read More
ManagementThe latest on Syngenta-ChemChina Deal
February 11, 2016
Executive Editor Paul Schrimpf invites Jackie Pucci and Dave Frabotta from sister publication AgriBusiness Global to discuss the latest developments Read More
AdjuvantsUniversity of Illinois Confirms Adjuvant’s Perfor…
February 11, 2016
An independent University of Illinois study has shown that WETCIT adjuvant, now with TransPhloem technology, provides greater herbicide uptake and Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta’s Acuron Flexi Receives EPA Approval
February 11, 2016
Growers looking to control their toughest weeds with flexibility will have access to Acuron Flexi corn herbicide from Syngenta, now Read More
EquipmentAGCO Showcases White Planters 9800VE Series Planters AT…
February 11, 2016
AGCO unveiled the new White Planters 9800VE Series planter during the 2016 National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, KY. The Read More
EquipmentCase Unveils 2000 Series Early Riser Planter At NFMS
February 10, 2016
Case IH revealed the all-new 2000 Series Early Riser planter to media and attendees at the opening of the National Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta: Keep Ag In Mind During Election Season
February 10, 2016
As presidential candidates stake out their 2016 election platforms and key priorities, growers and their business partners should seek opportunities Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Submits New Bio-Fungicide For E…
February 9, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI) today announced that it has submitted a new biological fungicide (MBI-110) to EPA. The broad spectrum Read More
Crop InputsWeed Expert: Adding A Second Herbicide Not Always Easy
February 9, 2016
In my last post, I reviewed some recent research that suggests one of the best ways to delay the evolution Read More
Crop InputsGenetic Literacy Project: Farmers Need More Herbicide C…
February 9, 2016
There are two things that I think just about every weed scientist can agree on, writes Andrew Kniss for The Read More
HerbicidesWeed Expert Warns North Dakota Growers Of Coming Herbic…
February 9, 2016
Ford Baldwin painted a bleak picture of weed control at a recent workshop here exploring the future of ag production, Read More
HerbicidesWSSA Announces New, Updated Free Web Resources
February 9, 2016
Today the Weed Science Society of American (WSSA) announced that new and updated educational materials for both weed scientists and Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesFour Arysta Fungicide Formulations Given FIFRA Approval…
February 8, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 2(ee) Recommendations for Read More
FungicidesAgri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus Receives EPA Registrat…
February 8, 2016
Vivid Life Sciences has announced the EPA registration of Agri-Fos Systemic Fungicide Plus, a highly concentrated active ingredient phosphite fungicide, Read More
Crop InputsBayer Contests EPA’s Decision On Valuable Insecticide F…
February 5, 2016
Crop Science, a division of Bayer, has announced it has refused a request by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Wins Seed Fraud Suit Against South Dakota Grow…
February 5, 2016
Syngenta has obtained a $25,000 settlement from Paul and John Mayclin, Mayclin Farms, Plankinton, SD, in response to their Plant Read More
ManagementOABA Annual Conference Wraps Up In Columbus
February 5, 2016
More than 300 Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) members and industry professionals were on hand to engage in collaborative learning and Read More