Making A Difference

At our PACE Advisory Council meeting last October, one of the most captivating topics the group discussed was generational turnover. Not surprisingly, we spent a great deal of time on social media, and trying to figure out what the older generation needs to learn and do in order to communicate effectively with next generation farmers and workers.

But the “effective communication” discussion was just a part of everyone’s larger concern about generational turnover in agriculture: What does the next generation of farmers want from the service providers and suppliers of seed and inputs, and how do we attract young people into a career in agriculture?

The first part of the above is and has been the subject of voluminous studies and focus groups with findings that are too unwieldy to fit into a tidy one-page column. But on the question of attracting youth to ag, some interesting points were made that are worth sharing.

Today, the stakes are higher because there are simply fewer young people with experience in agriculture. Not only do we need to try to keep the restless natives here, but we have to find a way to bring in new folks as well. Everyone around the table at PACE is currently facing, or sees just down the road, the retirements of key employees that could quickly drain institutional knowledge.

There was also agreement that there is no magic fix or one-size-fits-all solution, other than to work hard on recruitment and retention strategies, try a number of different techniques.

One point I thought was particularly interesting was the notion that today’s graduates want to work in a field where they feel they are “making a difference in the world.” For us in modern agriculture, the case we make is a double-edged sword. We undoubtedly make a difference by providing safe, abundant and affordable food to the country, and the world. But the rhetoric (especially with the city folk I encounter every day) is that we are doing too much damage along the way. The enviro-blogs are dripping with negativity, half-truths, and no-truths about who we are and what we do, and the young people are listening.

So, as noble as “feeding the world” is, that message is not enough. We need to show folks the lengths to which we go to ensure we operate in an environmentally responsible way. They need to see the technology we use, the methods we employ … that we make a difference not only by what we do, but how we do it.

One way to more tangibly show your work on this front is by entering the Environmental Respect Awards program, administered by the CropLife Media Group and sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection. The program is entering its 21st year in 2011.

Companies that have been named state, regional, and national award winners have benefitted greatly from the experience, and have tangible evidence of their organization’s environmental culture and spirit. Even those who participate and don’t win find benefit in having gone through the exercise and discovering ways to improve the operation.

Winners often hold community appreciation events in honor of the award, hang signs promoting it, and use it as a way to ingrain environmental responsibility deeper into the employee culture.

Nominations are now being accepted. To learn more about the program, visit www.environmentalrespect.com.

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
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
Trending Articles
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
ScoutPro iPad
Precision AgWhat’s Trending In Soil Testing And Scouting
April 6, 2016
Keeping up on soil testing and scouting, especially following unusual weather conditions, can play a role in maximizing yields. Soil Read More
KBH 4 Compartment Dry Tender
TendersSlideshow: 14 Tough Tenders Built To Handle Fertilizer, Seed
March 16, 2016
Equipment manufacturers are designing tenders to not only move product more efficiently but make the process easier on operators as Read More
Latest News
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More
Corn Field
HerbicidesNew Wilbur‐Ellis Herbicide Targets Volunteer Corn
April 28, 2016
Wilbur‐Ellis Co., a recognized leader in marketing and distribution of crop protection products, as well as precision agriculture technology, has Read More
StewardshipNRCS To Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts On Wa…
April 27, 2016
The USDA has announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as Read More
Planter in Iowa
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics For #Plant16
April 27, 2016
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
HerbicidesHELM AGRO Launches New HELM Sulfentrazone 4F Herbicide
April 26, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new HELM Sulfentrazone 4F herbicide. Classified as a Read More
Valley Irrigation Valley 8000 series on corn
EquipmentValley Irrigation Receives Environmental Stewardship Ho…
April 26, 2016
Valley Irrigation has been recognized as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Guardian Green Site Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
ManagementIllinois Leads The Nation In 4R Certified Nutrient Mana…
April 22, 2016
As Illinois agriculture works to educate farmers about minimizing environmental impact and optimizing the use of ag nutrients, Illinois now leads Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Corey Abels To Midwest Sales Te…
April 22, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of Corey Abels as Territory Sales Manager for the Midwest region. In Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesHELM AGRO US Unveils New Sheridan 25 WG Herbicide
April 22, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new Sheridan 25 WG herbicide for selective Read More
ManagementCentennial’s Jim Fargo Talks Ag Retail
April 21, 2016
Special guest Jim Fargo discusses challenges facing this CropLife 100 retailer. Read More