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

PA Innovation
OpinionWinter Of Learning In Precision Agriculture
March 1, 2017
Winter time is meeting time, and it usually means that I get the chance to not only attend some terrific Read More
Southern States grower in cab
OpinionPrecision Agriculture: A Place For Everyone At The Table
February 3, 2017
Over the last 30 days, I’ve been immersed in all things precision agriculture. If you received your personal copy of Read More
Co-Alliance employee
OpinionHelp (Still) Wanted In Ag Retail
December 21, 2016
What a year for the industry and for me! My home city of Cleveland, OH, ended its sports championship curse. Read More
Deere R4023 cab
Paul SchrimpfA Clearer Vision In Precision Ag
November 1, 2016
When our team conceived of the PrecisionAg Vision Conference more than a year ago, we had a few essential ideas about Read More
Trending Articles
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teaching Fertilizer Education
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
AdjuvantsA New Weed-Control Era Begins: But First, One Last Obstacle
March 4, 2017
There is trepidation, there is reluctance, and there is excitement. Ag retailers feel it all about the new dicamba and Read More
LIFT Academy video screenshot
Crop InputsLIFT Agriculture Academy: A Q&A With West Central Distribution’s Dean Hendrickson
March 1, 2017
West Central Distribution recently launched its LIFT Agriculture Academy, a new, premiere training and professional development resource for West Central’s ag Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Latest News
ManagementStudy: Farming Becoming Riskier Under Climate Change
March 28, 2017
Scientists the world over are working to predict how climate change will affect our planet. It is an extremely complex Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionProtecting Nitrogen Provides Economic, Environmental RO…
March 28, 2017
Every business looks to improve its return on investment and reduce its risk of loss. Farmers are no different, yet Read More
Water Drainage
Eric SfiligojDMWW Lawsuit Dismissal Good News for Ag
March 27, 2017
On March 17 while most of the nation was toasting St. Patrick’s Day, agriculture was likely lifting a glass (or Read More
Eric Jenks, Wilbur-Ellis
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Launches ADVANTIGRO Plant Growth Regulator…
March 27, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis Agribusiness, a recognized leader in the marketing and distribution of crop protection, seed and nutritional products, as well as Read More
Yara West Sacramento Ribbon Cutting
Crop InputsYara West Sacramento Is Newest Addition
March 27, 2017
Yara’s West Sacramento Terminal was officially welcomed March 21 as the newest Yara North America facility in the U.S. While continually Read More
UncategorizedPrecision Ag, Iowa Water, and GM Corn Updates
March 24, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj look at the state of precision agriculture, the dismissal of the Des Moines Water Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Enters Biostimulants Market Wit…
March 23, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. is expanding beyond biopesticides and crop protection and into the biostimulant market by commercially launching Haven Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teach…
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More
Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weed…
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More