A Year Of Learning

Well, it’s the last column of the year, and I find myself writing this as I sit alone in a hotel room at the end of yet another event. This is my third morning here, and I am just now realizing my window provides an amazing view of a pink and orange sunrise over palm trees and extravagant coral buildings here in St. Petersburg. If I was still 19 years old, I could open the window and hurl a baseball into Tampa Bay, but I never really got closer to it than I am now.

As I get older I find myself lamenting it more when I miss opportunities to stop and smell the roses. Duty so often calls and when responsibility sits square on your shoulders it can be difficult to break away. But there’s a lot of value (and there should not be any guilt!) in taking time for a little fun amid the work.

It’s been a year full of learning and lessons for me, as I’m sure it has for you. Here are some random thoughts from me on the past year.

Think about your business. I was sitting at the CropLife America meeting with industry expert Ron Farrell, and we got to talking about future planning, and whether retailers are prepared to sustain their businesses in the long-term.

Ron finally looked at me and said, “Paul, retailers don’t spend near enough time closing the door, turning off the phone, shutting off the e-mail and just thinking about the business. Every retailer should be dedicating six hours a week to doing nothing but thinking about the business.

I have been working on it, and it is hard to do. Ron says he does a lot of that thinking in the car between appointments. Maybe the hardest part is not feeling like you are wasting time not doing actual “work.” But if you’re at the top of the management food chain, no one else is going to do that thinking for you. City people are dumb. Alright, dumb is a really strong word. But I have had some recent frustrations talking to people in my urban metropolis who have absolutely no clue where their food comes from, and who put all their faith in the words of people who extoll organic.

I find myself getting angry at chefs and dieticians who go on TV and insist that the only food that matters is organic and locally grown, leaving watchers with the message that anything less is destroying your body.

It makes it all the more important that all of us make an effort to share our positive stories about the work we do. I do my best here in Cleveland to represent agriculture — I would encourage you to do the same.

Food Inc. Lied! Tami Craig-Schilling, director of technology communications at Monsanto, gave an inspired speech here at the Ag Gateway Conference on sustainability in agriculture. But perhaps the most memorable part of the talk was when she mentioned her encounter with the producers of the anti-agriculture movie “Food Inc.”

“When they say Monsanto refused to work with them I can assure you, they are not telling the truth,” said Craig-Schilling. “Because I got the e-mail.”

Conversely, the producers refused an invitation to come to Monsanto, as well as the chance to meet real farmers at the annual Commodity Classic conference.

Hope you had a fruitful year, and I wish for you a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season!

Leave a Reply

Latest News
EquipmentDeere Announces Soucy Track Distribution Alliance
August 28, 2015
John Deere announces an alliance with Soucy Track to sell and distribute products through the John Deere dealer channel. “This Read More
FertilizerFall-Applied Phosphorus: A Rooted Investment
August 28, 2015
As commodity prices decrease and input prices continue to rise, farmers are seeking more efficient strategies for meeting a high Read More
Monsanto Sign
Crop InputsWhat’s Next For Monsanto, Syngenta?
August 28, 2015
After dropping its $47 billion bid to take over Swiss agribusiness firm Syngenta, Monsanto may be turning its focus to Read More
Golden Harvest Corn stalks
Crop InputsMonsanto: Syngenta Not The Only Horse In Crop Protectio…
August 28, 2015
Monsanto Co, having ditched an audacious $46 billion (£30 billion) offer for Syngenta AG, may downshift to a humbler strategy Read More
ManagementConsolidation hits and a miss; And a look at China’s ch…
August 28, 2015
As Monsanto suspends its pursuit of Syngenta, consolidation news at the retail and distribution level heats up. CropLife magazine’s Executive Read More
Corn Field
MicronutrientsHuma Gro Introduces New Boron Liquid Nutrient Formulati…
August 28, 2015
BORO-MAX, a new boron (B) 10% liquid nutrient formulation, has been added to the Huma Gro product line. This new Read More
Crop InputsNFU: Monsanto Decision To Withdraw Syngenta Bid ‘…
August 26, 2015
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the organization was very pleased by the news that Monsanto has withdrawn Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto Withdraws Bid For Syngenta
August 26, 2015
Monsanto Co. abandoned its latest effort to acquire Syngenta AG, the world’s top maker of pesticides, after a sweetened bid Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsSyngenta Comments On Monsanto Announcement
August 26, 2015
The Board of Syngenta confirms that it received a verbal proposal from Monsanto to acquire the company at a price Read More
Case IH Patriot 2250 Sprayer
EquipmentHigh-powered Case IH Patriot 2250 Sprayer Pushes Throug…
August 26, 2015
Engineered with more muscle, the new 660-gallon-capacity Patriot 2250 sprayer features best-in-class horsepower, along with the fuel efficiency that comes Read More
Crop InputsLand ‘O Lakes, United Suppliers Finalize Merger
August 24, 2015
According to a press release on August 24, owners of United Suppliers, Inc. and members of Land O’Lakes, Inc. “have Read More
TMX-2050 In-Cab Display Launch Run Screen
Eric SfiligojPrecision Ag Could Shine In Increased Spotlight On Agri…
August 24, 2015
By any measure, 2015 is turning into one of the most challenging years agriculture has ever experienced. All throughout good Read More
ManagementCrop Conditions In Minnesota and Traveling Time
August 21, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiilgoj discuss the crop outlook from a field trip to Minnesota and upcoming travel plans. Read More
HerbicidesREUTERS: Anti-GMO ‘Scientist’ Calls For New…
August 20, 2015
EDITORS NOTE: We feel that it is important to note that there are those that believe one of the lead Read More
Rendering of Syngenta Seedcare Institute expansion
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Announces Seedcare Application And Resource Ce…
August 19, 2015
Syngenta recently announced the Seedcare Application and Resource Center, a collaborative new website designed exclusively for Syngenta Seedcare customers to Read More
Winter Wheat
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Announces Two New Regional Sales Man…
August 19, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced Steve Vining and Phil Reding have each accepted new positions as Regional Sales Managers. Read More
West Central Cooperative, Jefferson, IA
CropLife 100Iowa Cooperatives To Explore Unification
August 19, 2015
The boards of directors at two of Iowa’s leading farmer-owned cooperatives yesterday signed a letter of intent to study the Read More
Golden Harvest Corn healthy leaves
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names Vice President, Crop Prot…
August 18, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC have appointed Warren Hragyil to VP Crop Protection. Hragyil comes to Aligned Ag Distributors LLC with Read More