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
Kennebec Grain terminal
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Kennebec Facility Loads First Rail Cars
October 21, 2016
In a season of firsts for Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Grain Terminal, the first 115-car unit train was loaded with soybeans Read More
ManagementThe Latest Dow-DuPont Rumor, Product of the Year Voting…
October 20, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares a new rumor about the Dow-DuPont merger and updates on two CropLife-driven programs, the CropLife Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Activ…
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soil Young Corn
Industry NewsAgribusiness Search Firm Appoints New Managing Partner
October 18, 2016
Morris Bixby Group, a leading agribusiness search firm providing the highest quality professional recruiting and career advancement services since 2000, Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
FertilizerUnited Suppliers Acquires Kansas Fertilizer Business
October 17, 2016
United Suppliers, Inc. has purchased the assets of Evans Enterprises, LLC, an ammonium chloride fertilizer business based in Olathe, KS. Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsFMC Launches New Operations In Argentina, Exits Joint V…
October 17, 2016
FMC Corp. has exited its joint venture with Ruralco Soluciones S.A. FMC has launched new commercial operations, FMC Quimica S.A., Read More
Dow AgroSciences
InsecticidesRenewed Registration Issued For Products Containing Sul…
October 17, 2016
On October 14, 2016, the U.S. EPA re-established the registration of products containing sulfoxaflor (Isoclast Active), including Transform WG, Closer Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Whys Of Agriculture
October 17, 2016
During 2016, there have been myriad challenges facing the whole agricultural industry. Such wide ranging issues as water protection, sustainable Read More
Young Corn Field
FertilizerImproved Phosphorus Management Essential To Feeding Wor…
October 14, 2016
With a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, improved management of key essential nutrients such as Read More
ManagementHarvest and Crop Price Updates; EPA and Crop Protection…
October 13, 2016
Glyphosate and atrazine get public comment support from ARA as each is reviewed by EPA, and the latest on the Read More
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Two Key Account Managers
October 13, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of two key account managers: Doug Hoberty and Rob Wier. Hoberty and Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Development Deal with Scherer Design
October 12, 2016
Deere & Co. announces a joint development agreement with Scherer Design Engineering, Inc. to develop and commercialize kernel processing solutions Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Celebrates 10 Years Of Innovati…
October 12, 2016
Richard Rominger, former Deputy Secretary of the USDA and former agricultural secretary of California, emceed a 10th anniversary luncheon celebration on Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Industry NewsVive Crop Protection Closes Financing To Support Corpor…
October 11, 2016
Vive Crop Protection has announced the closing of growth financing to support 2017 commercial expansion. The financing was led by Read More
SoftwareHD Precision Analytics Launches New Mobile App For Agri…
October 11, 2016
AGSentry from HD Precision Analytics is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that offers simple data service and actionable analytics tool. It focuses Read More
HerbicidesWeed Control And Soil Health Go Hand-in-Hand
October 10, 2016
Although many landowners may not give much thought to weed control as a soil health measure, Gared Shaffer, South Dakota Read More
Students Soybean Field
Eric Sfiligoj2016 Young Leaders Speak
October 10, 2016
One of the consistent cries in agriculture today is the need to try and connect with the younger generations, attempting Read More