It’s that time of year when students go back to school to learn and prepare for their future.
This time of year reminds me of all the schooling I have had, and has me wishing that more of that education involved agriculture.
Everything I learned about agriculture I learned outside of the classroom, right on the farm.
You see, I started my agricultural education a little later in life, which made it a sharp learning curve. I still feel like I have a lot to learn, but I think that is the case with most farmers. There are always new things to learn, even for the most experienced farmers.
Actually, I think one of the most important traits to have as a farmer or in most professions is a willingness to learn; that, and perhaps some determination. I like to think that I have both of these traits, which have helped me a great deal as a farmer.
This year has been no exception to having to learn new things and exercise some determination.
One of the things I had to learn this year was how to recalibrate the auto-steer GPS in our tractor I use to plant the corn and soybeans. The GPS allows us to plant corn in straight, equally spaced rows. I noticed last year that after every round of corn that the plants were spaced slightly tighter making it difficult to combine in the fall. So, a neighbor came over and showed me how to recalibrate the GPS, and I’m happy to say that the rows are now spaced exactly thirty inches apart. Which will work better for harvest this year!
I can also think of several ways I have had to use some self-determination. Like many industries, the agricultural industry has been struggling with low staffing challenges. Usually I create contracts to ship corn in May and I had difficulty finding semi-trucks to ship out our corn. May was almost up and I would have had to pay a penalty if I didn’t meet the May deadline. Fortunately, after many phone calls and much determination, I found some semis that were available and got up early to get semis loaded before going to my other job.
Determination and willingness to learn has certainly helped me become a better farmer.
And even though I won’t be going back to school this fall, I’m sure that I will have many opportunities to continue my education on the farm.
ELIZABETH KOENIG – HINCKLEY FARMER, THERAPIST, AND ARTISAN SOAP MAKER