As I write this article in mid-January, we are in the midst of a second wave of extremely cold weather to hit not just the trade area we serve but also much of the United States. Some of you also had to endure significant amounts of snow. These are conditions that make even daily routines a significant challenge.
During the college football national championship game a few weeks ago, there was a short story about Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and how his upbringing prepared him for where he is right now. He attributed it to a message his father shared with his family when they were going through rough patches. He always asked them, “Who has it better than you right now”? The expected answer was always, “Nobody!” For all of us in agriculture, that is surely our response as well, even when faced with sub-zero temps.
Weather is the default “small talk” many people automatically go to when speaking to friend or stranger. It gets a conversation going. This is especially true in agriculture. After all, weather is the biggest variable we have little or no control over.
By the time this issue hits your mailbox, electronic or hard copy, we will have passed Groundhog Day. Folklore suggests that the weather this furry rodent experiences on Feb. 2 will set the weather trend for the next six weeks. There’s a lot of hype around this event, which only has a success rate of 40%, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Yet, it is a tradition we look forward to every year—a tradition that has led to the Groundhog Day metaphor where events seem to keep happening in exactly the same way. Yes, some in agriculture may be guilty of this at times. It is easy to get caught in that loop.
When it comes to your farming operation, none of you would be happy with a 40% success rate in any decision you make to improve performance. Thanks to ongoing innovation and technology advancements in agriculture, you can improve your odds significantly.
MFA has not been on the “bleeding” edge of technology, but we have certainly been early adopters of those practices that help you efficiently improve production. This approach has built a solid base and helped deliver performance improvements while positioning us to adopt to rapidly developing solutions going forward.
Today’s agriculture includes some very sophisticated technologies, including opportunities that stem from years of data collection. Merging data into the new technologies improves information flow, which leads to faster and better analysis and improved decision-making. The ultimate result is reducing risk and providing better outcomes.
Our investment in both people and technology positions us to be your partner in adopting and transitioning to tomorrow’s agriculture. We recognize you don’t farm the same way today that you did yesterday.
We also recognize that many of you don’t interact with your service and input suppliers in the same way. Online access, mobile apps and customer portals are becoming the preferred way of doing business for a growing number of customers. Over the next 60 days, we will roll out our new customer facing portal and app called MFA Connect. Stay tuned for details.
No industry is experiencing the pace of change we see in agriculture right now. With the developments coming our way, will we still use a groundhog to predict the arrival of spring?
Sometimes, the most difficult thing is taking positive steps forward without losing what you were in the past.
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