Farmers have to think like scientists in order to be successful. One of my favorite phrases that I hear often from farmers is “I believe I’ll try that next year.” What that means is that a farmer has learned of a new way to improve their practice and they have researched it enough to believe that it will be successful. This something new may be to improve yield, quality, reducing cost, or a completely new venture. With each new idea or practice, there is a risk involved that can range from a financial investment to crop or forage loss. If it is possible, farmers will do trials on a small plot to see if it works for them. If it is successful and worthwhile, then it will be expanded.
This is one of the things that really hooked me in to farming as a child. Every year, there was a new project from buildings to new land use. There was also a “something new.” I try to apply this idea of something new every year to as many components of my life as possible. Every year, I try a new plant in the garden, a new woodworking project, a new project for my kids to learn from, and a new trial for the farm to be just a little bit better. It is an idea that I can’t encourage for people enough whether you farm or not. As the year comes to a close, ask yourself what you and your family could try next year. Research some ideas and do your own trial. I have found that even when a trial fails, you and your family can learn a lot and another idea will arise.
One of the best parts of working with the Cooperative Extension is being able to help farms, families, and youth to branch out on their new endeavors to find success. Please know that we are here to help you grow and succeed. If you need our support on your new venture or trial in 2018, please contact us at 336-593-8179.