Anyone farming in the Midwest in 2019 understands “challenges!” I believe it is clear by any measure that we have set a multitude of records during this year. e.g. most rain in April, May (and June?). Latest planting dates in history. Most acres of prevent plant. And the year is not yet finished.
Farmers must be the ‘champions’ of facing challenges. It is a part of farming. Every year brings new and different challenges. Every year requires a new approach, last minute changes or adjustments to well-laid plans. Every year a farmer must put ALL crop inputs into the ground. Everything done to their best ability. The rest is in God’s hands. (Prov 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
In a year like this, it is hard to see an opportunity through all the challenges. Where can we find the positive? How can we turn any of this into an opportunity? Perhaps we can be encouraged with the words from the prophet Isaiah. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. . . when you pass through the waters I will be with you. . . for I am the LORD your God.”
Yes, we can believe there will be opportunities from all these challenges. In grain marketing it is often said that the majority is always wrong. When the vast majority is bullish, the markets are set to top out. The inverse is also true, when the vast majority is bearish, the markets are ready to set a bottom and go higher.
We have certainly experienced a year when nearly all parts of farming look bleak, negative and even depressing. Likely the vast majority are bearish and negative. As Christians we are often that minority that can have a lack of fear and hope for the future. Therefore, we can look for the opportunities while others are only fearing their challenges.
This is my hope and plan for 2019-20. That we can all find new opportunities from this year’s challenges. It may require a different direction in our operations. It may require a new crop mix, a revised operating plan, a change in alignment of vendors, a different marketing plan or expansion of the operation while others are contracting. May we all have the confidence to move forward boldly and without fear.