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Innovation – Think Like a Farmer!

The South Africa based consultancy runs a monthly staff  newsletter on key trends and issues in the agricultural sector. They recently featured a piece that links to a video of mine, “Think Like a Farmer,” in which I make a good case that farmers are some of the most innovative people on the planet.

And they certainly are!

Did you know that the average dairy cow produced about 5,000 pounds of milk in a lifetime in 1942; it’s now 21,000 pounds — because of the
impact of genomics (best gene straits for production) and the ability to look at production data in a  very deep way. That’s some pretty fascinating stuff.

I have often described that there are two types of farmers. There’s what we might call the stuck-skeptics, who have attitudes such as:

  • they not optimistic about the future
  • they tend to seek the “same old advice” from the “same old sources”
  • they have a very low tolerance for risk
  • they are not convinced they can continue to make a comfortable living in the agricultural sector
  • they feel skeptical of the potential of the future, and slammed about the head by an industry that is inherently volatile

Contrast they with the “future positive” farmer. They’re:

  • optimistic
  • business minded
  • innovation oriented
  • very collaborative for advice
  • a mix of ages – young, aggressive, and mature with focus
  • often focused on planning, profit, growth!
  • willing to approach everything in a new way with new ideas

And I often joke on stage that they are simply waiting for their group to sell their land, because they know there is simply so much upside in the world of agriculture.

Here’s something to think about, regardless of what industry and career you find yourself in — which type of farmer are you? Future positive or a stuck-skeptic?

Maybe you too should think like a farmer!

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