(NAICC) Agriculture: The beat goes on

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James Todd, NAICC presidentJames Todd It is that time of year in agriculture where we realize that the new season is quickly approaching. For many of us the next few months represent a long schedule of meetings to get caught up on the latest technologies and try to determine ways to implement these to ensure our customers’ success in 2013.

I am always amazed by the resilience of those involved in agriculture. No matter how good or bad the current season is, we are always looking ahead to the next year and looking for ways to improve. In my area, we are coming out of the second year of a severe drought that compares only to the “dust bowl years.” However, farmers remain optimistic about 2013 and beyond. There is no doubt that the agriculture sector offers many more opportunities than other parts of the economy today.

Part of that optimism comes from the ability of agriculture to adapt to change and continue to improve. I think back to the old picture of two boys in their overalls with the quote, “You been farming long?” and think what that picture would look like today. The boys would probably have cell phones, iPads, some type of GPS on their tractor, 24-row planters and the list goes on. How agriculture has changed in just the past 30 years. Agriculture has become technology rich, and the wealth that technology brings has helped farmers become more and more successful. Today, farmers use all types of precision ag technology, soil moisture monitors and weather models to generate data. At times it can become information overload.    

As I write this article, I am about two weeks away from the NAICC Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, Fla. It is no doubt the highlight of my winter schedule. For me, this organization is where the rubber meets the road. NAICC represents independent crop consultants, researchers, quality assurance personnel from across the U.S. and Canada. With years of “muddy-boot” experience, these professionals work daily to integrate new technology into the field. NAICC members are the link between new technology and the growers that must adapt this technology.

The lists of new technologies are endless. Where there is a problem, there is a new technology that addresses it (or one in the pipeline that will soon address it). That is probably why working in agriculture is so exciting. We know that with each passing year new challenges will arise, but there will be no shortage of answers. How many other industries can say that about their future? We know that in agriculture, people will always go to the grocery store and need to buy food. It is up to us to make sure that we produce that food in the safest and most efficient way possible. And no matter what happens this year, we always know we can do better next year. What a great profession.

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