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Across the editor's desk: December 2006

Agriculture.com Staff 12/02/2006 @ 12:34pm

When I first read the story of the Best Shop Design in Successful Farming magazine's Top Shops (TM) contest, I thought of a Christmas tree -- a very big Christmas tree.

The winners, Brad and Terri Minor, enjoy a spacious shop with many hardworking features. The Minors greatly appreciate their shop because for many years all they had on their farm was a cramped and drafty shed.

They dreamed of something better and stuffed shop ideas they read about into a folder. Eventually they created a plan for the features they desired in a new shop.

Here's why the Minors' farm shop in South Dakota reminds me of a big tree -- the majestic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City. Perhaps you've seen it on TV.

The Rockefeller tree is nearly 80 feet tall and adorned with 30,000 lights stretching more than 5 miles. Each branch is individually wrapped. There is a star on top.

What is interesting to me is that the idea for the Rockefeller tree did not emerge from a creative marketing team employed by Rockefeller. Construction workers in 1931 placed the first tree. It was small and had no lights.

Two years later somebody placed a small tree with lights in front of the newly completed RCA building. The tradition really took off after World War II as Rockefeller trucked in large trees and showed the lighting ceremony on TV.

Good ideas and successes, like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition, often spring forth from humble beginnings. The Minors' dream shop is just one example.

Over my career I've met many successful farmers who in their early years of starting a farming operation had to have every check cosigned by their lender. These farmers used that business discipline to grow their farming dreams.

Other good successes around the farm often start with the same spontaneity of the Rockefeller construction workers. One successful direct-to-consumer farm business I know started with a little roadside stand set up for the kids.

There's special joy in taking a reasonable yet somewhat risky idea and growing it into something very successful. Farmers who saw the possibilities for value-added income through biofuels and invested in their vision deserve the rewards of that rapidly growing industry.

Not every little tree becomes a Rockefeller tree nor does every cramped little farm shop get replaced with a dream shop. This Christmas season may your dreams and aspirations for yourself, your family, and your farm glow as brightly as the tree at Rockefeller Center.

If you don't already know what Christmas gifts you're going to buy for your spouse or children -- and your spouse doesn't know what to buy for you -- just visit our online store at www.farmhomecollection.com. You'll find what you need to be a star giver and happy getter!

You'll also discover hundreds of ideas in tractor merchandise, collectibles, books, gadgets, tools, apparel, games, and lots of stuff for kids. Check out deals in The Sale Barn, too.

When I first read the story of the Best Shop Design in Successful Farming magazine's Top Shops (TM) contest, I thought of a Christmas tree -- a very big Christmas tree.

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