Across the Editor's Desk: Listening to the seasons
When the October issue of Successful Farming magazine arrives in your mail next month, I, like you, will see the issue for the first time. After 23 years writing this column and 36 years with Successful Farming, I am retiring this month.
I'm delighted to tell you that the new face you'll see at the bottom of this column will be that of Dave Kurns. Dave has held a number of leadership positions in our company over the past 23 years and was the 2010 recipient of the James W. Schwartz Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism and Communication from the Greenlee School at Iowa State University, his Alma mater. He will be only the eighth editor in chief of Successful Farming magazine, which begins its 111th year in October.
Time to plant corn is at corn planting time
The words above are the last line of a poem from my favorite farmer-poet, the late James Hearst. Title of the poem is “Retirement Time is the Time to Retire.” I read it to my staff as I announced my retirement last March. I was ready. Lord willing, I'll have many more exciting adventures in life awaiting me. But none, I expect, will match the privilege and fulfillment of serving all of you each month with new ideas you can take right to the field, barn, shop, office, family, and heart, and put to work.
The question I've been asked most often over the years is, “How high (or low) will this market go?” Another question I often get is, “What exactly is successful farming?” I'm always quick to answer this way: Success is doing the best you can with what you've got.
I explain it like this. Every farm in America is different from every other farm. Every person has different circumstances, talents, and skills. The real measure of success is how we each apply our talents and skills – and keep improving upon them – within our own circumstances and farms. That's all that matters as long as we are honest with ourselves in assessing how we are doing.
I admire farm families for so many reasons. At the top of the list is your toughness in dealing with adversity. This year's drought for many of you has grown a bumper crop of anxiety. But you'll press on I know.
I'll sign off with the best advice I've read for overcoming a current trial and engaging the future. It is from Isaiah 43:18-19: Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.