With so much to learn, farmers need to be generalists

Area agriculture’s “meeting season” has been in full swing, and aggies have had plenty of chances to learn about important topics.

There’s plenty to learn. The long list of subjects includes economics, marketing, tax accounting, politics, agronomy, precision agriculture and new farm bill provisions.

For me personally, sessions on economics and politics are the most enjoyable and easiest to follow. Marketing sessions are fun, too, though it’s a complex subject filled with uncertainty. I enjoy ┬áthe agronomy stuff, but don’t always follow the science. The farm bill provisions often are dry and technical. Tax accounting is always dry and technical. Precision ag, at least some aspects of it, can be particularly difficult for me to follow.

My point is, all of the subject areas are important. Some just come a lot harder for me than others.

Is there any farmer, anywhere, who excels in every aspect of his craft? I doubt it. There aren’t enough hours in the day to master everything. Even if there were, I question whether anyone, no matter how intelligent, is mentally flexible enough to be an expert on everything. That’s why we have specialists — the tax accountants, agronomists, professional marketers and all the others — to whom farmers turn for expert advice.

Meeting season reinforces my conviction that farmers are generalists — folks who know at least a little about a lot of subjects.

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