Let's all work for the best harvest

Thursday, December 12, 2002

By Glenn N. Graham

PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- Everyone should think like a farmer, but not everyone understands that or knows how.

All of us would be better off if we understood our world the way a good farmer does. I am not a farmer, but all of us are in one way or another planting, cultivating, fertilizing, tending and harvesting a crop of one kind or another. Consider the following points.

1. Good farmers do not say it is impossible to raise good crops because of the things beyond their control like storms, floods or drought. Instead, they put aside those things that are beyond their control and focus their efforts on the things they have the ability to control.

2. Good farmers have researched and understood the crops they want to grow and understand the reasons why they picked those crops. In addition, they know that each year's crops are just one step in their path to long-term success.

3. Good farmers carefully check the fields where they plant to be sure they are suitable for good crop production. They will invest their time to improve the soil and do all that's possible to continuously improve the ground where they are trying to grow their crops.

4. Good farmers understand and accept the responsibility to watch over their crops as they grow. They provide moisture, remove weeds and fertilize to improve their yields. They don't just plant and walk away to leave the results of their work to chance.

5. Good farmers know their job is not finished when their crops are harvested. They know they must harvest their crops at the right time and, where possible, return part of their crops to the field to improve the soil.

6. Finally, good farmers know how to utilize their crops after harvest in order to receive maximum benefits in order to be able to keep the cycle going.

We should all think about our jobs the way a good farmer thinks about growing a crop. There are elements we can't control, but do we let those interfere with our focus on the things we can control?

Have we thought about the crop we want to plant, and have we thought about the long-term goal?

Do we understand the conditions of the field where we are working, and are we prepared to work to improve those conditions so they are suitable for whatever crops we intend to plant?

Do we understand the need to honestly evaluate the results of our work and to continuously improve the situation?

Do we understand when crops are ready to harvest, and are we willing to use some of the harvest to improve the soil?

Finally, do we understand that each crop is just one step in long-term success, and do we understand how best to utilize the crops we harvest?

Most of us, including farmers, must work with other people, and our harvest has a lot to do with another person's ability and willingness to work toward a mutually beneficial crop. In many ways, the people we work with are like the fields where we plant our crops. If we expect them to help our crop succeed, we should also do our best to help them harvest their crops. Most of us will do our best to help those who are helping us.

We are like a field. If you feed us, water us and pull our weeds, we will do our best to grow the seeds planted in us. The people we cultivate are far better fields to work with, because when given help and opportunity they have the ability to improve themselves.

We are all both field and farmer. We will be most productive if we practice both roles.

To be sure, there are people with the personality of high-desert country who cannot be made into fertile, productive ground because of their attitudes.

There are also those would-be farmers who have no appreciation for the land where they plant their crops. They see the most promising human fields as disposable assets to be used. They see no need to return any benefit to the human fields where they want to grow their crops.

Both the high-desert personality and the poor human farmer can, if made to see the light, convert themselves into good farmers and productive land. All of us should try to be good examples and give them cause to change.

The most fertile soil we have on this Earth is the people we work with. Working together, trying to improve our own productivity and providing opportunities for others to improve themselves will provide harvests beyond our wildest dreams.

Glenn N. Graham is the executive director of the Perry County Industrial Development Authority.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: