I was at a meeting with farmers the other day and one of them said, “I feel like a young man, but I look in the mirror, and I see an old man. One of us is lying. I think it’s the mirror.”

The old saying, “you’re as old as you feel,” takes on new meaning when talking with farmers. Farmers don’t grow older; they grow smarter. I’ve had an 80+ year old in a group, and thought to myself: Whoops! Should have put an age restriction on the group…only to have him come up with the most insightful comments, the most innovative improvements, the most thoughtful take on the topic. The group was far better for his presence, regardless of his age – and perhaps because of it.

Never Too Old to Be a Farmer

If you think about it, there are only a few occupations where people stay as active as long as farmers do. Congress comes to mind, as well as self-made millionaires and billionaires. Does anybody really think Warren Buffet is too old to be the most successful investor in the world?

Farming Is a Way of Life not a Job

Robust is always the word that comes to my mind when I talk with these gentlemen. They often look far younger than they are and act even younger. And their dads do, too! I shouldn’t be as surprised as I still often am at how 90-year-old dads still come out to farm every day. There is something about being an American farmer that sticks to your heart, stays in your blood, and gives you a reason to get up every day.

Weathering the Storm

This season, as I have mentioned before, is the perfect storm of bad luck. And still, these farmers smile, speak of their hardships with an even tone, and talk about next year. They have learned to take the bad with the good, the ups with the downs, and they know more than most that situations can turn on a dime.

Farmers Are Optimists

Farmers are eternal optimists. Maybe that’s why they can be 21, or 41, or 61, or 91 and look forward to getting up tomorrow to do it all again. We should all be so lucky.

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The Farmer Speaks study is designed to monitor the changing attitudes of farmers. It showed in 2019 important trends that would impact the market. The study has predicted further “belt tightening” among growers and adoption of technologies viewed by farmers as necessary for production. Farmers indicated they were seeking any and all sources of financing for 2019 and steady demand for the latest traited seed varieties.

I will be joined by Jeff Whetstine, March Consulting, to explain the importance of tracking trends and how the Farmer Speaks study can provide an early indication of shifting attitudes and behaviors over time. We will discuss the results of the survey, how the trends are tracking, and how developments like Midwestern flooding, delayed planting, and the trade war are impacting growers since the study was fielded.