You can be a trend setter too

Zachary Stuckey

Leave the hype and hoopla to big hair and parachute pants. When it comes to trendy fads or embellished words in agriculture, some of the first that come to mind are sustainability, autonomous, and regenerative. Not to target marketing rhetoric, but notoriety should be directed toward the people behind the practices.

Zachary Stuckey
Zachary Stuckey

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to interact with growers in Wichita, Kansas at  Sorghum U and Wheat U. I always leave this event with the same sentiment, “Man, I tip my hat to those folks.” One panelist said, “if you really want to mess up a farmer, move him or her 50 miles.” His point was, what works for him or her on their soil may not necessarily work for a neighbor, but there are commonalities we can share and gain from. 

Conversations that day took many forms and almost always involved the drought. There were other references to hard times and in unison another era was commonly noted. The 1980s. As you know, this period was tough and involved significant challenges for producers.

No matter who I visited with or the tribulations they endured, it was apparent that these farmers have been and will continue to be stewards of their land. It was clear. That is sustainability.  

Prior to the Wichita event I was in Manhattan, Kansas, where I was blessed with a similar opportunity at Cattle U.   

A banquet room, crowded with ranchers gathered to learn from one another, share experiences and hear from industry leaders. While I listened to economists predict continual drops in cow herd size the confidence amongst the crowd remained optimistic. Whether discussions centered on price volatility, all-time low supply of hay, heat or drought, the momentum never waned. 

A buzzing sense of opportunity. I observed an encouraged mindset, a focus on efficiency and a heightened hunger on how to best manage risk. One cattleman talked about variable inputs and how to reduce costs. He said, “Be thrifty, but don’t be cheap. Don’t cut back on things that directly affect outcomes in the immediate future.” Choose feed, nutrition, and genetics over an upgrade to new equipment. 

The keynote speaker, Matt Perrier, helped conclude that there will always be an inherent antagonist, but with collective vigor and vitality, it will help mitigate opposition. It is your destiny and your crown. That is autonomous.  

My interactions this month reminded me how much there is to be excited about in our industry. Countless innovations have improved our operations. At the same time and more than ever before, farming and ranching are not linear.

It requires a holistic and systematic approach. We are witnessing the new version of the black Trans Am. A trend that is becoming a tradition. A standard. Instead of gossiping about a neighbor’s new practice, a sense of intrigue and openness to network. Shared insight with harmony. A true desire to connect one ag system to another. That hype is regenerative.  

Zac Stuckey can be reached at 620-227-1833 or [email protected]