Remember to Thank Your Support System

October 3, 2019

By Ida Hand
District 14
Young Leader Committee Member

Do you ever look across a field at farmers harvesting away at all hours of the night and think to yourself, “Wow, farmers put in some long hours!”? Have you ever considered their support system? Who is helping them year-round, whether it be picking the right seed to plant into the ground, taking their meals to the field, running their kids to after school activities, helping them with their finances, or helping them get the best price for their crops?

It takes a team to run a farming operation.

I've come across a lot of analogies for this, comparing farming operations to a baseball team, football team - you name it - they are all team-oriented.

Until a couple of years ago, I didn’t realize how big of a team player a farmer’s significant other can be. Not until we lost our biggest team player, our mom.

My dad is a crop and livestock farmer in Fillmore, IL. He farms with his brother and nephew. I am the oldest of five daughters; three of us have full-time jobs, one attends college and the youngest is still in high school. We are always on the run, to say the least. I never really noticed how much work my mother put in as a working mom and a farmer’s wife. She was always making meals for the guys, taking them to the field, or running somewhere in the spur of the moment to pick up a part that they needed. She would always pick us up from practices and never once complained about it. I hope that this serves as a great reminder to thank the person in your life that takes on these responsibilities.

Other vital team players are our seed and chemical dealers. They play a huge role by helping us pick out the right seed and chemicals to use each year on our farms. When I graduated from college, a lot of graduates took a job in sales and headed west to go knock on people's doors. I was always impressed that they dared to do so. So remember to be nice to that new sales rep that has the courage to drive up to your farm, and thank them for what they do because even though you are busy and don't always have time to talk to them, we, as an industry, need them on our team.

Another vital team-player on the farm is our banker or financial advisor. Without these individuals assisting us with our operating loans, making financial decisions, or filing our taxes, there would be a lot more stress put on the farmer. We need these professionals who have a strong financial background to help us make the right decisions in these tough times.

I recently attended a St. Louis Agribusiness Club Meeting at Bunge North America in Chesterfield, MO. There was a panel taking questions from farmers in the room. One question asked was if there are enough individuals with an agribusiness background entering the workforce. A banker on the panel blatantly stated, "No, not in my industry." He said that more than half of the banking industry is going to retire soon, and they don't have enough people to replace them. So, I encourage that if you know someone in college that has no idea what they plan to do after graduation, mention to them about being a bank lender because the agriculture industry sure does need people like them. And remember, next time you see your banker or financial agent, please thank them for all they do for your farm.

Everyone on the farm plays an important role on our team, so thank them for all that they do! Also, don't forget to thank the farmers that feed and fuel the world!