Flint on Crops: Farming Is Like Gambling – Use a System to Beat the Odds

There are risks in every form of activity but one of the most necessary for life is agriculture. Producers certainly recognize this fact but the independence they enjoy along with their love of nature and close connection to the land keep them sustained in dealing with the inherent risks that are both economic and physical.

It’s rare to see a farmer who has spent a lifetime working with all kinds of machinery, excitable livestock, and the extremes of weather who has not suffered physical injury in the form of broken bones, lost fingers, impaired vision, respiratory problems, and conditions related to exposure to toxic materials. They are of course not the only group that is subject to these things but farmers continue taking these chances every day year after year for their entire working careers. They are an extremely dedicated lot.

When we come to the economic risks they are extensive and varied. These issues are related to all the other factors connected with farming including commodity prices, weather, pest management, soil management, location, and many others. These factors determine whether farmers will be able to continue doing what they love or change to some other form of business.

You might say that farmers are in a sense gamblers. One of my friends who is a farmer has coined a term for those who spend some of their time in casinos or use gambling sites like dreamjackpot.com, as engaging in what he refers to as “fast farming”. As we all know, the “house” makes a lot of money on these folks who trade their money for a very short adrenaline rush. Some of the smarter members of the regular gambling crowd have become adept at winning and are frowned upon by the casinos. These people have developed what they call a “system” for outsmarting the odds.

Very often these folks are banned from visiting gambling establishments simply because they win most of the time.

By now everyone is probably wondering why I have related this story but there is a point here believe it or not. Farmers who also live in a world of risk can be a lot more successful if they develop their own “system” to overcome some of the odds connected with the “game” they are playing. Only in this game there is no floor boss watching to catch anyone beating the odds. In fact we recognize and revere these people who have consistently won the game.

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We watch them and try our best to emulate their methods. Agricultural researchers and Extension workers like myself spend entire careers perfecting and promoting the methods that work best.

The odd thing is that there are still participants in this game that have the idea that they can beat the odds without using the proven methods of the system. Every year there are producers who fail to address the fertility and physical needs of their fields, they employ insufficient or excessive pest management methods, till their soil to the extreme, plant unproven varieties, and in general go about the production of crops as if the basic principles do not apply to them at all. The amazing thing is that when they lose they seem not to understand why.

This has been a “vintage” year for many growers, particularly those who have employed the basic principles of the proven system. Some of the others have also gotten lucky for a change.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime to begin using all the proven principles. The first steps are to test the soil and plant cover crops. That will raise the odds significantly for a winning hand next year. If you need help with the next move give us a call.

Thanks for your time.


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