Sunday, June 08, 2008

How quietly, how quietly...

Major changes in our lives sometimes come with little fanfare. The globalization of information flow means many of us will check the e-CBOT prices on Sunday evening. Meanwhile, as Europe and the rest of the developed world wakes up before us, oil prices, stock markets, and business begins while we are still on our weekend break.

We have become citizens of a larger world - voluntarily. It matters what happens in Beijing and Warsaw and Wellington, and thanks to modern communications we can have it at our fingertips. While many farmers find this TMI (Too Much Information) , we nonetheless have unconsciously adapted to this connectedness, I believe. Farmers reach for cell phones at their belt now as unconsciously as they do pliers.

News from a far country is no longer a novelty. In fact, many of us are startled to learn the latest local developments, since new information streams often crowd out the old. I know I am unsurprised when producers speak knowledgeably of economic and financial affairs from other sectors and other nations.

But we didn't and aren't preparing for this aspect of our career. That's what Joe Prochaska discovered.
Where do they expect to get this information? Formal management education or training is all over the board with this group, and even a couple with college business degrees noted this took place so long ago it doesn’t seem to give them the tools to deal with today’s management issues. What is the issue? The biggest one mentioned is that farming is becoming very complex and they sense an operation has to be brought to a business level with financing and marketing issues in the drivers seat. Any new production technologies are adopted only when they complement the business objective, not the other way around as it used to be. [More]
Somehow, somewhere this educational need will be met. And my feeling is it will occur outside our own profession - either business schools will develop short courses or on-line educators will provide similar training. Ag colleges will be hard pressed to stretch into information management, for example.

Meanwhile, the solution may occur organically, as producers discover what the rest of the world is discovering. You can do it on your own now. Concerted effort online can provide all kinds of information, experts to follow, and bloggers who help explain. This diversity of responses could be the optimal answer for a profession facing a wild array of challenges.

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