Start the new year safer than you were last year. Check machinery, buildings and fences to decrease your risk for injury in 2016. (Michaela Leimkuehler/Democrat-News)
Resolution. By definition, it means a firm decision to do, or not to do something. As the new year approaches, it's time to welcome 2016 with open minds, hopeful hearts, and of course, resolutions to start the year off right.
I know many people don't bother making resolutions.
"What's the point," they tell me. "I'll just keep on making the same mistakes or revert back to my old ways." I disagree with that mindset. The new year allows us to have a 'refresh' button. Things that might not have gone our way in the old year, we have a chance, and a hope to begin again in January.
If you can't tell by now, I have a soft spot for farmers and the agriculture community. I've compiled a short list of resolution ideas that have the farmer in mind. Being conscious of an ever-changing industry, this new year could hold the breakthrough with Chipotle's marketing we've been hoping for, or it could bring more regulations. The difference might lie in our willingness to put that smidgin of effort into a resolution.
I encourage everyone in the industry to reach outside of your tractor's cab and educate someone who is not involved with agriculture. Opportunities are all around, whether it's the mom in the grocery store looking at packages of beef, sharing a meme on Facebook or visiting with relatives at a New Year's Eve party. It doesn't have to be perfect, or even in-depth. A correction in their presumed mindset about farming could pave the way for additional questions. As an industry, I think we get overwhelmed with worrying about how much the consumer doesn't know. Hit the high points and move on. It's also important to keep your cool. You aren't going to change everyone's mind, but you loose your credibility as your temper rises.
2.) Keep safety in mind:
This might seem like an obvious thing to do on the farm. Accidents can happen at anytime, but doing all that you can now may keep you, and your family safer in 2016. Revisit the layout of your buildings, equipment storage areas, pen and fence maintenance, etc. Were there snags or incidents last year that could have been prevented? Fix those little things, like that loose piece of tin on the roof that the wind picked up this winter, and start the new year safer than you were last year.
3.) Try something new:
We are fortunate to live in a time when technology is ever-changing and can greatly benefit our farming operations. There are apps for your smart phone that can assist with weather predictions, assist with your cattle breeding and even guide the GPS in your tractor. Visit www.agwebappfinder.com for an entire list of apps for weather, business, crops, livestock and commodities. While the old method may be comforting, you may be surprised at how helpful and profitable this new technology can be to your operation.
Although we can be cautious of change, make a resolution to try just one new thing in 2016. It's time to wave goodbye 2015, and hello 2016. I cannot wait to see what the upcoming year has in store for the agriculture industry. Help me welcome the new year with open minds and hopeful hearts.
Please feel free to share your New Year's Resolution in the comment section below.
Contact Michaela Leimkuehler at firstname.lastname@example.org