By definition, production agriculture is focused on production and efficiency. That anonymity of production almost eliminates in a commodity business any significant interaction with customers; it also minimizes the importance of working relationships.
Still, I’m always struck at the end of the day by the realization that this is a people business. Perhaps, even more importantly, it’s those people who act as mentors and take you under their wing to provide you with the knowledge and expertise that’s essential to compete in the hyper-competitive environment of agriculture.
The one topic I always know will provide interesting conversation – whether it be with a young college intern, a cowboy, or a super successful manager – is a discussion about the people who served as their mentors. These are the people who helped them become the people they are.
This morning, my wife was talking about one of the people she used to work with and all she’d learned from him. A lot of it had to do with the industry, but the really important stuff was broader than that.
As is often the case, we lose touch with some of these mentors as we go off in different directions. It got me to thinking about the people who impacted my life and with whom I’d lost contact. Perhaps this would be a great week for all of us to touch base with our old mentors. If nothing else, just tell them thanks; it’s something most of us don’t say enough.
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