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Passing the test of opportunity

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated new opportunities in the agriculture industry.

David Kohl

October 20, 2020

3 Min Read
10-20-20 test of opportunity.jpg

In recent columns, we discussed passing the business tests for volatility, agility, and resiliency with some lessons learned in the process that stand the test of time. Now, let's move on to the test of opportunity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated new opportunities in the agriculture industry. Who would have known that disrupted marketing chains would have resulted in increased demand for farm products produced locally and regionally? Or, that urbanites would intensify their interest in rural properties and farmland as investments? Who could have foreseen that consumers would stock up on food products which, in their abundance, have been taken for granted in recent years?

Opportunities in agriculture are often focused on the business acumen mindset. At one end of the spectrum, some producers are seeking the next big thing or waiting for the market to save them with the proverbial home run. At the opposite end of the spectrum, business owners and managers are adaptive to situations by planning and anticipating where the hockey puck is going to be rather than where it is. This management mindset is similar to the great quote from Wayne Gretzky, the famous Hall of Fame hockey player. The opportunist will align with consumer marketing trends, whether on main street or globally. They know how to allocate the land, labor, capital, and management resources to capitalize on opportunities and gain a strategic advantage.

Related:Farm business planning: Tool for the times

Proactive managers have learned the value of teamwork and collaboration. They rely on their network of advisors such as lenders, accountants, consultants, crop and livestock specialists, agronomists, and marketing experts. They do not manage in silos of independence, but are interdependent, which is a win-win for all.

They follow Texas A&M’s Dr. Danny Klinefelter’s rule of attempting to be five percent better in many areas of the business. The Farm Futures Business Summit, The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP), the annual meeting of the Association of Agricultural Production Executives (AAPEX), and other conferences, meetings, and educational venues are great for the exchange of ideas and practices that often lead to new opportunities. In today's world, this type of interaction could be face-to-face or online.

The following are points to remember for passing the test of opportunity.

  • Time is a commodity that needs to be prioritized.

  • Trust and verify the information and ideas you see and hear.

  • Attitude is ownership and commitment, not a bunch of excuses.

  • Innovation is forward thinking driven by data to verify gut feelings.

  • Collaboration or groupthink can be a component to take your business to another level.


This column rounds out the fourth pillar of the business tests for volatility, agility, resiliency, and opportunity. These are the building blocks and some of the lessons learned that can move you forward in the decade of the 2020s.

Source: Dr. David Kohlwhich is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

Check out these links for articles on the business tests: Passing the Test for Agility; Passing the test of volatility; and Passing the test of resiliency

About the Author(s)

David Kohl

Contributing Writer, Corn+Soybean Digest

Dr. Dave Kohl is an academic Hall of Famer in the College of Agriculture at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va. Dr. Kohl has keen insight into the agriculture industry gained through extensive travel, research, and involvement in ag businesses. He has traveled over 10 million miles; conducted more than 7,000 presentations; and published more than 2,500 articles in his career. Dr. Kohl’s wisdom and engagement with all levels of the industry provide a unique perspective into future trends.

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