As a speaker, you never know when one of your quotes will pop up a few months later in a seminar. After a daylong conference with another speaker, we both painted a somewhat gloom and doom picture concerning the agriculture industry.
Toward the end of the presentation, one of the participants challenged me to balance the day with a brighter perspective. Thus, the theme was “the sun will come up tomorrow.” This phrase is often used by athletic coaches after a devastating loss.
The current economic cycle has taken a financial, economic, and emotional toll on many in the agriculture industry. Tomorrow will come and the future will be brighter just as it was following the 1980s farm crisis and the Great Recession experienced by the general economy in 2009.
One has to realize that there are financial and economic winners in tough times. In the 1980s, the winners were those producers who scaled-down and focused on both business and personal financials. They often worked side-by-side with their agricultural lenders and other advisors to map out a recovery plan. This collaboration often resulted in the lender and other agribusiness people forming deep relationships that lasted for a lifetime.
Still others used the down cycle to get their priorities in line. They found that their net worth was not equated to their self-worth. Life's little pleasures took on a heightened meaning. Success is not defined by the bottom line, on a spreadsheet, number of acres farmed, or net worth on a balance sheet.
For some, the 1980s downturn was a time of retooling to get outside of one's paradigms after being stuck in a rut. Some producers enrolled in and completed courses in financial and business management. Others found their skill base was very much in demand in the workforce. Off-farm employment provided a paycheck along with a purpose and meaning.
My German parents bestowed a philosophy in my youth that if you think you are important, take a walk through a graveyard. They often said that even John F. Kennedy was replaced in a matter of minutes. My point is that the sun will come up tomorrow and there will be a new day. Take a deep breath, find a positive network, and continue on the journey of life seeking what is important to you, aligned with your core values.
Want to catch Kohl in action? Join us for the Farm Futures Summit, January 23 and 24, 2020. Learn more at FarmFuturesSummit.com.
The opinions of Dr. David Kohl are not necessarily those of Farm Progress.