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Connecting the dots

The 40-year farm plan

elapela-iStock-Thinkstock farm-related art
Realistic goals for a farm can become dreams to achieve. Unrealistic goals will need to be modified along the way.
Setting goals far into the future and then working toward them is the way to make your dreams come true.

Missouri is in the process of rewriting the state water plan with a 40-year planning horizon. That seems like a long time into the future but it may be a good example for everyone in agriculture.

As with any government endeavor, this can’t be a quick process and is dragged out for a year or more, helped along by many groups, subgroups, contactors and state employees. The groups are defined by agriculture, water quality and infrastructure. The intent is to plan for all areas of the state to make sure these needs are met in the future.

As an example of the variations this plan faces, irrigation accounts for the vast amount of water usage in the state with most occurring in the Bootheel area in the far southeast part of the state. Water is plentiful in the Bootheel and practically all farm ground is irrigated. Other parts of the state which are using groundwater for their water sources are starting to see some depletion and therefore are a cause of concern in the future.

There is also work being done to make sure the infrastructure is in place to meet drinking water requirements for a growing population and a water supply that is struggling to have the quality to meet demands for clean and safe water.

One intriguing part of this plan that got me thinking of our own operations is the goal to project this plan out to the year 2060. It’s hard for most people to think about today, let alone over 40 years from now. One thing that I find interesting is that everyone tries to make these decisions on the same models we are using now with the same methods of production. While I know it is hard to think in worlds we don’t even know are there, it would seem this would be a perfect time to plan and project what we want to be there in the year 2060. We seem to be stuck in today instead of creating what we want to see in our tomorrow.

On the other hand, Elson Musk, founder of Space X and Tesla motors, launched the biggest rocket known to man in recent days, putting one of his Tesla electric cars into space. If you have not read much about Musk, I encourage you to check him out. Someone posed the question how he was able to accomplish the things he has. To paraphrase his answer, Musk doesn’t believe something “can’t” be done. He gets a goal and goes toward it against all obstacle and barriers.

Have you ever looked that far into the future on your own operation? How would you like the land to look in the year 2060? For some of us that may be when we are long gone but things we put in place today will have a big impact on what it looks like far into the future.

I believe we should look at what we want our operations to be no matter how crazy or unobtainable that goal might seem. Picture them not in the same technologies of today, but new technologies and methodologies not even invented. Dreams are nothing more than unrealized goals. Plan out a healthy sustainable ecosystem with a big profit. Be the Elon Musk of your operation.

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