Human behavior proves there is a natural resistance to change. I faced such resistance last month as I began my 58th year, traveling to a global agricultural journalists’ meeting in New Zealand (as past president of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association). I chose to embark on a weeklong journey of change — driving from the right side of an SUV on the left side of the road. I wanted the freedom to explore, rather than be held captive on a bus. As my great companion Shelli will attest, there were minor glitches (reversed controls led to wipers signaling my turns) during the first few days, which became a running joke. Road sign symbols and rules were different (think about going clockwise on roundabouts), along with calculating metric conversions for distance and speed. When we finally arrived back at the rental car lot in Christchurch, we celebrated our successful navigation of 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles).
Admittedly, it took a high level of focus and willingness to think different in order to totally change my American driving habits. But I no longer fear driving on the other side of the road.
This process got me thinking about farmers and big decisions, such as stopping whole-field tillage in favor of strip-till or no-till. We write often about farmers who have adopted new practices to achieve the benefits of improved soil health and water quality (see this month’s cover story as an example).
What is it going to take for more farmers to consider such big change? A generational change? An attitude change? More proof of ROI? Or will it take forced change, like how we must adjust to global commodity prices, farm bill/ USDA/NRCS/EPA rules, life events and more?
Readers of this column know my passion (OK, maybe a bit preachy at times) to help others consider a mindset shift to think different. Leaders say change happens through growth over time. I hope we can all try to get outside our comfort zone. Taking that first step can lead to less fear and put us on the road to greater success.
And finally, November started the 75th year of Corn+Soybean Digest. Some senior readers will remember our beginning — as Soybean Digest, the official publication of the American Soybean Association. The first issue (see cover, right) was published at the association office in Hudson, Iowa, back in November 1940. Our company purchased the magazine in 1993, and changed the name years later to Corn+Soybean Digest.
Over the coming months we will post online a look back at our past, as well as offer a keen glimpse into the future. I sincerely thank you for reading, for viewing more valuable content
on csdigest.com, for subscribing to our newsletters and for being willing to Think Different.