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  • Nov30Wed

    When Tragedy Strikes

    Field Notes November 30, 2016 Joe Osterhaus, Northeast US Sales Agronomist
    Filed Under:
    Opinion, Field Notes

    I had planned to write about decision making for the next growing season and efficient use of your crop budget, but recent events keep clouding those thoughts out.  I now feel compelled to talk about a recent conversation I had with a friend.  I’m going to write about the family farm and what happens when tragedy strikes. 

    I recently had a friend pass away after an on farm accident, and was really struck by a conversation I had with his son.  While nothing is normal right now and he has the feeling of being completely overwhelmed, he said something that made a lot of sense.  He said he was thankful that his Dad had taught him about the entire operation.  Who to talk to, who to call, where things are and what to do in a thousand different scenarios that come up every day in a diverse farm operation.  That’s not to say he knows everything, but his dad had given him a pretty solid grasp on the ins and outs.  He was thankful for that knowledge, because sometimes tragedy strikes too fast. 

    Sometimes you don’t get that time or sometimes the father may be reluctant to give up some control.  I cannot stress how important it is to teach your family partners about the entire operation and teach the responsibility that comes with that knowledge.  Sometimes it is easy to give your sons the same jobs they know how to do and you are comfortable having them do safely.  Sometimes you don’t give them a certain job because it is dangerous.  While this is true, at some point you need to teach them why it is dangerous and how to do that job safely.  It is important, because just about every job on the farm is dangerous to some degree and when tragedy strikes, who will teach them. There is a song out there titled Teach Your Children Well.  It is your responsibility.

    To my friend Bad Billy H (yes you had a nickname too!!) rest in peace.  Know that because of your teaching, and leadership your family will survive and do well.