As Strategic Lead at AdFarm, I enjoy talking with interesting and innovative farmers about a wide range of topics – their operations, use of technology, insights on the future and even how they have fun. Staying close to what’s in farmers’ hearts and minds helps me develop better strategies and messages for AdFarm’s clients.
Lynn Fahrmeier, along with his wife Donna, farms 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans in Lafayette County, Missouri, 40 miles east of Kansas City near Wellington. Lynn also has a 50-head cow/calf enterprise and Donna raises a 120-ewe Katahdin Hair sheep flock.
Wellington, Missouri is also my hometown. Although I’ve known Lynn all of my life, I learn something new from him every time we talk.
Here are some of Lynn’s insights as we start a new decade.
Q. What new innovation, technology or process are you considering trying in 2010? How do you think it will help your operation?
A. We are installing individual row shut-off on the planter this winter. I think this will save time and money next spring and result in fewer down stalks on the end rows and point rows next fall.
Q. Looking ahead, what are the biggest challenges or opportunities you see for your farming operation during the 2010-2019 decade?
A. Managing the risk of price volatility for both inputs and crop prices. The last two years have shown us that we are exposed to more risk than we ever thought. The second challenge is to keep up with the need to grow the operation and learning to better manage labor resources.
Q. What do you wish for in terms of new technology?
A. To clone myself (said with a smile.)
Q. Farming is hard work but everyone needs to have fun once in a while. What do you do for fun?
A. Right now, I volunteer a lot for the Community Christian Center in Wellington, a new $2 million project that is just being completed. This has tied up a lot of time during the last few years. As this responsibility comes to an end, I hope to spend more time with my family traveling and seeing the sights of this great country. My kids are 12 and 9 and we want to spend a lot of time with them during the next six to eight years.
Q. You use Facebook. How, if at all, do you see social media being used in agriculture?
A. People use different forums to communicate different ideas. I’m concerned with the “noise to credible information ratio” on most public forums. Even private forums I’ve monitored have a problem with flamers. (Note: flaming refers to hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users.) This has caused me to be cynical of most information on the internet. I follow a few bloggers that I trust, but I rarely look at comments posted by the public.
Facebook is a great way to catch up with old friends and stay up to date with local friends. I haven’t seen a real benefit to my farming operation. However, direct “farm to consumer” producers can and do use Facebook as a way to keep their customers up to date. Examples would be the local wineries.
What role do you think social media will play in agriculture in the future? Let us know your thoughts.
Janis B. Jones is Strategic Lead in AdFarm’s Kansas City office. Follow her on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/janisbjones