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Written by Bil Schrader

I am writing this blog on a beautiful spring day, actually, it is the first spring day of 2017. This is one of my favorite times of the year. Why?

Well, I love seeing my daughters in their Easter dresses, kids playing outside after a long winter, no mosquitoes or insects (yet), with some exceptions beautiful weather, but foremost it is the start of a new growing season.

For farmers and gardeners, it represents another chance to raise a new crop, hopefully better than the last. I have always felt that farmers need to be eternal optimists. Will Rogers once said, “the farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” Nothing seems to raise my spirits more than seeing Mother Nature break out from her winter dormancy. Birds return, the grass turns green, trees bud, and the flowers bloom – all the signs of renewed life and a fresh start. Spring is a clean slate with new opportunities.

Recently I overheard Harlan having a conversation with a customer who has been coming down to Rake for decades. Harlan asked, “Are we going to have a good year?” The response he got was, “Well, heavens yes! We need it.”

This reminds me of the term “hope springs eternal”. When I googled that term this was one definition I found it is human nature to always find fresh cause for optimism”.  On beautiful spring days I’m full of optimism. This is the one time of year, which I can say our crop still has its full potential. As a farmer or agronomist, we have dreams of a perfect planting season: ideal weather with timely rains, good fertilizer placement for the crop and in the fall a safe and bountiful harvest. Of course, this is not always the case but we have that potential. If we are coming off the worst year we have ever seen or the best year ever, the great part about spring is, a new start, potential, and opportunity.

This seasonal cycle is something that I enjoy. What other industries give you that chance to start again every year? The opportunity and ability to correct any mistakes, tweak plans to optimize the system and improve on the past performance. With all the modern technology and advances in agriculture, there is still a need to stay positive and look forward to the next year. New methods using GPS, variable rate applications, new varieties or hybrid, different equipment, different fertility programs and new products are all innovations implemented with the goal of bigger yields and better things.

Who wouldn’t derive motivation from this? Have you ever heard the term “there is always next year”?  Well, next year is almost here and I am excited and ready! Bring it on.