If your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough
Imagine standing at an open door in an airplane flying at 12,000 feet above the ground. The feeling of butterflies in your stomach is balanced by the lifelong dream to experience flying – or at least falling with style. You’re in the plane with veteran skydivers; your parachute and equipment has been checked and double-checked, and as much as possible, you’re comfortable in this environment.
Still, you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t a little scared in this situation.
But, you understand, that if your dreams don’t scare you a little, you’re not dreaming big enough.
This situation is a little extreme, but we are risk takers. The uneasiness of managing risks is nothing new for farmers.
What to plant? When do we plant? What crop protection do we use? When do we sell? What is our plan for equipment failure? Every day we make decisions that impact our bottom line, and every day we face risks that could affect our future. Through experience and trust in this situation, these are risks that we are confident in managing.
But there are other risks. And we need to take part in managing those, too.
The debate for what gets included in the 2023 Farm Bill is underway. As the chair of the Indiana Soybean Alliance’s Membership and Policy Committee (M&P), I’ve had the privilege to participate in some of those discussions.
I hosted a Shop Talk event for about 30 farmers and ag industry stakeholders for Sen. Todd Young on our farm in Henry County in early August. I also attended a Shop Talk for Rep. Jim Baird, who is on the House Ag Committee, at the farm of M&P member Mark Legan in Putnam County earlier this month.
What I’ve come away with from these meetings is that farmers too often let their conservative ideas and beliefs get in the way of proactively negotiating with government officials. I have been in meetings where I have watched farmers passively kick at the ground and ask for exactly what they think they need financially for a specific program.
That’s not how other industries approach their elected officials on Capitol Hill. They go in aggressively asking for two or three times what they need – figuring that they can settle for less, but still more than what they need. Other industries campaign Congress as if the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Those of us in agriculture too often live with a squeaky wheel.
As the 2023 Farm Bill debate begins to take shape, there are programs that have helped soybean growers through difficult times. There are other programs that help expand our markets. We need to actively tell our Members of Congress to keep and grow these programs.
Maintaining or improving crop insurance should be on our wish list, as should increased funding for Title I programs such as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). USDA efforts to move more exports, like the Market Development Program and the
Foreign Market Development program, are important, too. We’d also like to have conservation and carbon sequestration programs that offer incentives but don’t require strict regulations on every acre – because we know you can’t treat every acre on your farm the same way.
Finally, our voices are strongest when there are many. Reach out to me for ways to get involved. Send an email to Mrchapma2004@yahoo.com
Remember that without big dreams there are no big accomplishments.