As a long-time and loyal baseball fan, I have always enjoyed this time of year to catch a glimpse of some prospective talent that major league ball clubs summon from the minor leagues starting Sept. 1.
Fresh faces are a welcome distraction when rooting for a rebuilding franchise, but they can also provide a sense of hope and optimism. The philosophy can apply to farming operations, too, as the next generation transitions into a management and decision-making role.
When visiting multi-generational farming operations, I’ve noticed a trend toward the second, third or even fourth generation farmers taking the lead on strip-till conversations.
In some cases, the younger generation has adapted or evolved the strip-till system initially implemented by their father or grandfather. But in other situations, the next generation is the driving force behind adoption of the practice.
Looking at the recent results of the 3rd annual Strip-Till Operational Benchmark Study, it’s interesting to note that more than more than 38% of respondents were under 45 years old; up more than 6% from the prior year, and more than 21% were under 35 years old; about a 4% increase year-over-year.
But age doesn’t necessarily equate to experience, with about 7 in 10 respondents strip-tilling for 10 years or less — including about 34% in the practice for less than 5 years.
The percentage increased in this year’s study, with more than 42% of respondents having strip-tilled for less than 5 years, while about 27% have been strip-tilling at least 10 years, the smallest number in 3 years.
It’s encouraging to see a youth movement taking hold in strip-till. And in walking the hallways of the recent National Strip-Tillage Conference there was an abundance of new faces eager to absorb and exchange ideas with their experienced peers.
It will be interesting to see how the next generation shapes the future of strip-till, undoubtedly through the increasing use of precision farming practices and more flexible and efficient farm management strategies.
As with prospects in baseball, the key for the next generation of strip-tiller will be developing their potential and applying their talents to ensure the long-term success of their operation.
What is one thing the next generation of strip-tilled needs to know to succeed? Share your insights with me at (262) 777-2441, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.