April 17, 2020
Farmers Remain Hopeful and Determined as They Prepare for Planting
By Scott Steffes
I never served in the Marines, but I’ve long appreciated their mission, which states that they are “trained to improvise, adapt, and overcome any obstacle in whatever situation.”
That sounds a lot like most farmers I know. They are the most creative people you’ll ever meet. They constantly have to overcome obstacles of flood, drought, trade disputes and unfavorable commodity markets, so they never stop improvising and adapting. They manage the soil better and have made endless improvements to their output. Today, they’re making extensive use of data to target inputs. As individuals and collectively, they constantly find ways to feed our nation and many others.
And through it all, they remain hopeful and optimistic. Every spring brings new crops and new opportunities.
There’s no getting around the ugly reality that farmers are bruised up from several years of low commodity prices, tough weather conditions and other challenges. Now, just as we prepare to start planting, the Covid-19 pandemic is roiling the economy to a degree never seen by anyone currently living.
None of that has slowed the farmers who have been busy making plans for the crop year. As we see most years, retiring farmers have been using Steffes auctions to sell their equipment and land. As we converted our remaining live auctions to online only, we’ve continued to see impressive demand, especially for equipment.
Sure, the virus has forced some changes in how we do things. We still set up machinery for inspections, but our staff practices prudent distancing and manages inspections in a way that avoids close contact. And it’s not uncommon for a prospective bidder looking at machinery to be talking to a Steffes representative who is on the phone from a safe distance.
It’s clear from the demand for land and machinery, and from endless conversations our staff has had with farmers, that they remain steadfast and determined to do what it takes to keep our nation fed.
But this is what farmers do. Like Marines, they improvise, adapt, and overcome obstacles. And I couldn’t be more thankful for their resilience and versatility.