A Conversation with Ag Co-ops

Posted On September 15, 2022

Years ago an audience asserted that my content on generational differences in the workplace didn’t apply to rural communities and the people who work in those communities. “It wasn’t applicable,” he said, “because people in farming communities like ours know how to work.” I assured him that if it wasn’t applicable at the time, it was coming.

Today in Nashville I presented to about 125 ag co-op workers and leaders at the request of a fertilizer manufacturer. Their struggle? Finding, hiring, and retaining next-gen workers. I followed an economist – nice slot to have. (Thanks Rich Tiller for the booking!)

In my experience, maritime is the most tradition bound workplace out there. Ag is second. “This is how we do it, how we’ve done it, and how we will do it” is part of that DNA. Shaking that is very hard. Yet “doing what you’ve always done will keep getting you what you’ve always got” as someone once said (Einstein, maybe?). They were receptive. Asked good questions. Laughed at themselves. All the good stuff that telegraphs to me that they’re listening. Will they do it? No way to know. Some will. Many won’t. They’d rather deal with their problems than solve them. I can do nothing for them. But the ones who want to find solutions were taking notes. That’s a good sign. Nice, nice people. I’m pulling for them.

And then there was this donut display during the break. Captured my heart. Wow.

Categories: Blog, Workplace