Production Blog

The Sky Isn't Falling

Pam Smith
By  Pam Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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The back roads sometimes get us there faster. Time to take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

DECATUR, Illinois (DTN) -- This morning I forced myself to slow down. A light rain shower had washed the dust from the garden and I was able to pluck a few late-blooming zinnias in a riot of colors. The bees were on duty early too -- also gathering in what's left of summer to sustain us for what is to come.

What is to come too often seems more of a worry than a question these days. Scanning DTN's agronomy headlines this week, I relived a season filled with new crop diseases, insects circumventing genetic controls and neighbors pitted against neighbors because of off-target herbicide movement. All summer we've debated, and will continue to debate, the rapid consolidation of critical suppliers within the agrochemical, fertilizer and machinery industries. We've seen the good intentions of planting pollinator and conservation plots marred by the introduction of Palmer amaranth through contaminated seed sources.

Part of our job as journalists is to dig. We look into problems (or should) and try to find answers to help farmers either avoid problems and/or manage them. Managing anything with current cost margins adds another layer of urgency. Pile on election conspiracies, weather concerns and the constant pinging by multiple electronic devices announcing another world disaster and it's enough to make one feel anxious, if not frantic.

Last week I took a trip to my home farm. I wanted to see how their harvest is progressing. I wanted some reassuring hugs from family. I wanted to turn off the phone, which at the home farm is easy because AT&T works there only sporadically.

I took my favorite back roads to get there. I stopped to take pictures (one accompanies this blog) and I sought out those old haunts where I used to go to find quiet and clarity.

There is a lot of noise in this world today. Every word I write is an open forum for dissection on multiple platforms. I love the spontaneity and encourage the discourse, but sometimes fret too much when it comes. Relevant, right and fair don't always combine with fast or first. Those are realities all professions deal with, but journalism, in particular.

That's why today I'm working from my back porch with a vase of flowers and a strong cup of coffee by my side. I've had a piece of cherry pie for breakfast -- yes, pie and all right, a dip of ice cream. And yes, I gave a few of the remains of the gooey goodness to the Golden Retriever, who doesn't need the calories either.

Sometimes we just need to take time to breathe and remind ourselves that every little kernel that spills onto the cab isn't a total disaster. Nope, we sure don't want to dump the whole load, but sometimes slowing down and a little reflection can go a long way toward finding solutions to whatever life serves up.

Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.smith@dtn.com

Follow Pamela Smith on Twitter @PamSmithDTN

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