Top Crop Manager

INTRODUCTION: A ‘picture perfect’ look ahead

Thank goodness for photography! If we did not have such means to capture these literal “snapshots in time,” we might lose the significance of things around us.

December 22, 2008  By Ralph Pearce

Thank goodness for photography! If we did not have such means to
capture these literal “snapshots in time,” we might lose the
significance of things around us. Photos are limited in their
capability to tell the whole story: a photo of a team celebrating a
goal does not indicate a final score, or that a star player was injured
during that game. Yet a single frame can easily translate into a
harbinger of things to come.

The cover photo for this edition is a perfect example of that. One
morning a couple of years ago, I happened upon a field of soybeans just
days away from harvest, and I reasoned I should get some photos. In
this business, a photo opportunity can be short-lived; a perfect stand
of wheat in the morning can be straw later that afternoon.

So I parked my vehicle and began filling frames. It was not until I was
looking at the developed cells a few weeks later that I realized that
this particular cover shot was one of those rare instances where
everything had come together perfectly, as if by some unseen guiding
hand. There were so many positives in that one frame, and I had just
happened along, as if something in Nature had jumped up and said, “Look
at me!”.


I have never been accused of being overly optimistic, yet I regard this
photo with a certain eager  anticipation of the future. The clouds that
day were clearing steadily from the previous night’s rain, giving way
to blue skies, with the sun about to break through from the east.
Looking down the rows into the distance gave the photo a deeper
perspective, as if to offer a longing and hopeful look, not just of the
field itself, but almost to the industry as a whole. Most of all, the
spacing between plots formed a kind of triangle, angling off towards
the horizon. When I looked at the photo for the first time, that
serendipitous shape reminded me of “delta” the scientific symbol that
signifies change.

No matter the season, no matter the numbers that mark the years on
the calendar, the pace of change in this industry continues its race
forward. Change in economics, in commodity prices, in technology and
practices, change in consumer demands and awareness, and in food safety
procedures; all are occurring  whether we choose to acknowledge them,
or opt out and ignore them. It is up to the individual to look for a
silver lining on a cloudy day, just as it is to see opportunity when
others see adversity.
As a New Year brings the promise of a new beginning, Top Crop Manager
resolves to continue as we have in the past: learning, formulating and
sharing. Once again, our writers have done a remarkable job covering a
variety of story topics, many of which focus specifically on the
soybean sector: from news of IP markets to the latest on pests and
The start to 2009 may very well be a little bumpy, yet it is only a
snapshot in time: it is not the whole story, and agriculture’s future
looks bright enough to weather whatever may . . . develop.


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