Preparing for the Future on Your Farm — Bob Treadway on Becoming a Futurist and the Noah Principle


Imagine it’s the year 2030. What will a typical Canadian farm look like? Will the logistical challenges on the Prairies have been solved? How much will farmland be worth? What kind of game-changers will there be that may have increased crop yields? How can you prepare your farm?

Anybody can make predictions about the future, but there are some principles to follow that will improve forecasts for how Canadian agriculture will change in the next 16 years, said a consulting futurist from San Diego, California speaking in Brandon, Manitoba last week.

Bob Treadway led a group of around 20 young farmers through a long-term planning exercise at the Manitoba Canola Growers’ Canola Leadership Conference.

Rather than making predictions, Treadway recommended forecasting — taking uncertainty into account while adjusting with time and new information.

He said there are three principles for preparing a farm business for the future:

  1. Preparation — the ability to focus on key indicators, surprises and “game-changers.”
  2. Teams — combined expertise sees the future more broadly and successfully than an individual can.
  3. Open-mindedness — keeping a mind that’s open to new evidence, new information, challenging assumptions and willing to change directions.

Check out the video at the top of the page for more with Treadway and his session at the Manitoba Canola Growers leadership event.


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