Competition gives me energy. It keeps me focused.
In sports, athletes compete to be the best, both in a team, and on an individual level. Every year (four years in the case of the Olympics) athletes get the opportunity to prove themselves against the best in the world or at their given level.
Even in business, there are segments that get to put their results up against the best in the world. Hedge fund or mutual fund managers can view their daily monthly or annual returns against others at any time.
Agriculture is rarely afforded these kind of comparisons and head to head challenges. We talk about the competitiveness of domestic sectors across the globe, but we rarely get to declare a champion or winner.
I thought about this difference on my 4900 km (2800 miles) round trip drive to Livermore, California for the 13 Intermediate Little League World Series, where my son’s team from Lethbridge represented Canada. It was a very unique opportunity for my son and his teammates to test their skills against some of the best 13 year old kids and teams in the world. They finished with a historical Canadian best 2 wins and 2 losses and the experience will be remembered fondly.
Don’t Miss an Episode of MIND YOUR FARM BUSINESS
The global competition in agriculture is based on geo-political or economic factors that are out of the control of the individual producer instead of individual skill or ability. Even though beef farmers in Canada compete against Brazilian ranchers or Australian livestock producers, we don’t really get a sense of the best.
On a more domestic level, benchmarking programs offer the ability for producers to compare their decisions or results against the masses. We’re also starting to see more peer groups, where farmers can compare their efficiencies. But these programs are rare and many of the producers that would really benefit most from the improvement possibilities don’t enrol.
Still, somehow, countries across the world claim they have the most progressive farmers, the best beef, etc. But can anyone actually prove it, or is it just national pride?
Just like my 13 year old son, putting your skills up against the best in the world gives you the perspective that the world is much bigger than you first thought. You may be the best in your corner, but there are others honing their craft elsewhere.
The ability to compare your marketing decisions, yield results or profitability against some of the best domestically or across the world would provide amazing insight into how you could improve your farm and business.