June 3 2022 08:40 AM

Having to view our operations in new ways can lead to valuable innovations

Necessity is the mother of invention . . . or so the saying goes. More often throughout farming, it seems that hardship breeds the next great ideas.

There’s no denying that this growing season will be unlike any we’ve seen. Crazy spring weather has kept everyone from their fields and put everything behind schedule. Still, we all know there is no way of battling the elements, only bending to Mother Nature’s mercy.

What throws this season for a path of even greater difficulty is the skyrocketing cost of fuel, fertilizer and basically every single input. This is where that power of invention lies in wait as many try new approaches to bring their grounds to harvest. A community of great minds that can hold anything together with baling twine and duct tape is capable of solving the greatest challenges.

Every industry is also facing a labor crisis. For agriculture, this is especially true on the harvest side of production. This is where the dairy industry is ahead of the game. What other areas will we see new technologies fill in the gaps of labor shortages?

Invention might not exactly be the silver lining any of us are looking for through this season, but just look at how far we have come in this industry in only a few generations. The milking machine, pasteurization, and even the milk bottle were all great inventions that were born from a need. May we not let the challenges hold us back from the possibility of the next great idea.

Darleen Sichley

The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of young sons who round out the family-run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.