A new year brings the opportunity for change

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The official start of winter came roaring into the Ozarks, didn’t it? It was a bitter blast just in time for Christmas. 

I bundled up as much as possible when I went outside, but it was still cold. I forgot my scarf for around my face as the wind blew a gale at -30 degrees once. Only once. I hung the scarf on the same hook as my bibs after that. Burrr!

While I love a roaring fire on cold winter days, I hate the mess. I’m not someone who can’t live in a house with dust, but I like to try and keep things somewhat orderly – most of the time. The amount of wood we used during the cold snap made a big mess, so I broke out my trusty old vacuum to eliminate the smaller debris – and promptly killed it. Poor old girl. She was a good one, but like many other mechanical things in this world, it eventually has to be replaced. 

I’ve wanted one of those fancy new robot vacuums for awhile, but it might not be ideal for us. I can see it sucking up something it shouldn’t, getting hung up under the couch or me tripping over it in the middle of the night. Plus, my trusty 95-pound canine companion might not like something moving around while she tries to nap; it would be an expensive chew toy. 

New technology and products are all around us. We just have to figure out what we can use to help in day-to-day operations. A new robot vacuum isn’t ideal for us, but one rated for heavy-duty cleaning with a few attachments will work well.

Every generation has some form of advancement that has changed how they operate. In the late 1920s, hybrid seed corn came on the scene, leading the way to many other improvements in production Think about how the first round baler in the 1970s and the first bale bed in the 1980s changed how we harvest and feed hay. 

According to published reports, agriculture will see more development in artificial intelligence, drones, robots and satellite technology in 2023. What would your grandparents have thought if they were told farmers would one day use things like robotic milking systems, drones or autonomous tractors? I’m sure their minds would have instantly flashed to the sci-fi movie Buck Rogers

In 2023, I challenge every farmer and rancher to look a new technology. It doesn’t have to be a new state-of-the-art tractor and baler; it could be moving your calving records from the little spiral notebook on the dashboard of your feeding truck to a smartphone or tablet. 

Consider a new bookkeeping system; I’m sure your tax person would appreciate that as well. The upcoming tax season is the last for my current tax guy, as he is retiring, so I think I would like to upgrade at least one of our computers and investigate new accounting software. I work with computers nearly every day, but I am far from an expert or an IT specialist, so I’m sure there will be some bumps in the road. However, I’m sure I will get it figured out. 

Learning one technology may open the door to other forms of change that can help your operation become more efficient, or just save you a little time. There will be learning curves involved, but think of the sense of accomplishment you will get when you master a new task. 

You’re never too old to learn something new, and if you start the new year with a new goal, you have a whole year to learn it.

Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected]

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