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Cleaning the desk! (part one)

This Business of Farming

Published on: February 25, 2008

(click on title to read article)

I am cleaning the stuff off my desk and I'm shocked to realize just how long it has been since I did this. 

Put it this way: I've still got color slides and color print negatives laying here. I have no idea what they are. I've even got one of those little magnifiers you use to look at slides close up. Haven't touched it in years. We went digital probably four years ago.

Mind you, I'm not a pack rat. Not really. You can actually see the surface of this desk. I've seen people with stuff piled three feet high on the desk and all along the walls. Not me. Still, I come in here every day and wonder, when am I going to get organized?

Let's see here. My biggest problem appears to be business cards. They're strewn about in piles. I have a few that are mashed together with rubber bands. I got a ton of them. Maybe you do to.

When I meet someone and use them in an email I pretty much have no use for these little cards. And yet I bring them to meetings and hand them out like anyone. 

I've got a December 1984 issue of Farm Futures with a big cover story on China. This story says, "By the year 2000, China is expected to add even more people than live in the United States today.•bCrLf Pretty sure they passed that mark. They now have one-fifth of the world's population living there. Says here that in 1982 China's red meat consumption was about 29 lbs. per person. Today it's about five times that.

What else do we have here? Ah, notes from interviews. I've got a ton of little reporter notebooks here. Most of them I've even marked up with who I spoke with and when. 

Here's a note from our most recent Farm Futures Management Summit. Says Purdue Economist Mike Boehlje recommends that every farm have a little debt as part of their business structure. "If your return on equity exceeds return on assets, you're not taking advantage of the cheapest form of money,•bCrLf he said. The reason most farmers don't •get' that is because they don't pay themselves enough for their return on management.

What else do we have here? Some cold medicine. A coffee cup warmer. Some post-it notes and paper clips. A big pile of stuff I got from meetings that I swear I'm going to file or throw away... some time.

Ah, my kid's sixth grade girls basketball tournament scorebook. One of these days I'm going to go through there and write up all the statistics for those girls.

Here's a Chicago Cubs pen I got for Christmas. When you press the button, Cubs' announcer Pat Hughes says, "Drilled to deep left center field•this ball's got a chance! Cubs win! Cubs win! He hit that ball into the teeth of the wind, and the Cubs win it, 4-3! How's that for a finish!•bCrLf

Being a die-hard fan since the heartbreak year of 1969 (and some would say masochist) I often take the pen with me when I visit others in our office here. Some of them are fans and like it. Some are mildly amused, and some laugh.

The pen is kind of funny in early spring. By the time July comes around the Cubs have generally retired from competition and I am left to think about next year. The pen goes silent.

Maybe next time I clean up my desk I'll have a pen that touts the new World Series champs from Chicago. Just•maybe!

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