Senwes Scenario June / July 2017 - Page 52

•••• F UT UR E F OC U S Planning through times of uncertainty JENNY MATHEWS At the time this article was due I was completely preoccupied with the nursing and subsequent loss of my darling mother to an aggressive leukemia. My son, Gavin Mathews, is a young cattle and grain farmer in the KZN Midlands and also an active mentor in the Grain South Africa Farmer Development Programme. He stepped up in my time of need and wrote this month’s article for me. I trust you will enjoy a young man’s perspectives in Future Focus – Jenny. A griculture is full of uncer­ tainties. Farmers are faced with consistent bombardment from the media about what is going wrong in the agricultural sector and what problems lie ahead. They are forced to walk the tight rope of never-ending political 50 NEITHER A WISE MAN OR A BRAVE MAN LIES DOWN ON THE TRACKS OF HISTORY TO WAIT FOR THE TRAIN OF THE FUTURE TO RUN OVER HIM – EISENHOWER – debate about issues which directly affect them but which they in fact have very little control or influ­ ence over. Farmers are also always at the mercy of Mother Nature. There are the normal challenges presented by floods, droughts and devastating rainfall patterns or searing windstorms which obliter­ ate the precious topsoils; and there is also the much talked about global climate change, which is another ever-present shadow as is evidenced by increasingly varied weather patterns. Farmers really JUN/JUL 2017 • SENWES Scenario are challenged to know whether to turn left or right sometimes. How does one actually ever get ground­ ed with all the talk of such uncer­ tainties and the depth of insecurity in the sector? How does one ever think? How does one ever PLAN? General Eisenhower also once said, ‘I have always found that plans are useless; but planning is indis- pensable’. PLANNING is one of the most important responsibilities of any farmer who would like to remain competitive, with a profi­