4/10/12

The Farmers

Lions & Lambs (Part 4)


I grew up in a rural community which brings the perspective of farming related to business.  For many friends and extended family, farming was a way of life.  The revenue is produced from crops, livestock, forestry, products and the investment in the land.  Most present day farms are a business, not just a means of taking care of the family.  Farming, like any other way of meeting the needs of survival, started with hunters and seekers. 


Farmers are the hunters and seekers who have decided to manage the hunt rather than taking the chance of finding prey on each hunt.   Probably after an unsuccessful hunt or two or more, someone said something to the effect of “There has to be a better way.”  They seek long term benefits in a renewable and sustainable source to sustain themselves and utilize or sell to others.  

While all hunters are gamblers, the farmer takes the biggest risks for the greater return on their investment.  Most hunters, if they are not successful on a hunt, simply do not eat that day.  The farmer must work to nurture, grow and regenerate the prey they farm over a period of time, with an initial period of meager sustenance before the livestock is fattened and crops ready to harvest.  Farmers are subject to many factors beyond their control from weather to quality of stock or seed and invaders that seek to take what is not theirs.  Everything they have worked for can potentially be wiped out at once, leaving little to nothing for a year or even years.  


Like other hunters they have efficiencies and proficiencies that can be applied.  However, unlike other hunters, there is the baggage of the farm which will limit options and force some decisions.  There are also a lot of dependencies, as the choice to manage and nurture means that the prey expects to be fed and no longer hunts on their own.  The success of the farmer does not guarantee the success of the offspring as they lose some of the instinctive ability to hunt and have expectations that the farm will feed them.  Without the taste of success in the hunt, they fall into the rhythms of the farm.  


Some farmers augment their farming by continuing to participate in hunts with traditional hunters and seekers.  They keep their hunting skills keen while building their longer term enterprise in the farm.  These rarely go hungry and are often a critical component in their group or community.  Those that maintain and build both skill sets are often leaders and worthy of followership.  These are reasonable to manage but need to have the taste of a win to stay with the game.


There are two sub groups within the farmers, primarily separated by vision.  One farms to meet their needs and their vision is limited by what is immediately in front of them.  They take few risks and experience limited rewards from their investment.  They are highly loyal and committed to the family, lifestyle and are content to leave the bar in place.  If these farmers have had the fortune to have a farm that is not subject to outside forces – weather or economic climate, healthy stock and seed and little to no threat from invaders, life is good and satisfying as long as they can work the farm.  Since the farm is usually too small to be divided, at best it can only be passed to one heir.  These are very easy to manage.


The second subset is not content with the good but simple life.  They want more and take larger risks to accomplish their vision.  They are legacy builders who want more than a living, but something that survives them.  The best are not simply interested in mass but will pick and choose their invested effort.  They develop specialized skills and now seek, hunt and capture opportunities with a specialized ability to smell the prey.  They often hunt for sport and to build the skills of the younger hunters.  These farmer hunters feed on challenges and do not suffer fools kindly.  They are not necessarily ruthless but highly focused clearing obstacles in their path.  They are not easy to manage as their ambition usually outgrows any keeper.  If this type is in your group, understand that they will most likely leave you to achieve their own success.  While they are with you enjoy and benefit from the experience while building the relationship that will allow you to be allies in the future.  If not, you may become their prey.


Every company has a wide variety of people – hunters, seekers, farmers, gatherers and yes, carrion hunters.  Understanding the types and how to work with each creates a strong company.




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